Vikram Nanjappa likes to be described as an interested and well-informed amateur. He draws his inspiration from the band of men called the Orientalists, most of whom were amateurs. Like them, his field of enquiry is ‘Man and Nature; (with an emphasis on Nature) whatever is performed by the one or produced by the other’.
Vikram's first exposure to wildlife came through the shikar tales he heard from his friends while studying in Mayo College, Ajmer in Rajasthan, one of the country's oldest and celebrated institutions of learning. Vikram cites the writings of Billy Arjan Singh and Joy Adamson, along with his own retiring and sensitive nature, as having played a large role in inclining him passionately and commitedly towards conservation.
After completing his Bachelor's degree in history and political science from St. Stephen's College, New Delhi, Vikram joined the tea plantations of Darjeeling. It was during the 13 years he spent in the Dooars of West Bengal that he found the opportunity to hone his twin hobbies of wildlife and photography. In 2002, he shifted to Kabini and took up organising wildlife tours full time. He is one of those rare gems who has managed to turn his passion into a rewarding and fulfilling vocation.
Vikram avers that traditional knowledge and field skills coupled with good science and common sense is the best way to understand, expose and preserve our wildlife, which is alarmingly on the decline. He strongly disapproves of what he calls the 'tabloid portrayal' of wildlife, where aberrant animal behaviour is highlighted to reinforce false myths and stereotypes. This has to be eclipsed by an attitude of respect and reverence for the animal kingdom if we are to continue enjoying sightings of our wild brethren in their natural habitats.
Currently residing in Bangalore, Vikram freelances as a writer and photographer. He can be contacted at [email protected].