"Allow your passion to become your purpose, it will one day become your profession" - Gabrielle Bernstein.
Making these words speak for herself, Dr Ilse Köhler-Rollefson – the ‘Jane Goodall’ of India and the ‘lady of Camels’ as termed by the Indian press, bagged the ‘Cross of the order of Merit’ award at the first Science Talk on 16th May 2018. Awarded for her unparalleled and splendid work pertaining to the lives of the Pastoral Society in India and across the world, this only Federal decoration of Germany was conferred to Dr Rollefson by Dr Martin Ney, the German Ambassador to India.
Co-organized by the German Centre for Research and Innovation - DWIH New Delhi and the German Embassy, the event provided a platform for Dr Rollefson to share her story of dedicating her life to the cause of getting recognition to the society of pastors. Interacting with these groups of nomads throughout the country for years, her tireless efforts were always directed towards helping these people get their own identity and throw away the baggage of being commonly misunderstood as farmers.
Speaking about the advantages of mobile livestock in an era of super productive animal breeds, Dr Rollefson shared her concern on intensive animal husbandry practices leading to water, soil and air pollution, thus further contributing towards heightened antibiotic resistance and increased animal welfare issues. In addition to this, her citation of statistics also validated her argument with mobile livestock contributing 53% of India’s milk production and 74% of its meat production besides fertilizers worth billions annually. Working earnestly to realize her vision to connect nomadic livestock keepers with the market for preserving heritage, producing healthy food etc., Dr Rollefson thanked the thousands of pastors she has interacted over the years acknowledging their contribution in her journey towards success.
Moreover, celebrating her association with India and the book ‘Camel Karma’, Dr Rollefson’s brief lecture on ‘Pastoralism: A Blueprint for Ecological Animal Husbandry’ was soon followed by a short interview with ARD/German TV journalist Peter Gerhardt. Thus, well attended by the who’s who of the German circle, this event held at the German Embassy not only witnessed the honoring of a great personality but also the successful completion of the first ever conducted Science Talk.
Photo Credits: German Embassy