Wherever we turn, politicians, businesses and activists are promoting the latest fashionable “green” policy or product. However, scientific and economic information regarding environmental problems takes a back seat to the social and personal value of being seen and perceived as “green.” Long before it was fashionable to be an environmentalist, a young man from Kolkata had resolved to dedicate his life in promoting the environment and ecology. He began in his own way, by starting an eco-tourism company and soon started specializing in offbeat eco-tours. After 15 years, Asad Siddiqui and his company Cat Holidays, is one of the leading eco-tourism companies in India.
“Our main motive is not only doing profitable business but we would like to do something socially as well” – says Asad. “Our mission is Naturalistic – the interest and the affection for wildlife and the outdoors worldwide. And our mission is Ecologistic – the concern for the environment as a system and for interrelationships between wildlife species and natural habitats”, he further adds.
Asad Siddiqui has always been a crusader for environmental causes. He debunks other so-called eco-tours, that does not care about the environment and ultimately pollutes the eco-system. Every eco-tourism package that his Company offers to the customers is carefully designed by him. Asad personally supervises the preparation of every tour his company organizes and teaches his customers the do-s and don’t-s of the tour, lest his customers unknowingly harms the environment.
On his visit to Majuli regions of Brahmaputra in search of ecotourism opportunities, Asad came face-to-face with the creation of Jadav “Molai” Payeng, today famously known as ‘Forest Man of India’. Asad resolved to create a documentary to highlight to the rest of the world Payeng’s way of life, his single-handed efforts at growing a forest along the barren sandbars of Brahmaputra, and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
Asad Siddiqui is a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from Goenka College of Commerce – one of the premier colleges of Kolkata. He has worked for quite a few multinationals and has travelled the world before starting his own ecotourism company.