Bahar Dutt is an Indian television journalist, environmental editor and columnist for CNN-IBN.
Bahar Dutt is an Indian tv journalist. She graduated in social work from the University of Delhi, later she pursued Wildlife conservation at Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology from the University of Kent. She is deeply driven by her love for the environment and her willingness to do something for nature.
Parents & Siblings
Bahar Dutt is the second born to S.P. Dutt an AIR India official and Prabha Dutt a Hindustan Times journalist. She has an elder sister, Barkha Dutt; the trailblazing journalist. Both siblings, Barkha and herself have taken after their mother, a pioneering journalist. Her father was lovingly called (speedy Singh) because of his initials. Bahar recently lost her father to covid.
Her mother was one of the earliest people who did war reporting. Bahar has one elder sister, Barkha Dutt.
Husband & Children
Bahar Dutt is married to ace wildlife photographer Vijay Bedi. He has been awarded the Best non-feature film and also has won the best Non-feature cinematography as well. He and his twin Ajay Bedi are the youngest ever Asians to win the green oscar for their film The Policing Langur. The couple has a daughter together.
Bahar Dutt is one of a kind environmental journalist, writer. She has often been described as a lion-hearted passionate journalist, who has revolutionary exposés to her credit. Along with that, she has written a book titled Green Wars which has earned appreciation, from critics like Sujata Sen (director east India) British Council.
“The book does not read like a debut attempt. It is so beautifully written,” said Sujata Sen.
Dutt says she grew up with an undying passion for wanting to do something for nature and the wild. She jokingly recalls wanting to be the Mother Teresa for nature. She has done some incredible work trying to save natural resources because of her keen interest in the same. Dutt at the young age of 22 set out to cover the story of snake charmers since the government had banned the same in 1972 in lieu of animal cruelty. Here she recalls being shooed away by snakes in her bags. She stayed persistent and finally convinced those people to talk to her, where she learnt of their loss of livelihood. Dutt wanted to do something for them as she says, it is essential for people to have an alternate occupation if we want them to abide by the law. Soon Dutt had devised a method out by involving a theatre director and other people with expertise, to form a band named, 100 Charmers. The band not only gave this community a livelihood but aided the revival of their culture as even kids had started learning to play a, been. The band has performed in Scotland, in a cultural festival in Rome, they have gone global says, Dutt particularly happy,
We have got half a dozen offers to present this show. Each presentation will cost about Rs 1 lakh,” says Dutt. Saperas entertained people for centuries. Now it’s time for society to pay it’s dues-by nurturing the community’s rare musical talent.
After the success in restoring the Delhi snake charmers’ livelihood, came Dutt’s debut story which became the biggest story of her life, the story of Sarus cranes. She remembers being met with utter resilience. The then CM of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav had proposed making of an airport on the wetlands; the habitat of 2/3 of the absolute population of Sarus Cranes globally. Dutt shares that when a committee by Supreme Court came, people deployed by Mulayam Singh, shooed away the birds and covered the wetland up with mud. She remained resilient and the expansion of the airport was cancelled. It was her efforts that Mulayam Singh Yadav had set aside an amount of 10 lac rupees for the state bird, Sarus Cranes. One of her most dramatic exposés involved a cement company of global repute, that was illegally operating from the forests of Meghalaya, along the India-Bangladesh border. Another one of Dutt’s expose, backed up by an immediate RIT by Goa Foundation, on operations by a miner in Goa, who illegally devastated forest lands, led to the shutting down of the mine. She remembers receiving numerous threats, so does her team. She has done a detailed journey of the river Ganga from the source to the mouth of the river, for an elaborate 4 to 6 months. As a conclusive statement, Dutt says we need to go easy on the number of hydel projects we have already set up, are going to set up on the river as all this affects the ecological balance adversely.
Her career is one of rising and raising consciousness regarding the environment. Though not having any formal education in journalism, she has brought environmental journalism to prime time and into our homes. She has started the Mitti Project Site, set up in Manoli village in Sonepat, which provides an experimental form of environmental education.
- On Motherhood
Bahar Dutt in an interview talks about motherhood, appreciating how the Indian scenario is a lot relaxed when compared to places elsewhere. She further goes on to say, that we have help at almost all points, be it house help that is affordable in India or be it our parents and in-laws. Dutt says she is aware that having help from parents and in-laws does have its own share of problems. She is further seen saying, I feel a happy mother is a better mother, so giving up your work isn’t important and describes herself as a full-time author and part-time mother.
- Travelling with her child
Dutt and her husband Vijay, the ace wildlife photographer decided to take their two-year-old toddler on a travelling expedition to show her the migrations of animals taking place from one place to another, one region to another. She explains how the joy she saw in her daughter’s eyes upon seeing sea lions, butterfly swarms, made her long journey worth it all. Upon being asked why wouldn’t she wait for her tiny tot to grow before witnessing all this, she explains that nature is moving at a very different pace than humans and says,
For humans, travel is mostly a matter of recreation. For the animal world, it’s one of procreation and survival.
She is seen admitting, that as exhausting and financially depleting the travel is she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is thrilled to be able to share her passion with their two-year-old daughter.
- Bahar Dutt was accused of plagiarism, by environment writer, Janaki Lenin, the later accused Dutt of lifting paragraphs from her book. To demonstrate the same she tweeted extracts from her book comparing them to Dutt’s work. Dutt had however refuted the allegations saying everything she had written was credited at the end of the book and had been given to Dutt via email and that was on record, by Romulus Whitaker, who happens to be Janki’s husband. The latter had asked Dutt to share the emails claimed by her.
the benefit of the three endangered Indian crocodilians–the mugger, the saltwater crocodile and the gharial. It delineated 20,000 square kilometres as sanctuaries and set up several captive rearing projects."
Compare with this– pic.twitter.com/vdeig3viqs
— Janaki Lenin (@JanakiLenin) December 23, 2019
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- She is a recipient of the Green Oscar for her reporting on environmental issues concerning India.
- Dutt received Wings award for raising the stature of environmental journalism (2009)
- She has also been awarded the Sanskriti Award (2009)
- She is a recipient of the Ram Nath Goenka Award for excellence in Environmental reporting for Last Dance Of the Sarus (2006) the investigative news piece about the drainage of wetlands in Eastern India.
- She has been awarded the Young Journalist Award. (2007)
- Bahar Dutt is an animal lover.
- She recalled in her book Green Wars, that she had helped a forlorn hoolock gibbon find love.