Here, I recount the story of four irreverent tigers from Ranthambhore, brought to Sariska, and the expectations of the state machinery for resultant tourism and tales. The big cats though, were reluctant, imperious, and just, well, tigers. This piece first appeared in the Indian Express. NEHA SINHA A cracked road, winding through lush forest, bracketed by zealous home …
Verse for vultures:
Silently, vultures watch us.
Their quiet gaze is cautious.
Shaktiman, a snowy-white police horse, was greviously hurt during a protest march in Dehradun. Called a police officer, a soldier of the state, a re-presentation of Congress, the political party against which the march was called, eventually Shaktiman was just an innocent horse with no voice to say who actually hit her. This calls into question, once again, the poor state of our Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Shaktiman died after a month of suffering. The Act remains unchanged. The price of torturing an animal remains Rupees 50, less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
A thin, shivering dog, the colour of light cocoa powder, was recently picked up by a grinning man, and thrown off a roof. The man is reportedly a medical student in Chennai.
The “activity” appears to have been part of planned group leisure – another person, also a student at the same institute, documented this, and the fruit of his labour is a slow-motion video carefully showing the man’s smile, the dog’s scared whimpers, and its thudding fall onto the ground.
What causes a gentle elephant to die on a railway track or go on a ‘rampage’? What stops the tiger from crossing the road?
Little-understood environmental clearances (roads, railways, highways), pigheadedness (making expensive walls elephants can break to keep them in) and an exclusively human-centric approach is increasing human-wildlife conflict throughout India.
While the last post looks at how religion, in part, protects wildlife wildlife– even crop-damaging species like Nilgai– this is not a simple issue.
Looking at various moves to use, and abuse, them in rituals in India. Should religion and custom be part of state-sponsored decision-making?
A close-up, contested look at the debates and implications around a first for India: wide-spread, state-sanctioned shooting and culling of animals like Nilgai, wild boar and monkeys.
Next up: peacocks and bison?
One of my favourite wild animals is the girgit (Hindi for garden lizard). Girgits have a beady, disapproving glare..