“Wild” is beautiful,adventurous and yet so enriching with great learnings..!!
It was last year (May-2015) during the heavy monsoons that I visited Mudumulai Tiger Reserve somewhere around early September for a workshop on Integrated Learning for the local NGO team members. It was around 7p.m. that I crossed the Masinagudi and was travelling to Gudalur. It was raining like cats and dogs. I was also feeling a bit cold and it was quite windy.
The driver had to maintain really slow speed since we were travelling in the midst of a forest. It was about to get dark in next 20 minutes or so, and I was just crossing my fingers that we reach to the place, soon.
Suddenly, the organization person who had come to receive me from Gundlupete, told the driver to stop the car and to my surprise there was this “huge tusk (Male Elephant)”about to cross the road. I was just startled at the first sight..!!For me, looking at this WILD ELEPHANT IN THE WOODS was absolutely amazing.This was first of its kind and so was feeling speechless. It was looking at us and we kept our vehicle really slow, so that we can see him for a longer period.
I was about to take out my camera, but the driver, cautioned us and said NO. The Elephant was moving his right leg which was an indication that he was about to run towards us. He was may be angry. Also there was a vehicle ahead of us, who had taken lot of pics and the flash light had made the elephant irritated.
I had no other option, but to capture this moment in my mobile phone. And here it is.But personally it feels very good to see wildlife pictures, but yes, it’s one of the most difficult things at times, since you are in the home of the animals. At the end would just like to say, “Adventurous yet so memorable.”
Review of Maikal Pahado ke Bagh:
Book Name- Maikal Ke Bagh
Support-Hemendra Kothari Foundation
The story of “MAIKAL KE BAGH” is a fiction written by Subhadra Majumdar. The story is about the animals specially Tigers who are residing in the nearby hills of Maikal which is located in the forest of Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is currently having a highest number of Tiger Reserves just like Maharashtra. This includes Satpura, Kanha, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Sanjay-Dubri and Pench Tiger Reserve. These forests are blessed with the most diverse collections of flora and fauna and that’s what makes it really very special and unique. Within these forests there is a range of Maikal Hills. Maikal hills are range of hills between the Mandala and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
The story speaks about the emotions and life of the animals within the forests who also share the life, the way humans live. These animals also think, feel, sense and respond the way we humans do. They also have a say when different situations come in their life and the interesting part of the story is, that the author has tried to be very creative and imaginative, yet connecting to the chords, made it possible to share their emotions and sentiments in the most natural ways.
The story is about a tigress named “SHARDULI” who is a young, radiant, sharp and extremely strong and her 3 cubs (Golu, Motu and Chotu) The story revolves around their lives, how these cubs grew up in this Maikal forest, what kind of encounters they face, how humans perceive them and their responses to humans, how they manage different challenges and overcome their own fears till they become adult tigers and how they still have the same love, affection, care and warmth for each other the way humans have in their relationships. It once again reinforces the fact of life that we all are born with this beautiful life and it’s really important for us to know that each creature on this life is the creation of Him, and so we need to respect it and nurture it the same way, the way we do it for any other species.
The story gives a powerful message to all the readers about how important it is to maintain and protect the different species of animals because if they are safe, forests will be safe. And Tigers are the most crucial species since they are the top carnivores. If there are tigers in the forests, it means that all the other animals are present in the forests, which is a good sign of healthy forests.
The Maikal forests, is blessed with variety of flora, dense Teak forests, creepers, first and second level canopy and fauna that starts from Tigers, Leopards, Sloth bear,Cheetal, Squirrel, Snakes of different species, Elephants, Wild dogs, Peacocks, monkeys, Hyena, Wolves and many more. The story caters to how animals interact with each other when they see humans. The very intense deep conversations between Sharduli and her cubs when they see some herd of Cheetal & deers, when they see humans looking at them and are dying to have one sight of them and different situations when they have to take a decision on some issue. In the story there is a mention of the “Baiga and the Gonds” which are the tribal communities of this region. These tribals are not afraid of tigers and all and stay in harmony with them to a great extent. The way they know tigers, the same way tigers also know them. Typically the way humans believe in some Forest Goddess, similarly in this story also Banjarimata,is, is someone whom thee animals and birds strongly have faith in. This Goddess takes care of the forests.
In the story there are humorous critical comments on humans also. The best example of it is in a forest, there is lot of discipline between the animals who stay there. Once when some tourist comes and when they see any big animal, like a Tiger or a Sambhar, they will start shouting and screaming. It’s the very excitement of humans, which probably they just can’t control. To this incidence, Sharduli cub speaks to her brother, “Why they come and shout like this in our forest? Don they understand that this forest is a home of so many birds, animals and insects. We get disturb by their noises.”
