A picture with an elephant calf ablaze, fleeing a mob, wins best wildlife photograph award

The awards were given by Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Sunday.

A brick kiln owner who shot the picture of an elephant calf on fire as it flees a mob with its mother in West Bengal won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, given by a conservation nonprofit on Sunday.

The photograph, “Hell is Here” by Biplab Hazra, was shot in Bankura district and shows what is “routine” in the area and other states like Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, the Mumbai-based Sanctuary Nature Foundation said in a release. The foundation gives the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards annually.

Hazra, who owns a brick making company in West Bengal’s Bishnupur, does wildlife photography as well, and wants to bring awareness in how people look at nature and conservation, the Sanctuary Nature Foundation told Scroll.in.

Another photograph, showing a lifeless shark ray inside a crate at Mangaluru port, won the award in the “young category”. The picture was shot by 20-year-old engineering student Vishruth Cavale, who travels “at least thrice a month to forests to photograph its beauty and also to draw attention to the various atrocities”, the foundation said.

The organisation said it got over 5,000 entries from across Asia. Among the jury were several wildlife and conservation photographers including Sanctuary Asia editor Bittu Sahgal and National Geographic photographer Steve Winter.

Here’s a look at the winners across three main categories (“Art in Nature”, “Conservation Photography” and “Creatures Great and Small”) and four categories for young photographers (“Art in Nature”, “Conservation Photography”, “Creatures Great and Small” and “Nature in Urbania”).

"Hell is Here" by Biplab Hazra (Photographer of the Year): An elephant and her calf flee as a mob tries to attack them in Bankura, West Bengal. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Last Port of Call" by Vishruth Cavale (Young Photographer of the Year, and Winner, Young Category, Conservation Photography): The body of a dead shark lay inside a plastic crate at the Mangaluru port of Karnataka. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"An Ephemeral Masterpiece" by Abhishek Neelam (Art in Nature): A starfish, pea crabs and sea shells carve shapes on the sand on Chivla beach in Maharashtra. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Anand Bora (Conservation Photography): Villagers in Nashik, Maharashtra, try to save a leopard who fell inside a well and was discovered only after he had spent 30 hours inside. The animal was saved. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Epomis Modus Operandi" by Mahadev Suresh Bhise (Creatures Great and Small): A ground beetle larva attacks a frog. The picture shows the dilated eye of the dying frog and the larva hanging out of its throat. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Forsaken" by Milinda Wattegedara (Creatures Great and Small): A spotted dear struggles as a group of crocodiles attack it in the Yala National Park. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Smoke on Water" by Vishruth Cavale (Young Category, Art in Nature): An egret seen inside a lake in Bengaluru. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Three's A Crowd" by Drishti Hoskote (Young Category, Creatures Great and Small): A pair of peafowl observe a sleeping leopard in Sri Lanka's Yala National Park. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Valparai Vagrant" by Sitara A Karthikeyan (Young Category, Nature in Urbania): A monkey seeks refuge on the tyre of a tourist vehicle in Anamalai Hills. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.