Core Team


Dr. Vasant Saberwal is part ecologist and part sociologist. He spent time in in the late 1990s and early 2000s researching the politics of shepherd access to grazing resources in the Himalaya. He also collaborated with film-maker Sanjay Barnela in the making of a series of films at the development-environment interface. Between 2004 and 2014 he worked at the Ford Foundation where he oversaw work on rainfed agriculture, pastoralism and the Forest Rights Act. His publications include Pastoral Politics (OUP 1999), Battles over Nature (Permanent Black, 2003), and Democratizing Nature (OUP, 2006). He anchors the CfP’s research agenda.

Dr. Pankaj Joshi

Dr. Pankaj Joshi has a Ph.D in Plant Science (Ecology, Taxonomy and Conservation) from Bhavnagar University, Gujarat and with over 15 years of research experience in the fields of plant taxonomy, participatory conservation of rare and endangered biodiversity and restoration of natural habitats. He was formerly with the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology and has published in a variety of journals. While at Sahjeevan and the Centre for Pastoralism, his work has focussed primarily on restoration ecology and community mapping of natural resources. He has supported the work of NGOs and networks in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and has worked closely with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in managing RAMBLE, a research field station devoted to studying the Banni grassland and its many human and non-human communities.

Sushma Iyengar

Sushma Iyengar is the lead curator of the exhibition 'Living Lightly - Journeys with Pastoralists' - an outcome of her longstanding interest and experience with indigenous communities, including nomadic pastoralists. In the late eighties, she initiated Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, the well-known women's collective. During the last three decades, she has founded and led organizations in the area of gender justice, indigenous cultures, traditional livelihoods, local governance, and post disaster rehabilitation. She is the president of Khamir, a platform for craft artisans which works with the eco systems of their crafts, and an adjunct professor with the Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University.  Her publications include Picture This! Painting the Women's Movement (Univ of Chicago, 2013).

Ramesh Bhatti studied Sociology and Rural Development.  He has been a part of Sahjeevan since 2000.  Over this time, he has led the organizations work on pastoralistm, including the revival of a livestock-based livelihood in Kutch, institution-building among the buffalo-herding Maldhari and came-herding Rabari pastoralists of region and the Maldhari submission of a community right to manage the Banni grassland, under the Forest Rights Act.   He is perhaps best known for his work that has led to the ICAR-NBAGR recognition of a number of animal populations as distinct breeds, including the Banni Buffalo, Kharai Camel, Hallari Donkey and the Kutchi-Sindhi Horse.  Ramesh anchors CfP’s work on breeds.  

Arvind Lodaya is a strategic design and innovation consultant, with extensive experience across sectors and verticals. Besides being a creative resource on the ‘Living Lightly’ exhibition and the book ‘A World Without A Roof’, he is also a Visiting Professor at the School of Design at Ambedkar University Delhi and IIT Kanpur, and is on the Governing Board of Quest Alliance, an NGO that works in the vocational education space. He has been Creative Director with Ogilvy & Mather and Research Dean with Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology.   He anchors CfP’s communications team.

Bhawna Jaimini is an architect and writer from New Delhi who currently works on documentation and research with development organisations. She has a keen interest in the rights of women and children living in underserved quarters of urban areas. She is also a regular contributor to a Singapore publication, FuturArc and was a former columnist with the national daily, The Tribune. She is the editor of CfP's Pastoral Times. 

Project Staff

Monika Agarwal has an MBA in rural management from the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), India.  Since 2011, she has worked with various national, regional and global alliances on pastoralism. In the past she has worked with MARAG, EDA Rural Systems, the World Alliance for Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP) and as the International Land Coalition’s (ILC) National Engagement Strategy coordinator for India.  Monika anchors CfP’s ongoing national survey on pastoralism, and how pastoral communities have engaged with Aadhar.

Kavita Mehta studied commerce and is now a freelance consultant based in Kachchh.  She has been involved with the development sector for over 25 years, with a particular interest in the areas of Natural Resource Governance and strengthening Livelihood Enterprises.   Between 1992 and 2015, Kavita oversaw Sahjeevan’s programmatic work on pastoral livelihoods.  She is currently Director of Parjanya Ecology Pvt. Ltd. and GUJPRO Agribusiness Consortium Producer Company Limited.   Kavita is currently spearheading CfP’s work on the marketing of camel milk.


Dr. Arun Mani Dixit is an ecologist by training with particular interests in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and a long-standing interest in how fisheries, livestock rearing, salt manufacturing and tourism impacts forest, grassland and marine ecosystems. Dr. Dixit has published widely and is also a consultant with World Bank and Asian Development Bank.  Arun anchors the ecosystem management work at the CfP.

Dr. D K Sadana retired as Principal Scientist from the ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal where he was based for 14 years, following two decades of research on animal genetics at the National Dairy Research Institute.  He is currently consulting with a variety of organiations on a range of issues relating to India’s animal genetic resources. His areas of interest are Indigenous livestock breeds; natural, organic and sustainable farming, and pastoralism. As Secretary of  the Indigenous Livestock Society - India, he is involved in strengthening livestock based livelihoods and raising awareness on the importance of  conserving Indian animal genetic diversity.  He mentors CfP’s work on indigenous breeds.

Dr. Sabyasachi Das did his doctoral research on the Van Gujjar, a pastoral community in the Uttarakhand himalayas.  As CEO of Sahjeevan, in Kutch, Gujarat, he oversaw a major engagement with the Maldhari pastoralists of the Banni grasslands, including work on livelihoods, breed recognition and the Forest Rights Act.   He is now associated with the RRA Network, a national level network that works to enhance public investments in rainfed agriculture.   Sabyasachi supports CfP's work on the recognition  and conservation of indigenous breeds. 

Sandeep Virmani is an architect by training, and Vice President of Hunnarshala ( an architectural firm that has sought to use local technologies, materials and artisans in the design and building of homes, offices, campuses, slums and rehabilitation complexes in many parts of the world.  Sandeep’s interests in ecology, culture and pastoralist communities have found expression in the many NGOs he has helped establish in Kutch, including, Sahjeevan, Satvik, Arid Communities and Technologies and Abhiyan.  At its core, Sandeep’s work has looked to find equitable and sustainable solutions to the issues he has chosen to work on, through analysis, effective mobilization of local communities, and the leveraging of government programs and policies.  As an initiator of CfP, he is part of its Governing Council, and involved in strategy setting for all of CfP’s work.   

Tushar Dash is a researcher working on forest rights and governance issues in India. He is actively involved in a national initiative for research and advocacy focusing on Community Forest Rights provisions of the Forest Rights Act (CFR Learning & Advocacy Process).  He has served on committees and policy forums set up by the central and state governments, and has written extensively on the implementation of FRA.  Tushar mentors the CfP’s FRA related work.