Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stan Lee, The Immortal!




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“Just because you have superpowers, that doesn’t mean your love life would be perfect. I don’t think, superpowers’ automatically means there won’t be any personality problems, family problems or even money problems. I just tried to write characters who are human beings who also have superpowers.”… Stan Lee.

“If you’re writing about a character, if he’s a powerful character, unless you give him vulnerability I don’t think he’ll be as interesting to the reader.”… Stan Lee.

“Stan Lee died”, just three words I could read when I opened news paper on Children’s Day i.e. on 14t Nov 18; what a way to start Children’s Day, I thought to myself! Well, last few days we have been reading how great he was & quotes as well obituaries from celebrities to his millions of fans from every class of society & age group; indeed some names get more publicity when they have left us than they deserved when they were very much alive! Indeed Stan do got publicity rather fame, name & everything yet his characters were more known than him & I think he too liked the life that way, that’s his greatness! For those who are ignorant about Stan Lee, he was creator of Marvel World (comics isn’t term you can define Marvel is what I feel). Well even if there are few who are ignorant about Marvel (I really pity such souls, but then in country where there are still people who thinks Hon Indira Gandhi is Prime Minister of our country, anything is possible), for them Marvel started with comic books whit characters of Super Heroes & later entered in movies by name Marvel Studios & has produced some of biggest hits of the century & all the characters were written (read created) by none other than Stan Lee! By the way biggest hit means speaking of Rs 100 crore leagues for the Bollywood fans, well Black Panther released in April 2018 made $68,80,09,489.00, now multiply it by Rs 74 & keep counting, I tried but failed! And such nearly twenty movies are there under the belt of Marvel Studios & all of them based on characters created by Stan Lee, now you must have had some idea about him!

But then I won’t ever dare (read make mistake) of measuring greatness of Stan by the box office figures, indeed they are important but more important is what he has given to world than mere  entertainment  along with financial success & on that scale he is the best competitor for Walt Disney. Our world take any field always loves competition & when it’s between geniuses then no better fun to watch rather experience it & for that USA has been a biggest & best stage for the competition. May it be in between Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova on the tennis or between Muhammad Ali & Joe Frazier in boxing arena or between Steve Jobs & Bill Gates in computers or between Wall Mart & Amazon in satisfying customers shopping needs But one biggest & most neglected such competition USA or the world has witnessed is in entertainment & it’s by me is in between Disney & Marvel means Walt Disney & Stan Lee! Best part is by all these competitions apart from money it has generated the outcome which I feel is it benefitted entire world to become a better place, it not only entertained masses but made their life easier. Look at computers & smart phones today or online shopping ease as well deals the malls are offering & comfort & any game’s high standard of performance making the spectators spell bound by the players performance & on the top of all come movies i.e. entertainment industry of which comics was the base! This last aspect of entertainment is very much important as this is the medium which makes you forget you problems, worries, and tensions whatever you tag your life, for three hours & takes you in a different world. A world where anything is possible, here you fly in sky without wings, you jump from hundredth floor of the building without getting a scratch, you can change your shape as well face, you can pass through concrete walls, you can move mountains just by looking at them, in simple words you are a Super Hero for those three hours!

And for decades Walt Disney ruled this entertainment competition by Disney’s fairy tales where all stories ends with “and they lived happily ever after”, with love in heart! Yes, Disney fairy tales are still enjoyed by millions (me too) but as you grow up somewhere that innocence you lock within when you realize the harsh realities (read cruelties) of grown up life is a fact. And here is where Stan scored over Disney off late & then as the civilization entered in 2000 century where technology started replacing sentiments like affection & love & kindness, so does changed the needs of the entertainment. People still loved fairy tales but with more human touch more realistic Super Heroes & Super Heroines, which are in a way representing modern days Prince & Princes! And in this today’s world fairy tales rarely has happy endings but even the Prince & Princes has to survive emotional break downs caused by survival issues & strained relations! Greatness of Stan was, he perfectly changed gears as just look at his above two quotes about his characters & you will realize his Super Heroes are very much humans with every draw back a normal human mind (read character) has & Stan likes these characters that way only. He says, “Unless you give vulnerability to the character they won’t become interesting”, sound familiar, isn’t it? What is Hindu or any religion’s mythology (read philosophy) after all; unless there is end to one life how there can be a new life & yet his villains craves for immortality while his Super Hero’s thrives to stop the bad guys becoming immortal!

