Monday, 10 February 2014

Filming suranga tunnel systems in India

Guest blog: Dr Darren Crook, School of Life and Medical Sciences

Abu Jaffer-Ullah and Adam Jones-LLoyd from the University of Hertfordshire’s Digital Media team in action filming in India
Over the last few weeks, myself and my fellow researcher Sudhir Tripathi, have been tracked across India by a film crew - Abu Jaffer-Ullah and Adam Jones-LLoyd from the University’s Digital Media team.

We are putting together an hour long documentary on our research into suranga tunnel systems which are found mainly in the foothills of the Western Ghats of India in southern Karnataka and northern Kerala. These suranga are used by local farmers for both irrigation and drinking water.

Our filming activity was closely followed with great interest by an Indian water journalist, Shree Padre - who also collaborated with me in giving a talk to the Alike School run by the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust which contains some of southern India’s brightest students.

It was good to work with Shree Padre as he was able to translate our story into some of the local languages, like Kannada, which meant that our story was told in a number of local newspapers on the 16th and 17th January.

Further collaborations with Dr Suthakar Isaac of St. Johns College, Palayamkottai (a Bat expert) and Dr Ravindranath Aithala (a Snake expert) allowed us to learn more about the fauna that live in or near to suranga so that we can better understand their conservation value as a new habitat.

During our time there, we also talked with the Varanashi Research Foundation to learn more about how suranga fit into broader systems of farming and water harvesting strategies.

The full length documentary is currently being produced and we hope that it may be ready for release in about a year’s time.

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