In a bid to save birds in the national capital, Rakesh Khatri, a resident of Delhi's Ashok Vihar, has built over 2.5 lakh nests in his life, which has garnered him the title of 'Nest Man'. Khatri also teaches people to create nests and has trained more than lakhs of students to date. He also teaches them about climate change and e-waste recycling.
During the pandemic, he even held webinars where he taught people how to make nests using jute, plastic, grass, woods, etc.
He was very fond of playing with birds and had started building nests for them since his childhood.
He said to ANI, "I have taught lakhs of students how to make nests. In the beginning, people used to make fun of me and used to say, how will the birds enter the nest built by them. However, when the bird started entering their nests, they started setting up nests in their own homes."
The businessman-turned-environmentalist has been working in the field of environment conservation for the past two decades and firmly believes that artificial nests can aid birds in sustaining themselves in cities.
Khatri moved to Delhi in the 1980s when industrialisation and urbanisation were at their elevation. He could not spot any such nests, and to bring back the cheerful birdsongs, he decided to build a few nests.
His initial attempts were failed, and everyone began to laugh at him. However, he continued trying until he succeeded using bamboo sticks; he installed the nests in different parts of his colony.
Within a few days, at least four sparrows took shelter in those nests, which thrilled Khatri and motivated him to continue with the process.
By far, Khatri has received a total of five awards for the initiative, including Limca book of record for the maximum number of handmade nests and workshops, 2019 and the International Green Apple Award in the house of commons London for best practice on sparrow conservation and others.
His other recognition includes Limca book of record for theatre on climate change with 112000 students in 12 languages, Earth day star declared by 190 countries association Washington DC and one Rakesh Special chapter in 4th standard English book of ICSC board this year, and National Award for best performance with children through innovative and traditional methods, World Book of records for 125000 nests of jute and tetra pack.