The list is unending, starting from Spider Man who is a average orphan boy next door, always worried for his day to day survival in the real world as well bad love life & battling bad guys on other side. The Iron Man is millionaire in normal world i.e. Tony Stark, a flamboyant character, yet very much human with bitterness about the surrounding flowing through his nasty tongue due to the frustration about disparity in the world!  The might Hulk who is Dr Banner, the Physicist in normal is trying hard to get rid of the green beast in him, The Wolverine, immortal mutant also want to dies & perish like normal man when other envy him for his super powers which heals any wound on his body but what about the wounds Logan (When not Voulvarine) is carrying on his mind & has sleepless nights because of the damaged memories of past & living on, while every his dear one dies due to mortality! The list of all the characters is endless & not even the Demy God, Thor has escaped by the human touch of Stan as while fighting the wars across the galaxies Thor has to carry the burden of family loss & a brother who has turned evil & face frustration in love as he loves a mortal human being! Stan created fifty plus characters, each one with some unique gift & curse too; gift of super power in some form which makes them different from common man & gift of curse which in most characters runs from their childhood, either loss of parents or love or memory itself! In nut shale every Super Hero Stan created is very much unhappy, depressed a times & fights his or her own battle within, very vulnerable just like you & me does, yet a Super Hero!

This is where Stan scored on every his competitor as people find his Super Heroes’ more human, more real, more familiar as they too have to face similar problems like common man! Remember why in 70’s the great Amitabh Bachhan could rise to Super Stardom as it was time of unrest & a very common, average looking tall guy (due respect to Bachhan for his great acting skills) who is angry with world around can beat the bad goons just by his   bare hands & kicks, was so so much appealing to the masses that they crowded the theaters again & again to watch him on screen! Well the real success behind this was of writers Salim Javed actually who created this angry young man out of masses! These too are times of unrest as indeed now most of us don’t have to worry about food or clothing or survival, rather many of us carries tag of success in the form our fat salary package, posh car, gadgets, dinners at happening joints, a perfect family to post its snap on Insta/ FB yet how many of us are truly happy & at peace with what life has offered us? And Stan perfectly understood the mind set of this post 2000 genre which is frustrated but doesn’t know with whom & why they are frustrated & he keeps on flooding the characters’ through his comics, which became larger than life on screen with digital revolution in the  cine industry!

I personally got introduced to Stan Lee much late i.e. in late 80’s via Spider Man series on Door Darshan i.e. DD, Sunday 11 am! But then in small town like Khamgaon, Marvel was unheard of so only when I moved to Pune for my engg, I became familiar with Captain America, X –Men & Stan’s characters. Yet I wasn’t grown up to understand that philosophy (read frustration or unrest) these characters displayed, it’s actually Stan’s which I eventually learnt. And then I with every new movie from Marvel the respect & affection for Stan grew up which I am sure will go on. As one of the comment in media about Stan’s departure was, “along with Stan some part of my childhood died”! Well, with due respect for the love of said fan; he hasn’t understood the Stan as how can Stan will let it happen! Stan’s creations, troubled however they may be within, one thing was very common among them all & that is, understanding of the responsibility they carry towards the world & their belief on goodness; and these two things will never die! Speaking for me, Stan Lee gave me the best gift I would have ever received, which is actually just one sentence, “with great powers comes along great responsibilities”!  And a realization that we all have some power in some form which most of us fails to understand resulting in failure of our understanding of the responsibility it brings! Thanks a ton “Stanley Martin Lieber”, for portraying the best & real Super Hero under the name “Stan Lee” & creating Super Heroes & giving them courage to accept & respect the common man within! And yes nothing died in me while you departed but a feeling of gratefulness relived for your gift of hope to me as well to the entire world that anybody can be Super Hero!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Kanha For Ever!






