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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Blue Eyed Boy

Tiger with blue eyes

This is an enigmatic and startling image of a blue eyed male tiger at Bandhavgarh. The unusual stance and blue eyes have mesmerized my sensory apparatus no end. Photographed by a seasoned naturalist Tirath Singh this is a classic example of capturing the right moment. The pose appears much man like deliberation. I have earlier noticed an amusing look in tiger countenance in presence of humans. (Could be my mind gone beserk?) The dominant male tigers are oblivious of humans whence not disturbed. The females are very shy but can be over zealously aggressive when along with cubs and threatened.    

From a humble safari guide Tirath Singh a local tribal has come a long way. Mr. Singh now conducts tiger tours in India through his MP package tour company. He guides many photographic expeditions in India. I have realized that this man is highly skilled with the camera. His keen observation power, equally keen eyesight and sensitive ears contribute to his photography skills. His understanding of animal behavior and the terrain is another reason for being successful in his recreation.      

Of Dignity and Honour

Tiger cub by Tirath Singh

The tiger cub is unaware of the plight of its species. Shrunken homes, brutal murders, diminishing prey base - the tiger cub knows nothing about. But as it will grow, it will realize that something is amiss. The struggle for survival is not only against the enemies in the jungle, a more vicious creature poses an indomitable challenge for the existence of its kind.        

For centuries man has been making inroads into land meant for other life forms. Human assault has been brutal with marked insensitivity to its kind. The tigers are aware of their land being usurped by humans but they know nothing about their diminishing numbers or of sliding statistics. As majestic as ever, even in defeat the tiger is facing its last hour on Earth with dignity and grace.    

The slipper in the tiger cub's mouth has been callously disposed off by a pilgrim on the way to Ram Janki Temple on the Bandhavgarh Fort. This is our attitude towards few remaining natural habitats. Will the tiger forage on plastic waste and discarded papers like our holy cows do? Will Bandhavgarh become a potential industrial area with loads of slipper factories all around? The reckless mining is already taking a toll of our reserve and protected forests. Will Bandhavgarh be next?        

These threats are real, in populist governance man's interest comes first even if the land belongs to the tiger and its kins. We espouse non violence principles as preached by the Great Mahatma...but do we practice? Do we read the five thousand years old Vedas that preach us to respect all life forms.  Nurture and nourish them, value their existence as much as we do for self.

Its all in our minds what we do? How we do? Our attitude contributes to dismembering of nature or its preservation. It is for each individual to think and act positively. The big cats can still be saved if we the people care for it assiduously. Plant a tree in your garden save wilderness in your backyard. Save natural habitats!  Live and Let Live!