Story then moves with different shades of life as it happens in normal human lives. Sharduli, the tigress teachers her cubs to hunt slowly, takes them along with her, where ever she goes, so that they see her and learn the hunting skills.
The story from end to end portrays Sharduli as a fighter, who is not only a courageous tigress, but who has given some of the best tigers to these forests, and nurtured her cubs like the best guide and parent and also had a soft heart of a mother from within.
Here, in the story we also see the whole aspects of energy cycle shared by the author in a subtle manner. She says: “Animals know that the people who come to the forests in the morning are good and come only to see us. They take own images and go but the ones who come at night, don’t feel trustful and then why they come at night?” The very energy of the animals can sense that there is something not correct. And having that sense, speaks a lot about the universal concepts that the God, has created and reminds us once again whether it is man or animal both are blessed with a strong mind, some conscience and they operate from within and take things ahead.
This story talks about the value system and ethics also in animals. For example there is a time when all the animals of the forests arrange for a meeting. And one rule was nobody will attack their predators till the meeting gets over. Though a tough thing but a lot of respect for agreements that all animals had set amongst themselves.
Broadly to cut the story short and summarize it we can say that this fiction takes us into the actual lives of animals and connect us to their lives in a great way. The later part of the story is all about how Sharduli, moves away from her cubs, due to some challenges and then meets her eldest son, who has become the King of another forest and how they help each other and comes back to Maikal forest. Sharduli was lost in some other forest and after lot of hardships she manages to come back to Maikal and meets her cubs. Only one is left now-Golu.
A beautiful story, yet narrated in a very simple language with lots of liveliness. The characters appear to be very real and takes us into the story deep within. Illustrations are few and makes u feel connected to the forests and its life. Emotions are something that the author has really worked on in the most appealing manner, with classical instances.
Worth reading book for children and adults who like fiction and are interested in wildlife stories.
I got up at 4a.m. in the morning. Did my yoga and then was quietly waiting for the vehicle to come and pick us up. Finally the vehicle came up at 5.45a.m. when we were having a morning walk. This was my first time going to a Tiger reserve in the core. The idea of SAFARIS really make people happy but for me it was more to understand what are the issues in this tiger reserve and how we can resolve some of them through EDUCATION as the tool?
The Pench Tiger Reserve is a 292.85 km² Project Tiger tiger reserve located in the Seoni District and Chhindwara District of southern Madhya Pradesh. This reserve is lush green, full of ]Teak forest stretching from one part of Maharashtra to other part of M.P. The river Pench flows through it and divides the reserve into 2 different parts. Almost 3/4th of this forest falls under the Madhya Pradesh state and 1/4th falls under Maharashtra.Interestingly, this Tiger Reserve is divided into 3 forst range: Karmajhiri, Gumtara, and Kurai. During my 4 hours in this dense forest, I could sight some Gaurs, sambhars, Spotted Deers in huge no’s (around 80-100 in a group),peacocks, monkeys,wild pigs, wild cocks, kingfisher,hornbills and a wide range of butterfly species. I could not sight any tiger since the rainy season has already started. It was an enriching experience for me to explore this forest during monsoons.
Then I had some interesting discussions with the people from the communities who were staying near this forest, in the buffer areas. I personally visited villages which were a part of the buffer zones, like Pipariya, Amazari, lodha,Pindkapar,Sitapur,Dahoda,Mansar, Salai and Devlapar and Pawni of Maharashtra and villages like Turia, Ambazari,Jeerewada,Awargani,Kurai and Khoka of Madhya Pradesh. It was indeed a very enriching and inspiring expeirence for me to understand conservation from a 360 degree approach. While I interacted with so many villagers and students of the school,everyone said only one thing that they want development.
Today these people are dependent on forests because there is no other means of livelihood and their survival is at stake. Since their kids grow up attaining poor government education and hence can’t really go out in search of jobs outside. People in these forest still poach and hunt tigers, and carry the illegal affairs world wide and eat wild pigs by hunting.
Forests causes rains and water is required by all of us not only by the people who stay around the forests. So its our responsibility to make sure that these forests are well protected. For this we need to education the students and schools and communities how can we conserve our forests and why its important to preserve them? We also need to support the youths by providing them different jobs or by imparting skills that will help them earn good money for their families. We need to make sure that the forest guards and officers are motivated enough and have the right equipment in place because if they are not safe,how will they keep the forests secure? We need to make sure that health facilities are available to people since many times man-animal conflicts results in serious injuries.
When I speak about “WE”,its everyone of us.Each citizen of this country. lets see how each one of us,can contribute in our own ways ( concrete ways) to preserve and conserve our “FORESTS AND WILDLIFE.