Kalyan Varma

Project: Nature without Borders

We share a complex relationship with elephants. We love them, we treat them with the tolerant fondness reserved for family, we worship them as manifestations of our most universal god. When these gods-made-flesh raid our fields, destroy our homes and take our lives, we react with bewilderment. We are reluctant to avenge ourselves, but we seem to have no choice. This duality manifests over a wide geography, from the Western Ghats to northeastern India - a vast battleground in which the clashing interests of people and elephants and officials and NGOs collide. In this series, as part of Peepli.org, I will report from this conflict zone where wins and losses are measured in lives lost and taken

The story of Suprita

The story of suprita

In one instant of random chaos, a carefree schoolgirl and an enraged elephant crossed paths. This is their story
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War of Worlds

War of the Worlds

Man and elephants confront each other in the farms and forests of Karnataka. Attitudes harden, battle lines are drawn, and there is no drawing back
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The elephants must go

The elephants must go

As conflict escalates in Hassan and the toll of humans and elephants mounts, an activist court and a dedicated task force come together to find a solution
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Inside an elephant capture

Inside an elephant capture

When we read of man-elephant conflict , we agree that "capture" is the most logical solution. But do we know what capturing a wild elephant actually means, what it looks like, what it feels like?
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Empathy In A Time of War

Five tame elephants and a wild tusker clash in a battle of wills and strength. And yet, in the midst of that primal scene, the tame elephants and the wild one interact in moments of heart-stopping empathy
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The no-win war

The No-Win War

In conflict, they say, there are no winners or losers; there are only survivors. The truth of that statement is brought home vividly as the captured elephants of Alur are broken, and tamed. A report
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Other photography essays

When a Million Turtles Land

In a small coastal town in India, every year hundreds of thousands of turtles come en-masse to nest in a small stretch of beach.

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Shadows on the Grass

While the remnant grasslands are still graced by the shadows of blackbucks and bustards, the dark shadows of changes and development loom large and threaten their very existence.

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Land Scrapes

In the race to make every inch of our land 'productive' we have scarred the landscape forever. We dig, mine, scrape, plant, bore and drill the land. This essays shows some of these landscapes from the air.

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The Knights of Western Ghats

This is a photo essay of the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque which makes its home in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats in south-west India. Habitat specialization and slow reproduction rate coupled with habitat destruction and fragmentation have endangered the survival of these rainforest-dwelling macaques.

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Published Stories in Media

  • In pictures: Wonders of the monsoon - BBC, Oct 2014
  • On the tail of Primates - Hindu Business Line, Sept 2014
  • 2013 Year in Review: Environment - National Geographic, Jan 2014
  • Water of life: Arrival of Monsoon - Indian Express Jun 2013
  • Why I Shoot - Tahelka Jun 2012
  • Eye for the small: Interview - The Hindu, Oct 2012
  • For that perfect click - Indian Express, Sept 2012
  • The grass less green - LiveMint Jul 2012
  • The Fight to Save the Tiger - Smithsonian Magazine, Apr 2012
  • Secrets of Wild India - National Geographic, 2011