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Nation remembers Dr. Sálim Ali on his birth anniversary

​At the age of ten, a life-changing incident happened when he shot a yellow-throated sparrow . His interest was piqued and hence his uncle took him to the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).   
 
​Seeing the young lad’s interest in the bird, the BNHS’s secretary showed him their entire collection of stuffed birds. This was the start of his amazing journey to become one of the world’s best ornithologists. Dr. Sálim Ali had to struggle through many years of unemployment and hardship during the early years of his career.
 
​After India’s Independence, Dr. Sálim Ali took over the BNHS and, managed to save the 100 year old institution from shutting down due to lack of funds. ​His contribution to the field of ornithology in India is exemplary. He was one of the first scientists to introduce systematic surveys to study the distribution pattern of birds.  
 
​Dr.Sálim Ali received numerous awards including the J. Paul Getty International Award, the Golden Ark of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Golden Medal of the British Ornithology Union (A rarity for the non-British) and a Padma Bhushan in 1958 and Padma Vibhushan in 1976 from Government of India, three honorary Doctorates and numerous other awards. An unlikely parliamentarian, he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1985. Dr. Ali’s experience and knowledge was respected. His timely intervention saved the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan and the Silent Valley National Park, Kerala.
 
​Dr. Sálim Ali wrote numerous journal articles, popular and academic books and field guides. Among the several books authored by him the ‘Book of Indian birds’ still remains the bible for budding ornithologists.
 
​Dr. Sálim Ali passed away in 1987 at the age of 91. Despite the fame and adulation showered upon him, Dr. Ali remained what he was as a ten year old – an ever curious person with a passion for birds.

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