By Jane Friedman
July 14th, 2012
In the Spring 2011 issue of VQR, we featured “India’s Vanishing Vultures,” an essay by Meera Subramanian. We are thrilled to announce that her piece has won 1st place for outstanding feature from the Society of Environmental Journalists.
She writes in the opening, “At first, no one noticed they were missing. Vultures … were once so ubiquitous in India as to be taken for granted, invisible. And something in us didn’t want to see them. Vultures are cross-culturally uncharismatic … They vomit when threatened and reek of death. The world over, these voracious scavengers are viewed with disgust and associated with death—and we, instinctually, look away. But for all of human history, vultures served India faithfully. They scoured the countryside, clearing fields of dead cows and goats. … In Mumbai, they covered the Towers of Silence where Parsis, a small but ancient religious group that doesn’t believe in cremation or burial, lay out their dead for the vultures to consume in a ritual known as a “sky burial.” … But, today, India’s vultures are almost gone.”
Lit Awards News VQR