Members of Women’s Hub, a collective of women professionals today felicitated environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman for bagging the prestigious Whitely Awards, also known as the Green Oscars for her efforts in conserving greater adjutant storks. Barman had received the award on May 18 from Princess Royal Anne, who is the patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN).
They met her at her Guwahati residence and congratulated her and tried to learn about her work. Barman shared her experiences at the award function and thereafter. Managing Editor of The Thumb Print, Teresa Rehman said, “I was awestruck by the clothes woven by the women of her group which had the symbol of the greater adjutant storks in it. It’s inspiring to meet such a woman who believes that conservation is a part of our Assamese tradition.” Barman has been working with the women of Dadara, Pachariya and Hingimari villages of Kamrup district to save the greater adjutant stork, locally known as ‘Haargila’ in Assam.
Barman is now a role model for community conservation and is popularly known as ‘hargila baideo’ or Stork Sister. Filmmaker Tinat Atifa Masood said, “I have much to learn from the humble and earthy nature of Purnima Devi Barman when we went to felicitate her. A woman who ideates innovatively when it comes to conservation, the Whitely Award is truly befitting for her. We wish more awards to come her way.”
The conservation of the hargila is impossible without the cooperation of the local people who own the trees where it builds its nest. Salma Hussain, a young human rights activist says, “She is a role model for young students like us.”