Sunday, February 2, 2020

Monu Dubey; a Story of Hope for the Forests!





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“It’s not from where you have come, it’s where you intend to go is what matters most”... Cobe Bryant.

Well, what better tribute I can give to the name which was living legend not just because of he was Super Star of Basket ball but a great athlete & an inspiring personality which ignited millions of kids across the world with his attitude towards not just game but life! It said about Cobe that he was the first to hit the court (basketball ground) & last to leave even in practice but that’s what makes you great! And when my sharing is about one young man which may not be as famous as Cobe but does it always needed to make big on the scale of name, fame or money to become great! Certainly not, as even the smallest acts or achievements can make you feel great & that’s what matters most isn’t it?
Well, won't stretch your curiosity much, the name I am referring is some twenty six odd years old Monu Dubey! He is related to wild life & he is not any world class wild life photographer or researcher or forest officer, neither he run any NGO regarding wild life conservation & he is not even associated with any “Save Tiger” activity as a volunteer! He is a wild life tour operator who owns a small resort on the border of Pench National Park in village Turia, MP! Many will say what’s big or great in it, there must such thousands of Monu’s all along the country’s forests & what make them great as they are earning money by selling wild life rather isn’t the wild life tourism is a disturbance to the wild life, let the poor animals live in peace! And it’s not just wild life conservationist (well, there are many versions of this species actually) but the system which is supposedly work to protect forests i.e. Forest Dept, many officers of the same also thinks on these lines & I don’t blame any of them & we haven’t yet understood the concept of conservation of wild life in first place! Sorry, my this statement will look a bit bold &  leave apart Monu , many of you will doubt on my capacity or ability to comment about wild life conservation in first place & I don’t blame you for that also! Indeed I am a civil engineer & a builder by profession but then what a civil engineer or a builder does, can you answer this question? I know simple answer is a civil engineer builds buildings, structures which causes maximum damage to the wild life & a builder just makes money out of such buildings! Hundred percent right but other side of this answer is its conservation of the worst species on this earth, yes we the humans as for whom a civil engineer builds all these buildings & to whom the builder sells these buildings & makes money, now answer that also guys!  Answer is we the humans buy all the homes & use the structures like bridges, industries, dams which are build by the civil engineer who helps in conservations of humans species, isn’t it? So, who better than me can comment when the subject is conservation as may it be a tiger or a leopard or a jackal or a frog or a fish or a flamingo or a maldhok (list is endless) or may it be humans, rules of conservation are same & they are give enough space & food to the species along with some privacy & the species survives on its own, simple funda, isn’t it? But when applicable to any other species than humans it’s not that simple as apart from humans no other species is privileged with civil engineers or builders or has industries build to make the products for life’s comforts etc etc & this is why Monu is great!

Sure you must be confused, where the track is going; well let me tell you something more about Monu Dubey & then will explain logic of this off-track sharing! Some eight years back I used to see a young, lanky & smart boy as a driver in Pench National Park & going by the age he was very enthu (to show the tiger to the tourists) & a times reckless also when its tiger sighting to his tourists & has been paid for the recklessness by the park authorities! But then he must be hardly eighteen years old then & just started his career with wild life as a gypsy driver & at that age we all are enthu & reckless but then Monu was something more than that! He was confident & loved his job, not just because he used to get paid but for what he was doing i.e. making people see a tiger. Again many won’t like it as wild life is not just tiger sighting, yes I know that stuff that every species in jungle is equally important & so yet a fact remains 90% tourists comes to forests to see the tiger & I see no wrong in it as our govt’s tourism dept’s also advertise (read encash) tourism on the tiger only! As first job by me is to make the city people to come to forests & then only they will like the forests & then follows the conservation part, is a sheer logic. And for that as I always say, the first timers in any tiger park (forest) must get to see a tiger so their lover, affection, tempo, and interest whatever you call it, to visit the forests gets conserved & indeed tiger has that magic in it!