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 “Forests should not be walked on, they should be walked under and through.” … Courtney M. Privett.

"It was October last week, a typical Kanha start of winter morning & we were in mukki meadows (large grass land), the morning mist hanging on the grass land was melting by entry of rising sun in the sky. Visitors often complain about less tiger sighting at Kanha in this season but I feel forest is at its best in Kanha in late October. The air is cool & a wonderful green screen of Sal welcomes you, the huge spread of grass displays a multicolored canvas for the drama which is on all the time & you have to just park your gypsy on a road along the grass land & become part of the drama unfolding in front of your eyes! It was one such morning & were chasing an alarm call(what else?) which died off after sometimes & suddenly our eyes were on some movement in grass land ahead so we moved forward & a pack of wild dogs was relaxing in morning sun in the grass along the two small adjoining lakes at center of the grass land. Many people (read most) don’t understand importance of wild dogs & ignore their sighting but let me tell you something, there are nearly hundred plus tigers in Kanha but if I am right wild dogs are even lesser than this figure; now you can realize the importance of wild dogs in forest & rarity of their sighting! Well, first we saw just three/ four of them but as we came in full view it was biggest pack I have seen in recent with nearly twenty wild dogs in it. All of them were relaxing which actually they weren’t because that was the strategy to keep their prey unalarmed. On the far side of meadows where the Sal tree wall stood, a large pack of spotted deer' was grazing unaware of wild dogs but wild dogs were very much aware about them. There was discussion going on in the pack about the attack formation & slowly in calculated move one by one wild dogs started moving towards the deer pack surrounding them & suddenly in last leap they all sprang from three sides driving the deer herd towards the center of the grass land! There was silent stampede as no alarm call was made by the deer, just they started running wildly in all directions. And soon the canvas of the meadows was active like cinema screen with nearly hundred deer’ & twenty wild dogs running all around; it was race of life vs. death as deer’ were running for life & wild dogs running to kill, which in a way life for them actually! I have seen such scenes only on National Geography or Animal Planet channels but today I was experiencing it live & no camera was enough to cover this drama! Wild dogs were trying to separate one of the deer’ from the herd & kill it by trying to tire it which is their normal tactics. But even with full fledged effort that was deer's lucky day & wild dogs had to end their attack without success except a small fawn which wasn’t enough for eighteen of them. And then the wild dogs realized that there was a barsingha in one of the small lake, a treat so near! Immediately putting the spotted deer’ failed mission behind the pack started planning a new move & covered the small lake from all sides. The poor barsingha already sensed its death by looking at approaching pack & moved towards deeper waters instead running out of lake & watching it I could feel the wild dogs smiling between them by barsingha’s move because the barsingha has sealed its death by going deep in water as wild dogs are natural swimmers & in water the heavy barsingha has restrictions on its movements. Needless to say the outcome was it turned out as happy day finely for the wild dogs pack but not so, for the poor barsingha! Entire drama lasted for some thirty minutes leaving behind a dead barsingha caracas, feasting wild dogs & mesmerized faces of few human beings with cameras!! One more Kanha tour has started for me…"

Well by now you must have been understood the sharing is about Kanha & some things are like “Déjà woo” & for me Kanha is one such. The quote I used is of Courtney M. Privett who is the author of The Malora Octet, Huron, and The Bacra Chronicles. She spent her childhood in rural northeastern Michigan and graduated from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) in 2005 with a degree in ceramic engineering. In addition to being a writer, she is an accidental artist, a classical percussionist, a former analytical chemist, and a vivid dreamer, & who better than a dreamer can think of such words of understanding the forests! Actually in the quote of Courtney lays my frequent forest trip’s reason as once you understand the forests then it’s like visiting your own home, how many time you go there you like it more, that is true definition of the home & which I live in forests. And when the forest is Sal trees & vast meadows (grass lands) of Knaha then the affection is like addiction, though it said any addiction is hazardous to the health but I am sure addiction of forest, (read nature) is exception to this rule!Actually I had been to Kanha just five months back yet it seems like age long such is affection to visit the greens of Kanha. And when the Innova started racing out of Nagpur city & on road to Kanha, my mind has already reached there & my lungs can feel the fresh air with green fragrance it brings along!

