People of India – Bikram Grewal

BikramBikram Grewal is an ornithologist, author, birdwatcher and conservationist from Delhi, India who has written several guides to Indian birds. His father was a senior civil servant in the Indian government. He has been working with governments and private groups to promote Eco-tourism in Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal and Nagaland. His 2002 book Birds of India  has been a best-seller among Indian bird books. 

1. Who are  you (naturally!)

Am a publisher by profession, birdwatcher by inclination, and a travel writer, author, wanderer and inveterate collector of junk

  1. What inspired you to create your particular business/join your particular industry?

Publishing was by happenstance. Needed a job post-university. Knew someone in a publishing house, walked in and its been over four decades

  1. An anecdote, which epitomises your India?

Being arrested by the Haryana Police for watching birds from a bridge. Took me over five hours to convince them that I was not a spy. They just couldn’t believe that people actually watch birds for pleasure.

  1. One thing that you can’t live without?

Anti-mosquito repellent

  1. One thing that you hate?

Leeches. I spend a fair bit of time in the extreme Northeast India. And boy,  do they rain leeches there!

  1. If you could change one thing about India what would it be?

The attitude of the powers that be. They must understand that environment and “progress” can go hand-in-hand. And if you interfere too much nature it can turn and bite you hard. Witness the current drought as well as the floods

  1. Who is your greatest inspiration?

Several, but none overwhelmingly. David Attenborough would perhaps be a good compromise candidate!

  1. What is your favourite quote?

“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.”

  1. I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?

There have been several changes the worst is the growing divide amongst the communities, The total lack of concern for the environment is going to hit us badly too

  • What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?

Climate change is the biggest challenge. Rising seas, drought and flood, melting glaciers. But people shut their eyes. What you cant see-does not exist!

  • Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?

Nicobar Islands, as opposed to the Andamans

  • What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?


  • Book or Movie?

Book any day!

  • I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?

Aloo parathas, with dollops of white butter, at Sukdev Dabha, Murthal on the road to Chandigarh

  • In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year old self?

Get a move on mate! Too much to do!

When you reach my age, you realize how much time you wasted doing nothing. Mind you that too was fun!

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