is one of the most respected names in Environment, Photography and Tourism
in Udaipur. Though, serving as a Senior Lecturer of Commerce, Business Administration at Meera Girls College, Mr. Sharma is also a passionate Photographer and a well renowned Environmentalist. Running in his 57 th
year of life, age is not a barrier for him. His sincerity for life and love for Udaipur and its lakes gives him enough energy to do some of the toughest tasks. I had an opportunity to interact with Mr. Mahesh Sharma
in the Environment Week
I’d covered. His photographs, posters and his noble thoughts have inspired me a lot. I decided to further sit with him and take a glance on his efforts for bringing environment awareness and journey of life till now. Below is our conversation with respected Mr. Sharma. Please tell us something about yourself and your family?
I was born in Amet and did my schooling over there. In 1970s my family shifted to Udaipur and I pursued my B. Com from B.N. College and M.Com from M.B. College. I am blessed with two daughters. The elder one is married and settled in New Zealand, younger one is completing her M.B.A. and presently working in a reputed Hotel of Udaipur. What triggered you to Photography?
Nothing as such triggered me, it was like an innate ability. I used to capture the moments I cherished or felt photogenic. I am capturing the Gangaur festival from past 18-20 years. I like this because it is the only festival which belongs to Udaipur or in other words this is our own festival. The picture being used by R.T.D.C. for Gangaur is also taken by me about 8 or 10 years ago, which I gave them to publish in their brochures. I have also helped tourism department in making the brochures of Beneshwar – “The Tribal Fair,” Vagad Festival, Kumbhalgarh Festival, Mewar Festival and information brochures of Kumbhalgarh and Dungarpur. I take pictures, write information and compile the entire brochure or booklet. How were you inspired to be an Environmentalist?
It was a small incident which changed my life. When my younger daughter was in school she participated in a poster competition and wanted to make a poster on water pollution. She asked my help, I thought that this time I will do something unique so I took my yashica camera and went out to take some shots of big drains emptying in our lakes. Later I made a collage of all pictures I have taken and gave it to her. She was appreciated in school but that day I realized the threat and started working in this direction, I captured more images and displayed them in various places. Few days after this a group of people pleaded in high court about the water pollution in lakes for references they used my posters and photographs, I came to know this fact later on and joined the momentum. According to you what are the major causes for the pollution in our city?
Ignorance on the part of Local Self Government bodies and the citizens plus poverty and illiteracy are main causes. Secondly we the citizens and authorities have started taking lakes for granted, we consider them dumping grounds, sewers of city and many hotels situated in or near water bodies are opened in lake itself. Funds allotted by A.D.B. and central government for the development of lakes are utilized in expansion of hospitals and mortuary. NGO’s seems to be bothered about only pomp and show with no connection to any material activity.
Most importantly today lakes are being more polluted by religious activities than any thing else. Idols and symbols drown in water doesn’t degrade over a long period of time and accumulates harmful radicals in water.
As an environmentalist which area you are more concerned about?
I have adopted humanitarian approach. I believe we should not allow the conservation of environment on cost of human life. It is completely senseless to save water for fishes when people in city are dying of thirst. Rather we should teach them the ways which can have a mutual balancing co-existence. According to you how can we make people aware or step that can be helpful in environment conservation?
In which competitions you have participated as a Photographer?
- Poster and photo exhibition is a one of the good alternatives to convey the message.
- We need to make laws prohibiting dumping of religious or solid waste in lakes and appropriate fine should be imposed upon.
- Construction of better public toilets around lakes is very necessary to again cut down the inflow of solid waste in our water system.
- In new developing localities graveyards must be proposed. As no one tries to capture graveyards forcefully and illegally extensive plantation can be done and they will provide fresh oxygen to breathe.
Yes I was recognized in a state level Photography competition held in Bikaner on Tourism and Environment. I also won the first prize in INTAC competition 10-12 years back. What all cameras you have used till date?
My first camera as I told you was Yashica after that I used many others like Minolta etc. Then I switched to digital cameras, today I have Canon D5. How your family reacts upon your passion for photography and environment?
I am fortunate enough to have full support of them. Yes my wife gets annoyed when I return home with dirty feet and she asks me to clean up myself outside only. I don’t have any major personal expenses. I used to spend 500 Rs. per month initially on my obsession to environment and photography. These days still it is continued but the expense is obviously high as it’s a “digital age” Who all have appreciated your work?
Esteemed news papers and magazines like Rajasthan Patrika, Dainik Bhasker, Times of India and Timeout Jaipur have used my services and Rajasthan State Tourism department is like my permanent client. What else you generally do when you are not with your camera?
I love to write, I write on topics helpful in development of community like Tourism, Environment and Women empowerment etc. Many times I have been invited by media houses to write for them. Sir where you see Udaipur in next 10 years?
I believe we the people will improve upon and realize that our malpractices to hamper water bodies and environment were no good. We will value the gifts of nature but on the cost of lost lives. What would you like to say to readers of UdaipurTimes.com?