One noticeable thing, good for Kanha visitors though not so good for die hard nature lovers is, the road widening work is on full speed especially between Nagpur & Seoni. Issue is this is Nation Highway & it passes through most of the forest which is in a way corridor also for many animals. Thousands of trees have been cut for this road widening & the sight was sickening yet our Hon Central Minister for roads has promised the new trees will be planted in proportion of ten trees per one cut tree, we all know how effective our engineering depts are when its planting new trees! I only wish the Hon Minister should give a keen eye for plantation as well survival of the trees, the very same way he is taking efforts to complete the road widening! When its matter of development (read infrastructure) Vs environment, most of the time development has won & most people will say what’s wrong with it? If the travel time is reduced, its saves crores of rupees in the form of fuel as well man hours, is not in a way saving? Indeed it is saving  but what about the loss in the form of cut trees as well knowing the way our drivers drive their cars & trucks on such type of wide & smooth roads, the danger of road kill of animals too increase ten times is a fact we can’t ignore! I think along with the planting of new trees equally important is leaving underpasses’ for the animals to cross the road as well have strong barricades on both sides of the road for entire stretch it goes from the woods! And here is where the wild life lovers should put their foot down united than just protesting for Avni’s death. I am not happy for killing (I personally take it as death) of Avni tigress but it’s the encroachment of we the humans on habitats of wild life is what made Avni man eater & this is the main cause we should fight for, which we are not doing in first place! But surely reduction of travel time from Nagpur to Kanha will be a boon for wild lifers is other side of the coin. As the hotel as well tourism dependant trades are not doing well in Knaha because no tourist will go to Kanha without having a safari permit & even if we say all 100 vehicles full yet it makes room (hotel accommodation) need of hardly some 300 odd rooms where as Kanha to my knowledge has some 2000 rooms accommodation in of all sorts or resorts t6o home stay! Outcome is many properties (read hotels) have been closed down or available for sale at Kanha but no buyer is the scene! Fault lies with hotel owners also as they can make many things possible with coordination of forest dept. For e.g. nature walk or nature trail which can easily keep tourist occupied for a day if not jungle safari & then you can always take them for a ride in nearing forest outside of the park as well visit to some villages to make the visitors know about the people around these forests & then most of the tourists are happy with two or three safaris! Forest dept also should take lead in such activities as this the only way to promote tourism which in the end will be helping local people to get some decent living as well making visitors aware of real nature & not just tiger! On the background of roads in MP sorry to say roads in Maharashtra are in pathetic stage as now I am visiting MP for nearly last ten years & earlier when the car used to hit bumpy road we used to say “we have entered in MP!”. But now its reverse as soon the car starts rolling on smooth road we say, “seems we have entered in MP”.  Also the sign boards as when we were on way to Kursapar i.e. Pench Maharashtra after Kanha, there wasn’t s single sign board of indicating the exit for Khursapar gate & relying on Google made us end up at a nearly dead end which only we had an SUV so could get us through to the gate! How we will be promoting tourism in our State if we neglect such basic things, I doubt our concerned ministers or sr. govt officers ever bother to travel as common tourists & look for such lacunas in the systems which are big distress for the common Man!

