People Behind

K N VajpaiK N Vajpai [Convener]: A native of Himalayas his work and interest remained in these mighty and beautiful mountains. A seasoned professional, worked on various environment and development issues over last 15 years in Himalayan region. He is trained on various ecosystem approaches in water resources, bio-diversity, farming and climate adaptation. An Environment Specialist, he conceptualized the Climate Himalaya initiative and now involved in developing the first phase of knowledge networking and partnership among interest groups.  He is the Chairman of Prakriti group that hosts Climate Himalaya’s Secretariat. His quest is about various environmental and developmental efforts in Himalayan region and their impact on the people. They are about various practices, policies and institutional functioning and about contemporary to traditional science. Email:

Gajendra Rautela [Co-Convener]: A native of Himalayas he contributed largely towards expanding the work of Prakriti in different parts of Indian Himalayas. As Executive Secretary at Prakriti he is among the driving force behind every initiative of this group and keeps the momentum on with his energetic and down to earth functioning. A Sociologist Rautela extensively worked on rural development and low cost agriculture technologies for over 15 years in the mountains of India and Nepal. A master trainer he is responsible for implementing various projects and programs of Prakriti group. Rautela is the Co-Convener of Climate Himalaya and manages the Secretariat at Prakriti Head Office. Other leading initiative by him are ‘taki sanad rahe’ and ‘samaun’ and organization of ‘Umesh Dobhal memorial meet’ . Email:


Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma: Whether or not one has worked on any aspect of mountain systems, there is a bit of ‘mountain’ in each one of us. Mountains not only exist in time and space but are as much part of our imagination too. If it is firm and rugged in reality, it is soft and metaphorical in imagination too. Haven’t each of us encountered ‘mountain of challenges’ in our life? It is ironic that unlike sages and devotees, researchers and planners have continued to perceive ‘mountains’ as a problem in themselves. This perception ought to change and thanks to the perceived threats from ‘climate change’, the approach and attitude towards the ‘global freezer’ is just about beginning to change. Unless the ‘idea of mountain’ from socio-cultural, spiritual and meta-physical perspective is superimposed on all pervasive bio-physical understanding, mountains may not ‘be the change that we want them to be’. Sudhirendar Sharma was born in the mountains but has lived all his life ‘downstream”, holds degrees in agriculture and environmental science and is an accomplished researcher, academic, activist, analyst, author, consultant and critic. Email:

Pabitra Mukhopadhya: Pabitra is an Honors graduate in Civil Engineering and a Fellow of The Institution of Engineers (India). He has specialized in the field of River Hydraulics working for more than two decades training rivers, protecting banks and beaches and fighting erosion of the river banks/beds. He has worked with Bio-Engineering models involving mangroves using them as tools for cost-effective and natural means of anti-erosion technology. His work is mostly concerning the extremely morpho-dynamic Hugly estuary with Bay of Bengal. In course of his work, he got exposed to indigenous people of the Sunderban wetlands, who are fighting a losing battle against aggressive Industrialization. Pabitra loves to read and write and he is full of crazy ideas. He is a contributor member of THINK ABOUT IT platform of European Journalism Center and core team member of their other initiative. He also writes regularly in Project Reason about his secular and progressive ideas. Pabitra believes that he has a tryst with the strange river-country south of Bengal. Email:

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