That inner glow

First published in Sanctuary Asia, Vol. 35 No. 6, June 2015


By Bittu Sahgal

Fireflies in Coorg, Karnataka, photographed by Bishan Monnappa on April 16, 2015.

Have you ever wondered why some things look stunningly beautiful? Why some moments will live forever in your memory? Why commonplace sights – stars in the night sky, white surf on a blue sea, a flock of birds wheeling in unison – fill you with a sense of indescribable joy and wonder?

It’s because you were born a wild animal. You were conceived by nature to respond viscerally to natural phenomena. Your progenitors left you with a whole stack of genetic ‘memories’. That sun worship, which is part of virtually every religion on Earth is a result of ancient pre-programmed instincts drilled into your DNA… reminding the ‘inner’ you that for all the technology, literature, art and accumulated wisdom that surrounds you, you are just as dependent on the sun and on nature as the tiger you travel halfway across the globe to see, the shark with which you dive… or the synchronous-firing fireflies that bedeck this page. 

Sanctuary is beholden to conservation photographers such as Bishan Monnappa, who visited a special (secret!) spot in Coorg, night after dark night, for two years until he got lucky and found just the right combination of clear skies, no mist and no moon to allow him to get this image in the precise 45 minutes that the synchronous display of the fireflies took place on April 16, 2015. 

Without gifted writers, artists, scientists and poets, so many of them represented in this very issue of Sanctuary, it would be impossible for those of us who have ‘seen the light’ to share the power and the glory of raw nature with others whose universe does not extend beyond urbania. So, while the vast bulk of our readers feel right at home within the pages of Sanctuary, a critical fragment of decision makers who do not, might just be influenced by some of the still images and moving articulations inspired by your own inner glow.

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