Though I left behind all these thoughts as soon the gypsy entered in to the forest! So many times I have visited Kanha yet every time I enter through the gate my heart beats faster as what lies ahead, this time! It’s like Harry Potter Movies while he get on the train to Hogwarts (sorry for those who are not fans of Harry Potter, it’s his school name) via a magical railway platform, access to which is via  a brick column, you just go through it & bang, you are in a magical world! Same is the feel when you cross the gate of Kanha Park, a whole new green world welcomes you where every color of green is displayed & even the air you inhale is also green! Here in this world you forget about problems of outer world, there is no week day or weekends, deadlines to follow, calls to made, nobody asks for work schedules; yet here in forest nothing is slow or fast but everything moves at its speed & in its own way! All one has to do is become part of these greens & just feel the flow of nature & this is why one should visit forests as here you don’t know what drama will unfold in front of you in next moment. Often while moving through those Sal or the grass lands sometimes you feel nothing is happening & what a boring ride this has been but then you haven’t understood the forest is what I will say! As I have shared earlier every time forest has given me something new whenever I have visited it & not necessary that the new means something I haven’t seen earlier! Confused? Well, same thing I learn to see newly after all it’s our vision which makes the difference & vision can be new at every moment not just day or week or month, how I would have understood it had I not visited forests!

Here the grass dances differently on the tune of wind every day, even in mornings & evenings too & the animals as well birds moving on this canvas make the dance more interesting. On one morning while the sun was yet to paint the sky full red, on very first turn after entering in forest we heard a weird sound (call), the guide said sir this is jackal calling, means “tiger kahi najdik hai”! In so many years of forests yet I have never heard a jackal giving alarm call, the sound was very sharp & loud, especially on the silent morning it echoed all around. And on the road a tiger emerged, while we were getting our cameras ready even the tiger seemed to be irritated with that sound & turned back, started walking away from us. That road was of Kisli zone while we had permit of Kanha zone so all we can do is watch helplessly tiger walking away from zone but then I have experienced the jackal call, which was my gain! Had it been earlier me I would have kept cursing my luck as well the zone system which deprived me the tiger sighting from closer range but now I feel happy even though I has just a glimpse of the tiger. As now I have understood to become part of the greens & live every moment around & I think this is what forest teaches us, off course if we are ready to learn!

On the earlier day while waiting for tiger by hearing a sambhar deer alarm call we were on a bridge & suddenly a male tiger emerged out of grass along the banks of the nallah , gave me a look & walked in the thickset on other side of the bank!My camera wasn’t ready so all I could do is click its back, indeed I knew one should be ever ready in forest but then does that mean just to capture the tiger in camera? No, it means be ever ready to capture every such moment in the camera of your eyes images of which gets ever stored in the hard disk of mind, is what I have learn now! This is the reason I go back to the forests again & again & again as each time I learn to live in new way! And this is why we must conserve the places like Kanha like our personal heritage & not just that try to cultivate them around ourselves when we get back to our concrete jungle i.e. in city we live in! As indeed that piece of green may be just a small patch of greens or a big neem tree which may not give me tiger sighting but whenever I look at it, there might be a bird chirping on that neem tree or a lizard waiting for a kill on its branch or just the changing color of the leafs waving on the tune of wind blowing, that will make me part of it & my day has made even in concrete jungle. This new vision is what Kanha has gifted me this time (oh yes, how I can forget the samosa the Kanha center serves) & I will be never enough thankful to the God for this wonderful priceless gift of green vision!  

On one morning at the Khatiya gate there were number of school kids who has come to see the tiger & the gate atmosphere was abuzz with their chatting, a sound as sweet & energetic like that of birds chirping. Looking at those kid’s exited faces, I realized my face was not different than theirs, as at once I have forgotten nearly fifty years I have put behind & was as happy & exited as those kids, that’s what Kanha does to you; well do you have any other idea of ageing, better than this? Adios with this note, till I visit forests again!

Check the total drama at link below...

One more thing, at Kanha the delightful sight was, seeing most of the guides wearing “Think Green” sweaters which we gave them as our little support to the people who are in way forest protectors & I think each of us who visits Kanha like places & go back with some take away, owes something to the forests, that's why shared here!
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Lesson Named Avni !







