The Wild Heart of India
Nature and Conservation in the City, the Country, and the Wild
T. R. Shankar Raman
Oxford University Press, India (2019)

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Delhi: BahriSons | The Bookshop @ Jorbagh

Varanasi: Harmony | Mumbai: Kitab Khana

Goa: Dogears | Kolkata: Storyteller

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Shortlisted for the Valley of Words Book Awards 2020 in English nonfiction

Longlisted for the Green Lit Fest Award in general fiction and nonfiction

The Wild Heart of India includes some of the finest writing on nature and ecology… [it] nudges the reader into this awareness with elegant sentences, good humour and writing that is awake and attentive to slightest of movements, sounds and colour — like an alert birdwatcher in quest of a lifer. It is also a book that concerns itself with the history of landscape, and the place of humans, whether conservationists or forest-dwellers, in it.

Amrita Dutta, Indian Express

The Wild Heart of India is guided by elegant and observant prose, kind and leisured curiosity, and a vision keen to lift its “intellectual cataract”. The result is a delightful book, one of the finest by a wildlife biologist writing for the masses.

Jay Mazoomdar, Biblio

This carefully written, many-layered and beautiful book which deserves thoughtful and involved reading, is like that solitary tree – much like a towering dipterocarp emerging through the canopy, this work stands tall against the firmament of recent Indian nature writing. It is an absolutely delectable read for anyone with even a passing interest in nature and her conservation, not to mention a taste for good literature and the world of ideas. Do read it – to rediscover the wild heart of India, pulsating steadily and empathetically, right within each one of you.

Manoj V. Nair, Valley of Words

…a delightful and equally impactful book, one that for me will be a classic. The book is delightful because it perhaps is the finest natural history writing to have emerged from India in recent decades, it is impactful because… Shankar Raman goes a leap forward to engage with the underlying humanity of nature and the oft forgotten, yet omnipresent, presence of nature in humanity. He achieves this through prose that is beautifully elegant and eloquent, and yet so simple and heart-warming in its message.

Raza Kazmi, The Book Review

…the greater strength of this book is it seeks to reclaim nature writing in India and own it. … you will experience firsthand the writings of a person who has carried on the legacy of Indian natural history writing and infused it with a fresh lease of life. This book will definitely set the tone for a new form [of] natural history writing for India.

Bahar dutt, Conservation and Society

…a lovely book with its gentle nod to the myriad hues of nature. …[the book] gently guides us towards the world around us.

K. C. Vijaya Kumar, The Hindu

Anyone interested in ecology, conservation, wildlife, forests—and in nature in general (and what we’re doing to it) and most importantly, in the happiness and good health of their children and grandchildren—ought to get their hands on this book.

Ranjit Lal, Open magazine

…an exquisite collection of essays describing the author’s work, epiphanies, observations and instances of sheer joy derived from nature. …One cannot help but enjoy the contagious enthusiasm—and just as smoothly, the vulnerability—in his storytelling.

Divya Kilikar, Sanctuary Asia (Oct 2019)

A fantastic collection of essays, which provide a great insight into some of the pressing conservation issues in India (and the world at large), without the dense writing of scientific papers and most other books on conservation. … This book is for everyone who has ever felt a connection to nature, but it’s also especially for those who have been unfortunate enough to never have. In short, it’s a brilliant, and often emotional, read.

Devathi Parashuram, Goodreads

Looking back at The Wild Heart of India is important for me because it keeps reminding me that it is possible to have grassroots research that has a sustained impact in an area, and also that the voices of scientists are important, not just in journals but also in art. And that it is possible to bring those two together with such wonder!

TANVI, GOOdreads

It is not large, familiar animals or birds but often little-known places, and fascinating cameos of nature in the everyday that bring the pages of this book alive.

Mahesh Rangarajan, BUSINESS STANDARD

An immersive and informed account…

Rishika Pardikar, Mongabay India

Pillars of Life
Magnificent Trees of the Western Ghats

Divya Mudappa
T. R. Shankar Raman

Botanical Illustrations
Nirupa Rao

Sartaj Ghuman

Published by: Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore (July 2018)

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Pillars of Life describes some of the most charismatic, landmark trees in these threatened forests. Mudappa and Raman’s rich, intuitive understanding of these species comes from countless hours spent there, staring down at the floor, and up at the canopy, binoculars in hand. Through these narratives, their love for trees and passion for the rainforest is both visible and infectious.

…Their hope is that books like these can inspire more of us to understand the ecology and be inspired by the magical experience of living with trees. We need a forest of books such as these.

Harini Nagendra, The New Indian Express (20 Oct 2019)