Green Hub is a humbling experience: Gurmeet Sapal

GURMEET SAPAL, the key resource person of the Green Hub Fellowship talks to The Thumb Print about his ‘Green’ experience in India’s Northeast

Please tell us about this Green experience.

GS: I think the Green Hub is a very unique place. What we are trying here is to increase the number of people, who will be taking up the green agenda further. When we meet the fellows the first day in the programme, even though they appear very committed, they have a limited understanding of how to use filmmaking as a tool for conservation. And after a year of training these fellows surprise us with their films, photographs and the understanding of issues. It is really humbling.

How do you see the potential and future of this unique programme?

GS: Right now, Green Hub is operational only in the Northeast India. There are countless young committed and bright people all over India, who can be trained in the similar manner. I think the potential of Green Hub is immense and we would like to see courses like this running all over India in the future.

Sapal working with the fellows at Green Hub

Please narrate some memorable instances from your past experience.

GS: In the first batch, we had two fellows who could not read and write. When I tried to teach them the minute technicalities of the camera operation I was not very sure that they understood what I was teaching. But each time I would probe them they would assure me that “Sir, don’t worry, when we go to the field to shoot we will come back with the best footage”. And that’s exactly what happened.

What are your main tips for the fellows?

GS: Work hard and go change the world.

Do you also see the inherent talent and potential of the candidate before imparting lesson?

GS: The selection process is very rigorous and effort is made to assess the commitment or interest they have towards social change. There are candidates who have not even touched the camera and or linked to any conservation efforts to the ground. During the course, the focus is on each individual and their growth.

Since the fellows are from all over Northeast India, what the kind of challenges faces while working with them?

GS: There are no challenges as such. In fact, in terms of language mostly we manage to work with English and Hindi, and when there is a need for translation the fellows help each other out.  Many of the fellows are from remote areas, or are in remote areas during their internship. Connectivity becomes an issue. The Green Hub team has to follow up with them through the fellowship, and so yes there is a lot of backend work. The key thing is that the fellowship works on trust, as the fellows are in the field on their own, and I think that feeling has only strengthened.