Nature Chronicles of India: Essays on Wildlife
Edited by Ananda Banerjee
9788129134875 | PB | pp. 176 | 2014 | Rupa Publications
India’s diverse forest and jungles have interested people for centuries. This compilation of essays gives us an insightful look into the natural world.
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The incredibly diverse forests and jungles of India have, for centuries, been a source of fascination, curiosity and awe. And, over the years, naturalists, biologists, hunters and gamekeepers–Hugh Allen, E.P. Sanderson, Edward Lockwood, Rauf Ali, Kartik Shankar, among others–have striven to evoke the sense of wonder they felt, in their works.
Nature Chronicles of India, a compilation of essays on the natural wealth of the country, is divided into two distinct sections. In the first are field narratives by some of the finest biologists, naturalists, filmmakers and journalists working in India at the moment. Essays in this section include ‘Lunch with the Snow Leopard’, in which conservation biologist Yash Veer Bhatnagar describes a magical encounter with the ‘grey ghost’; and ‘Are Warblers Less Important Than Tigers?’, a well-argued piece by reconciliation ecologist Madhusudan Katti in support of viewing conservation as a holistic exercise rather than as one privileging a particular species over the other.
The second section features essays and stories penned by officers of the Raj posted in different parts of British India. An excerpt from Hugh Allen’s The Lonely Tiger tells the story of a tiger distraught about having lost his family to poachers; and, ‘The Sal Forests’, by the author and hunter Captain James Forsyth, describes his exciting adventures in the region; dodging poisoned arrows, stalking red deer and camping on the hunting ranges of the tiger.
Insightful, comprehensive and informative, this book will excite everyone interested in the natural world.
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About the Contributors
Jay Mazoomdaar is an independent journalist and filmmaker. He exposed the extermination of tigers from Sariska Tiger Reserve and National Park.
Krupakar and Senani have done extensive research on the dhole for over a decade and produced films on them for channels like National Geographic and Animal Planet, which won many awards worldwide, including the Panda 2010 for ‘Animal Behaviour’, the first ever for an Asian filmmaker.
Kartik Shanker is a sea turtle specialist working on community ecology and biogeography. He is a faculty member at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Rauf Ali is an eminent wildlife ecologist. He is the founding trustee of the Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning.
Madhusudan Katti is a reconciliation ecologist and associate professor of Vertebrate Biology at California State University, Fresno.
Yash Veer Bhatnagar is a conservation biologist with keen interest in Himalayan wildlife and is a senior scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, and the Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle.
Ananda Banerjee is a conservation journalist, graphic designer and fine art photographer. An avid birder he is the author of the bestselling Common Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, Wild Trail in Madhya Pradesh and contributing author for Birds and People.
Hugh Allen served in the British army during the Second World War, but when a bad head wound put him out of active service in 1942, he was hospitalized in India. He learnt to love the country and took up farming amongst the jungles, developing his skills for big-game shooting out of necessity, rather than entertainment.
Edward Lockwood served in the Bengal Civil Service and was the magistrate of Monghyr (now written as Munger in Bihar).
Frank Finn was an ornithologist. He was the editor of the Avicultural Magazine in 1909-10 and the Finn’s weaver is named after him.
Richard Lydekker was an English naturalist and paleontologist. He was associated with the Geological Survey of India from 1874-82.
Captain James Forsyth was an officer of the Bengal Staff Corps who became one of the first Europeans to explore Satpura.
Edward Hamilton Aitken was a civil servant in India and a founding member of the Bombay Natural History Society. He was well known by the pen name of Eha.
George Peress Sanderson was a civil servant who introduced a novel way of catching wild elephants for subsequent taming and training in forestry work.
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