Isaac Kehimkar, associated with the Bombay Natural History Society, has been involved in conservation work for nearly 20 years. Isaac has acquired many skills due to his multifaceted interests, which include cinematography, horticulture, designing special gardens for butterflies and birds, etc. He is very fond of photography and traveling. He has visited national parks and forest areas located in different parts of the country.
Isaac grew up in Govandi, a suburb of Mumbai in Maharashtra. There was a huge garden in his house to play in. There was a pond near the house in which he used to go to catch fish and crabs. Because, there was no club or playground for entertainment, so nature was his playground. And thus Isaac’s childhood passed in a natural environment.
Isaac’s parents encouraged him to do everything that made him happy. He inherited his love for animals and nature from his grandmother.
His parents always welcomed pets into the house. Isaac’s father believed that if there is a pet in the house, then there is a lot to learn from him. He believed that pets instilled a sense of responsibility in people. Just because of love for animals, do not make them pets. You have to take care of them and in the end, the pets become the members of the household. Through them, you learn to face the difficult moments of life.
In student life, Isaac Kehimkar was interested in science from the beginning. But due to failure in mathematics, he could not take science in college. So he had to study political science. After that, whatever came next in his life, he kept on accepting it.
How did his nature’s life begin?
Once there was a snake show in Thane, Mumbai. The exhibition was organized by the Bombay Natural History Society. The organizers there wanted some volunteers. Isaac took up this task as he had experience in handling snakes. The exhibition ended but Isaac developed a new relationship with the organizers of the exhibition. His mother was disappointed by the choice of his profession, but his father said that no matter how he will get the money, but not happiness.
After the exhibition, in 1979 he was offered the position of Assistant Librarian in the BNHS. Isaac accepted it. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in library science. He is now working as a public relations officer in the BNHS full time.
It was at the BNHS that he first met Dr. Salim Ali, an ornithologist from India. Dr. Salim Ali inspired him in his work.
Initially, Isaac was more interested in amphibian creatures and reptiles. He wrote an article on Monitor Lizard for the BNHS magazine Hornbill. After reading the article Mr. JC Daniels who was then Director of the BNHS and is now its Honorary Secretary asked him to add some personal comments and observations to the article. According to him, doing so would make Isaac’s article more effective. This suggestion had a great impact on Isaac and he is still writing according to the same guidelines.
He was introduced to insect moths when he was attracted by a magical butterfly emerging from the cocoon. From then on Isaac started studying butterflies and moths. Isaac says that insects are so close to us, yet we know very little about them. Studying keto makes you learn endurance and endurance. For example, it can take up to eight months for Atlas moths to emerge from their cocoons.
From the early 1980s, he began writing articles for Sacchury magazine. He wrote about frogs, moths, butterflies, reptiles, and other small but fascinating creatures. In 1992, his first book, ‘Common Butterfly of the India‘, was published which he co-wrote with Thomas Gay.
Isaac’s interest in photography and films.
Isaac’s interest also changed over time. His photography passion started in 1986 as just a hobby. Through photography, he can keep their love of nature with them. For nature lovers, photography is not just about pressing the button of the camera. He has to do a systematic study of that subject, he has to get more information by reading about it. Nature is not a model for you. One has to wait calmly for that special moment. Isaac had to wait for 6-7 years to take a picture of a particular lilac flower. This special flower blooms after rain and then fades away in a day or two.
Once Isaac took a photo of a garden lizard laying eggs. He also got an award for this.
Isaac got a golden opportunity to make films and do photography on nature. While David Attenborough was making his film Trials of Life, Isaac got a chance to work for the BBC. After doing this work, he also worked with some other producers.
Something More About Isaac Kehimkar
Isaac’s wife Nandini also started working with Dr. Salim Ali in the BNHS. Isaac has two sons-Amit and Sameer.
Isaac says- ” I do not believe in awakening environmental consciousness by telling about the deteriorating condition and serious accident. On the contrary, I want people to look closely at their surroundings, appreciate and force their sensitivity towards nature. Once people start observing and understanding the complexities of nature closely, then they themselves will become conscious and take steps to save and conserve its beauty.”
Isaac Kehimkar is currently the public relations officer of the BNHS and joint editor of the popular magazine Hornbill Isaac’s job is to conduct workshops, lectures, slide shows and organize outdoor cruises with special groups such as teachers, students, the general public, and military officers.