KOCHI: For the gutsy Canadian of Kerala origin, it was a risky struggle of mammoth proportions to expose the plight of captive pachyderms in temples across God’s Own Country before the international community. Wildlife activist Sangita Iyer is reportedly the first woman crusader to bring to light the torture of elephants during festivals through a film.
Iyer’s efforts were recognised by the Union Government when Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi nominated her for the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar.
The President will present Iyer with the award on Wednesday. Gandhi told Express Iyer was selected for her pathbreaking work on the plight of elephants.
She risked life and limb to record the undercover footage of elephant torture for the documentary titled ‘Gods in Shackles’ released in 2016.
The film went on to win 10 awards in India and abroad.The documentary was screened in the Kerala Assembly to create awareness.
“There is a marked shift in the stance and mindset of people and policymakers towards this issue,”said poet and environmental activist Sugathakumari. “I have been writing hundreds of articles and working for the cause of elephants in Kerala down the decades. This is the first time an animal rights activist from the state is being honoured considering the contributions she has made.” She is translating the English script of the movie into Malayalam.
“I am deeply moved to be nominated by Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and profoundly humbled to receive this prestigious award from the President of India,” Iyer told Express.