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“Tigers, except when wounded or when man-eaters, are on the whole very good-tempered...Occasionally a tiger will object to too close an approach to its cubs or to a kill that it is guarding. The objection invariably takes the form of growling, and if this does not prove effective it is followed by short rushes accompanied by terrifying roars. If these warnings are disregarded, the blame for any injury inflicted rests entirely with the intruder"-… Jim Corbett

“Hundreds of false rumors of alleged attacks by the man-eater were brought to us, entailing endless miles of walking, but this was only to be expected, for in an area in which an established man-eater is operating everyone suspects their own shadows, and every sound heard at night is attributed to the man-eater.” … Jim Corbett

Well, no need to introduce that name to the wild lifers yet for those who are not exposed to wild life except the occasional sighting of a sparrow or bulbul (that too is rare now) in the backyard of their buildings last remaining trees in Pune & Mumbai like cities as well for those whose exposure is restricted to only news papers & TV channels & who by now must have been thinking Avani aka T 1 is name of some alien as so much publicity she has got! (Sadly post death only, which is usual in our country for e.g. with due respect Nirbhaya case). Well, for all such people, Jim Corbett was probably the best wild lifer (I never like to call him as tiger hunter, not even man eater tiger’s hunter) this country ever has witnessed, spent all life in forest in Himalayan ranges i.e. Gharwal/Kumaun & is an authority on tiger behavior & documented his experiences about tigers & forest in four wonderful books which unfortunately are more popular for his chess to kill the tigers which has become man eater. We the Indians (again with all due respect to patriots here) are always been poor in learning from history may it be ancient or even just a century back that of Corbett’s times! He has been called when a tiger or leopard turns man eater (then also with many more tigers living as well land under forests) to track it & kill it, a job in which he was master but never liked it! He could track & kill any man-eater tiger not because he was a sharp shooter or liked hunting, he could do that because he has studied the forest along with tiger thoroughly as well he has studied the people amongst with the man-eater tigers used to roam & hunt! Or unless in above two quotes he wouldn’t have been able to display his affection towards tigers as well the need of killing them when it becomes man-eater! Well, he has mentioned the causes of a tiger becoming man-eater too which we conveniently are neglecting since last nearly hundred years!

Now the stage is set for Avani the tigress in news & most of you must be knowing that she was a tigress who became man-eater i.e. started killing humans than her usual prey i.e. deer or wild buffalos so forest dept which is supposedly in charge of wild life in our State has to get rid of her, either by capturing her or killing her, ending the drama by later action i.e. killing of Avani tigress, oh her forest name was T1. Again for many who won’t understand that were there two tigresses i.e. Avani & T 1, well, mostly a tiger or tigress gets local proper name from the area it’s been taken birth or roams around or it gets name when some guide or local people starts calling it by a name they feel appropriate (which I think is the case of Avani). But forest dept can’t keep record with such names as every tiger is different biologically so after the census they name it like T1, T 2, T3 etc & these names are given by the seniority of the tiger in that particular forest i.e. there can be T1 in Kanha forest as well a T1 in Tadoba range but both T1 are different!

Sorry y for the detailing but with due respect to all die hard wild lifers whose number is very less in 120 crores of Indians, what we lack most when it comes to wild life conservation i.e. awareness of common man towards wild life in general leave apart details like above! So I thought it’s important to put the case in detail, right from tigress name. I won’t boast myself as wild life expert but I am fortunate to have much more exposure of forests, tigers, local people around the forest & yes forest dept & that’s why many of my friends has whatsapped me or mailed me that can I write my views about the entire Avani tigress killing! Again we have many experts, conservationists as well senior forest officers yet many a times a same event can be tagged as wrong or right, bad or good depending up on which side you are standing on! And with a little bit exposure of all sides related to wild life I feel what we lack most is the balanced stand ( I am referring to our rulers also especially the ministers involved in twitting as well in news papers) when something like this happens!

