Jungle Jam in Bangalore to save our forests

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Feature story - September 14, 2012
Bangalore is well known as the rock capital of India but it was after quite a while that an outdoor music event happened here. Greenpeace broke the monotony recently with the Jungle Jam in the heart of the city at the Kanteerva stadium. The day-long event on September 8 sought to create awareness about the plight of our forests and wildlife through art, performance and music.

As part of the Junglistan campaign, the event was centered around creating more awareness about coal mining destroying forests in Central India and also to show support for Greenpeace activist, Brikesh Singh, who is living on a tree for a whole month protesting against forests and wildlife being destroyed in Central India due to coal mining. Brikesh is in the buffer zone of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra living on a tree in a forest that might soon disappear because there is coal under it, just like many other forests in Central India.

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Greenpeace activist Shiva atop the tree at Kanteerva stadium © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

In Bangalore, Greenpeace activist Shiva climbed a tree and stayed up on it for the entire day even taking a life-size tiger mascot up with him all in support of Brikesh. The event started off with a march on the streets of Bangalore with Hulivesha dancers and volunteers spreading awareness about forest destruction and inviting people to the event.

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The Hulivesha dancers © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

At the venue the crowds were greeted with a traditional folk dance by the Hulivesha troupe. Hulivesha is a folk dance that originated in Karnataka where the dancers elaborately paint themselves to resemble tigers and perform a ritualistic dance to the tune of accompanying drums. After this performance it was time for some community art. This activity was led by the very talented illustrator Shilo Shiv Suleman. The audience was invited to paint on four big canvasses but under Shilo’s guidance. The end result was four fascinating paintings depicting the unfortunate plight of the tiger and other wildlife caused by coal mining in forests.

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Shilo Shiv Suleman (5th from left) and the paintings from the community paint drive © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

By evening, the audience was all charged up for some good old rock music and that’s exactly what they got when the bands started taking center stage. Swarathma, Moonarra, and The Bicycle days volunteered to play for the Jungle Jam to save our forests. World fusion band Moonarra went so far as to create new compositions just for the evening, on what forests mean to them and what destroying them will do to our planet.

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MoonArra, the first band on stage, touched the audience with their soulful songs on forest destruction © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

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The Bicycle Days played psychedelic & alternative rock © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

Bangalore based Indian folk/fusion band, Swarathma, in between enthralling the audience with their music, donned the caps of politicians and spoke satirically about the issue of coal scams and corruption in the coal industry, much to the delight of the audience. The Bicycle days added variety with their psychedelic and alternative rock music. Each band played for a full hour and spoke out strongly in favour of the campaign to protect our forests from coal mining.

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Swarathma performed their special brand of Hindi and Kannada rock at the Jungle Jam © Raghu Bharadwaj / Greenpeace

 

While music enchanted the audience, Greenpeace volunteers urged them to sign the petition to protect forests. Everybody was more than happy to sign up when they realized what’s at stake. Almost 200 people signed the online petition at the venue itself while many gave missed calls to show their support. At present over 80,000 people have signed this petition and Brikesh hopes to deliver it to the Prime Minister himself as soon as he leaves the tree house. The event, helped make a lot more people aware of the danger coal mining poses to our forests and wildlife in Central India. The forests and all the creatures in it including forest dwellers have a right to life just like you and me. It would not be fair on our part to ask them to sacrifice their life and the forests just for the sake of coal especially when we have proven alternatives that can reduce our dependence on coal.

For more information on the campaign to protect the forests in Central India and to sign the petition visit junglistan.org/home.

-Ignatius Thekaekara

Swarathma