Global Network of National Geoparks

Geology is under-represented in India

Source Published :February 16, 2007
Any tourist coming to India should feel excited not only about the country's heritage but also geological history which encompasses 4,000 million years of the planet's existence. The Indian Peninsula has one of the oldest crustal remnants and richest mineral resources. This is precisely the reason why Prof Arun Deep Ahluwalia from Panjab University, Chandigarh, is penning not one but two books on geotourism at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, where he is currently on a one-year sabbatical.

Talking to The Tribune at Ohio, where he is doing photographic documentation from the famous natural history museums, he said the Indian government "is not doing even a fraction of what it needs to do to promote sites of geological importance."

"For that matter, even Panjab University can do a lot in geosciences awakening. My obsession with this mission can at least show it can be done at individual level, if you have a bit of a passion," he says.

"The books aim to give a new definition and a fresh idiom to tourism in India. We need to focus on India's geotouristic attractions, geosites and geodiversity, market as well as conserve them. India, sadly, has just two geoparks at Saketi (Himachal Pradesh) and Hyderabad though given the kind of geoheritage we have, the nation can have lakhs of these," he rues.

One of the books is being written for the Geological Society of India while the other one is going to be Ahluwalia's personal venture in which he intends to have an input of global geotourism too. "Both books are expected to hit the stands before 2008, which, incidentally, is the International Year of Planet Earth.

Why did he exactly choose geotourism to write about? "The crux of the problem is that geology is under-represented in many Indian universities and government departments. India is geologically-rich from the tourism point of view. It is indeed a unique geological unit. Most saleable are the sites around tourist attractions to begin with. Rocks are wonderful archives of nature. Every tourist site needs a geological excitement supplement and every geological important site needs a touristic marketing -a bundled selling. Geology to tourists and tourism in geology to geologists. That's what I intend to do through my books," he says.

Prof Ahluwalia, it may be recalled, was one of the main whistleblowers during the 1987 Panjab University's fossil scam. "It's buried and forgotten. Part of my name is, no doubt, a symbol of ethics in Indian science and for now, I am concentrating on the books," he says.

Besides the books, which he is penning, he has two more lined up on Himachal. One is on the geology of Himachal for tourists and another on Himachal landscapes.