Now let’s see what is reason behind so much hohllah, over Avani the tigress is; she is from forests in Vidarbha region i.e. east side of our State which is, in & around Yeotmal district (incidentally most deaths by suicide of farmers, happens in Yeotmal district).  One more thing she is with cubs which are nearly eleven months old & that makes the entire event more controversial as at this age the cubs can’t survive on their own & if not captured that means sure death for them also after the death of their mom i.e. Avani. Now thing is since last two years this Avani tigress has become man-eater means as mentioned earlier she started killing humans as her food & that’s dangerous especially when she is not in reserved forests. Again for those reserved forests like Tadoba or Kanha National Parks means human movements are restricted or ban in these forests so there are less chances of a tiger becoming man-eater while the forest in which Avani was residing are habituated by humans also means she has easy access to human life. Well why she has become man-eater only she can tell us which is not possible now (wasn’t ever any ways) but issue is what we do once we know a tiger has started not just killing humans but eating them too? With due respect I am as serious wild lifer as any person who will be reading this piece yet please try to understand it’s easy to sit in your 10th floored apartment in Pune & Mumbai & write your views about how its shame to kill an innocent tiger but imagine you have a small piece of land in a village remote from any civilization, not even proper mobile net-work there (not even Geo), no electricity but your life depends on whatever you grow in your farm, so you have to go out in open & work in your farm! You have no weapon except some lathi or axe & yes you are used t work along with you wife or old mom or dad. And one more thing your small kids go to school which is one or two kilometers away from your home in your farm & there is no school bus service here so they have to walk to their school. One more thing, your home doesn’t have toilet inside the way apartments in Pune has & at night you or any of your family member has to go either walking few meters in darkness to the toilet block or in open, for nature call at night! Well, now imagine a tiger is roaming in your area & she kills humans & eats, what will be your reaction? I wonder how many of people who are shamming the govt (read forest dept) for killing Avani has actually gone there & stayed with farmers or local peoples who were living in this terror & do mind this I am not saying, the terror of a man-eater tiger Mr. Jim Corbett has described nearly eight years back in this very country, only thing is we forget history & it does repeats!

And once a tiger becomes man- eater he becomes ten times more dangerous as it’s a smart animal, a born killer for its prey! As imagine when a tiger can hunt animals as fast like deer or as strong as Indian gaur (bison is a wrong name) what chance a toothless, speedless, hornless, visionless (in dark) & strengthless animal like human can have against it as a prey? Yet there were pleas by many wild life lovers (conservationists) not to kill Avani but tranquilize her & keep in captivity. Now the doubts or rules books are being shown that a tiger neither can be tranquilized nor killed after darkness i.e. night time & Avani has been shot at night. Well, rules books are written by the humans, for the humans & Avani wasn’t a human (good for her or no one would have given a damn for her death)! When a tiger becomes man-eater it is smart enough to know that it’s better to prefers to move at night as its prey is at its weakest in dark i.e. humans! For two months after officially declaring Avani as man-eater & even Courts (well as usual every dispute in this country ends in Court i.e. judicially & Avani wasn’t exception) left decision to forest dept to kill or tranquilize Avani, entire force was searching for her & couldn’t find her as they were searching in day light. A tigress with cubs is always very cautious in her movements, even in reserved forests (apologies to tigresses Maya & Tara from Tadoba) & here she has become man-eater, just read Corbett books again how clever a tiger can become in such case! So personally I don’t think that forest dept didn’t tried to capture her as well tranquilize though even after doing that her survival in Zoo would have been difficult as seldom a regular man-eater has known to become comfortable in captivity. Also maintaining such main-eater tiger is also always a risk as it will keep seeing its prey all the time in front of its eyes & first thing such tiger will try is attack the nearest human which would have been constant threat to the Zoo staff! And still the issue of the two cubs would have been there as we all saw how much efforts were required even to sight Avani & here we are talking about tranquilizing three tigers at a time! And do mind eleven months old tiger cub may not be able to hunt but it can surely injure seriously to any human! So the risk was always there to capture all this lot & this is where conflict is happening between forest dept & all others!