And Monu knew this fact & that’s why I see no wrong in his enthusiasm which sometimes goes overboard to make his tourists see the tiger & then he was too young also then. Years passed & the young Monu started capturing images of tigers first & then the forests as well other species too & being an internet media genre, he understood importance of sharing these images with outer world too. So even I wasn’t visiting Pench often the FB platform kept me updates of Pench as well Monu. And then the young boy who is getting matured knew just driving gypsy as  driver won’t take him where he wanted to go & slowly he started making friends with tourists & for that being in touch even when they have are not in Pench is important & with internet & social media that’s possible, all one needed to use that which Monu did! And then he was just a driver so if the rooster system doesn’t makes his name (well, rooster system is by which turn by turn the drivers & guides get to serve tourists so as all of them can get assured income) he won’t be able to go in the forest & that’s hurdle for his ambitions. So he targeted owning a gypsy by himself & then come next step i.e. owning a stay place for the tourists (read as hotel or resort). I don’t know much about Monu’s family background except he is local Turia boy (village of entry gate of Pench) but sure he wasn’t having much of wealth inherited except a small piece of land near forest gate in Turia. Most important aspect for the hard core wildlifers for their forest trips is a clean, decent place near to entry gate as that make commuting to the gypsy’s’ as gate easy & saves time as well if you enter the forest first then chances of big animals (read as tiger, leopard, sloth bear) are more as their main movement time is early hours of morning. And from that point also Monu’s place was perfect as luxury isn’t a big item on agenda of wild life photographers but convenience & cleanliness is, which Monu knew with his exposure to many wild life tourists. And that’s exactly he induced while making his resort which has become instantly popular among wild life photographers. Though I had not been to Pench yet when I decided this winter my first call was to Monu only & right from arranging my pick up from Nagzira to booking safaris to dropping us back at Nagpur airport, everything was arranged by Monu with perfection & most importantly he understands communication promptness & its value a very rare aspect in our fellow countrymen especially those who are in service industry!  And I was happy the young boy has grownup now as he couldn’t come with us on any ride (safari) as he is busy in managing many things on cell phone & on net. And now no more he has to click wild life photographs on cell phone or a basic digital camera but has nice modern cameras with 300mm plus lenses & has clicked some real great shots, one of which has been won award in Sanctuary magazine also! The resort with ten plus rooms is nice & cozy & mostly full & in total Monu has provided employment to nearly some thirty odd youngsters from nearby villages around Pench forest in this process!

Frds, it’s not the gypsys’ Monu owns or the resort he has built but this last aspect i.e. employing the local boyz of the Monu’s journey which makes him great in my eyes. As you travel towards central part of India from Pune & post Aurangabad crossing Nagpur & most of MP, every youngster (despite of gender) wants to head towards Pune or Mumbai thinking that’s only option left for their career. On such background here is a boy who didn’t joined the rat race of running towards the cities but opted to stay where he belonged & survived & flourished, that’s great! Or there are those who want to join govt service & no govt can provide job to every individual of this population is a fact. And then those who can neither go to Pune nor get a govt job, the only option (for most) left is keep doing some petty things or surrender to illegal trades. And when you are residing near forest like Pench then we all know what kind of illegal trade it will be, right from poaching of animals to forest cutting to illegal fishing, there are many avenues available for such youngsters & there are entities also who are happy to show some rupees to these youngsters & make them surrender to jump on wrong side of the law! And then once you jump on wrong side of the law, then there is no coming back is a hard fact of life which most learns too late! What Monu has done in Turia , Pench in that journey lays the conservations’ solution; as only if the people around the forests survives happily with the forests then they only will make the forests & the animals within survive & grow; and for that we need more & more Monu Dubeys' around every piece of forest! It’s very easy to sit in city like Pune or Bangalore with a fat salary package & buy some fancy gears of photography & click wonderful images & get applauds for it & call ourselves wildlifer or saviors of wild life but its youngster like Monu are the real saviors of the wilderness as they decide to stay with the forests & make both of them survive. And such stories must be shared by not just few wild life lovers but by forest dept’s of all the States as well “Mai Baap” govt’s HR Ministry as this is what we need , an entrepreneur with business mind & heart of a wild lifer as or else do mind the conservation will remain just a conversation!

This mid February 20, Monu will start his new innings as a married man & what better marriage gift I could have given him than my this sharing, which I wanted actually to give him  a lot earlier but then as in forests they says, every moment has its own timing, so this is! All the best Monu Dubey, don’t stop here as your job has just started, mind it as today the threat of extinction looms on not just tiger but every single species of birds, tress, animals & fish but we the humans & people like you are the Hope, is all I will say!
Monu Dubey : 09685770170

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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2 comments:

  1. Hello Sanjay Sir,
    It was really nice to see a writeups on Monu Dubey, who is actually a good friend of mine as well!
    Off late, it was on my mind to write a nice blog about him but cos of workload, I couldn't even start a line about him till now. It's was so nice to know that there are also others who thinks the way I think about others hardwork and exposing their talent and passion to the world. I am also really looking forward to blog about him! By the way, the twist that you made in the beginning and in the middle one was just amazing! I have got many ideas now, thanks for that.... I will follow up with your writeups very soon.

    Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Ezung, its so nice to know for me also that so many others admire people like Monu which are actually our hope! And thanks a lot for ur kind words, I blog/ write just what comes to my mind..felt great to have such praise from u.. plz share link of ur blog would love to ho through... stay in touch.. smd156812@gmail.com/09822037109 for whatsap..sanjay

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Sanjay