Bid to make butterflies more local

Neha Basudkar
Saturday, 19 January 2019

Milind Watve said, “Before writing the second volume of the book, I had to do research on butterflies. During the exploration, I came across the fact that, the species of butterflies do not have any names in Marathi and they are only called as colourful butterflies.”

PUNE: It becomes really difficult for a layman to identify the indigenous species of butterflies by their scientific names, especially those living in rural areas. To overcome this drawback, in 1986 to 1987, Milind Watve, naturalist and evolutionary biologist undertook the task of renaming 50 species of butterflies in simple Marathi. This year, the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) has formed a committee headed by Vilas Bardekar, who is also the Chairman of MSBB, to rename butterflies in Marathi.

With an aim to popularise birds and animals name in simple Marathi, so that they can be understood and known to anyone, a group of experts in biodiversity sector had come up with a book named- ‘Apli Shrushti- Aple Dhan’ in the time period from 1985 to 1989. The book had four volumes, of which second volume focusing on butterflies was written by Watve.

Watve said, “Before writing the second volume of the book, I had to do research on butterflies. During the exploration, I came across the fact that, the species of butterflies do not have any names in Marathi and they are only called as colourful butterflies.”

Watve further said, “I started giving simple names in Marathi with assistance from experts and thinkers, so that it would prove helpful to a layman and children to identify and understand which butterfly species it is in simple Marathi terms. The book consists of information about 50 renamed butterfly species along with their pictures and their whole circle of life.”

Some of the names of butterflies which have been renamed in the book includes eggfly (chandava), castor (erandya), sailor (tandel), blue pansy (nili bhirbhiri), joker (vidhushak) and many other such names of butterflies species have been renamed in Marathi.

Similarly, this year, the MSBB has formed a committee recently which has the same aim and motto. The members of the committee included Hemant Ogale, Diwakar Thombare, Dr Raju Kasbe and Jayant Vadatkar, who are the experts in biodiversity. This committee is headed by Vilas Bardekar, the Chairman of MSBB. The committee has decided to rename around 350 species of butterflies in Marathi. 

Bardekar said, “I had just given a thought that if flora and fauna along with trees have names in Marathi, then why not butterflies? I shared this idea with these four panelists and this committee was formed. Since there are more than 350 indigenous species of butterflies, the committee is working on giving them simple names in Marathi. We do not want to translate any names of butterflies from English to Marathi, but working on such names which will be easy to by any person.”

According to Bardekar, the committee will finalise the renaming on January 21 and then it will be shared with group of butterfly and Sanskrit experts and thinkers. After finalising everything, a book will be published and will be uploaded on the MSBB site as well.

FACTS SHARED
Bardekar said that Maharashtra was the first state to declare Blue Mormon as the state butterfly which has been renamed in Marathi as Nil Pank in 2015

After Maharashtra, Uttarakhand has declared their state butterfly as ‘Common Peacock’ and now, Goa and Karnataka are in their process to declare their state butterfly. A lead song was composed for the awareness regarding biodiversity.

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