I repeat, I don’t support killing of Avani or any tiger or even a snake but issue of being right or wrong does changes depending up one which side you are on & unfortunately humans rule this world not tigers is a bitter fact to which even forest dept is not exception! As scene must be there that any person in khaki (uniform color of forest as well police dep’t) would have been thrashed by the mob, had they not done something on the front of stopping Avani’s terror! And then as the second quote of Corbett terror can lead to serious rumors especially when three man –eaters tigers are roaming in an area over some hundred square kilometers with thousands of humans also along, the mess it must have created we just can’t imagine!

Now coming to the controversy of appointing a sharp shooter (read hunter) named some Shafath Ali & his Son Asgar! Well, how many of us can take the job of killing a man-eater tigress which has killed nearly thirteen people for sure, injured equal numbers as killed along many cattle amidst human settlements & yes which roams mostly at nights! Sorry, leave killing the tigress, try catching her alive by shooting a dart at her & tranquilize her! To my knowledge the dart has to be fired at least from twenty meters distance, which a tigress on charge can cover in fraction of seconds’ not even minutes, interesting, isn’t it! As even if you are a paid veterinary doctor affiliated to forest dept for this job but how many are skilled to do it as well how many times in your career you get to use such skill as firing a dart at a charging man-eater tigress, will you do it my wild life lover friends as I won’t even dream of doing it leave trying, is I can surely say for myself! About finding her at night & killing her, here one more thing I will like to ask, the entire forest dept was combing that area for months with news tracking. And if post sun set, news comes about sighting of the man eater tigress which you are desperately searching for, what you will do as an operation in charge? Tell the news barer to keep watch on the tigress till morning or keep following her with dart gun till the morning sun comes up! Sorry if I am sarcastic but I am really curious to know what your or mine course of action would have been as officer in charge in such case!

Well I think all above paragraphs might have made you think I am happy & satisfied with Avani’s death by gunshot, well I am not but ask the very same question to the concerned forest officers & see what they answer! They too are humans & their job was, is & will be to protect tigers along with all other species in which humans also comes! Remember, Avani wasn’t first tigress which became man-eater & shot dead, the important aspect we need to look on is, she can be the last tiger for dying so & what we will be doing for this outcome, is what I will ask to every person & not just to some wild life lovers! Few decades back there were just twelve hundred odd tigers left in this once tiger rich country; with everybody’s efforts the figuer is nearly doubled today yet in just last one year nearly fifty plus tigers died in this very country, what have we done on that front? Today the cry is over one Avani, as she got shot by the very dept (read forest) which was supposedly to be protecting her but then its only due to this forest dept she survived till she can give birth to two cubs, isn’t this we forgetting? In this country, tigers die on highways under speeding vehicles, tigers die on railway tracks passing through forests without any barriers around the tracks, tigers die due to electrocuting in the fencing around the farms, tigers die due to poaching, tiger die due to mob lynching as poor fellow has to come to village in open day light for search of water in summers, tigers die due to its fights with other tiger  over territory as we the humans are every day encroaching on tiger’s homes for our needs(I refrained using word greed) & yet nobody does anything about it! But just today we killed one tiger that too from pressure from another group of humans only who are not from Pune or Mumbai, we are trying to paint entire system as tiger killer, isnt something is seriously wrong? And if it’s a wrong act then it’s not just forest dept but every one of us is a tiger killer & eventually one day we will kill every specie not just tigers, without even using a gun but just making them die by their own fate which we are writing for them!

Avani, all I wish is your death won’t go in vain as even after your this much hyped death we the humans doesn’t learn that it’s not mistake of some govt dept, its mistake of entire society of we the humans that we don’t know how to protect a tiger or even a sparrow, then indeed we don’t deserve the tigers, is the harsh reality, God Bless Tigers!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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