ranthambore reserve

DAY 1548(i)

DAY 1548(i)

 

Khem Villas, Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore Reserve, Rajasthan

July 14, 2012                Sat 10:51 PM

 

NDTv has taken over this entire hotel facility for their campaign ‘Save our Tigers’ and it is a sight you will never forget. It is complete madness !! The complexities of broadcast television, the urgency of timings and feeds and cuts and fade ins. The screaming and shouting of the time left, the co ordination with Delhi studios and the anchor on sight here. The pre show shoot and the introduction to the different clips, the adverts that go out … an endless operation of such magnitude, it will be difficult to understand what the heck is happening inside just one of their control rooms. Multiple switches of different hues and colors, blinking and to be pressed, rods and levers to be pushed to fade in the next program, instructions being shouted out at the speed of knots, an entire wall full of plasma, and all this for one program that shall air live tomorrow at 9AM till the 9PM of the day !!

But remarkably, what needs to be paid attention to is that it is being managed and operated by women – 90% of them !! And … I am told when the station started, the average age of those in command was 25 years !

This is modern India. This is women power. This is awesome !!

Those working in there were all the age of my daughter Shweta and less, coming close on to the age of my grand children.

It has been not just a great experience for me, but a moment of immense pride ! May they prosper ever and continue to assert themselves in the years to come. The time is not too far away when women shall rule the world, taking over from the men, if they have not already !

 

Allow me to show you what I mean –

the arrival welcome .. garlands flowers over the ‘Great Gatsby’ ..

being my own photographer … wide angle, into the woods ..


 

And … all the astonishing ladies, correcting, teaching, applauding after I pressed the right button .. ahh ! what a relief i got it right !!

 

Is it not a sight of great delight !

 

So now the brain tires as must it should. The strain of travel and limited sleeping hours. The delight at having met those that have worked tirelessly in the preservation of the Tiger – villagers that have voluntarily agreed for a re location to give the big cat more space. The RRU’s or Rapid Response Units that spring into action when ever there is an emergency of either a poaching incident, or man animal confrontation. These units that have through our campaign been financed by what we collected the last time, are the culmination of a concerted effort made by some very committed individuals !!

 

Love to all … get some rest and be happy within …

 

Amitabh Bachchan

DAY 1549

Khem Villas, SawaiMadhopur, Ranthambore Reserve, Rajasthan

July 15,  2012                     Sun 11 : 30 PM

I would like to consider myself as an aware citizen of my country, but I must confess that having spent time with two campaigns on the ‘Save Our Tigers’ over the last two years with NDTv have demonstrated how little I knew about tigers and their conservation. The issues that exist, the complications that present themselves both with the big cat and those that work to save it. The environment, the poachers, boundaries, buffer zones, core areas, protection forces, government and legal compulsions, snare traps, sale of tiger body parts, China, smuggling across borders, tourism and its controls, re location of those that inhabit land within tiger domain and their needs, breeding, transferring the animal to other reserves, the restrained landed areas where excessive tigers can create problems of them moving beyond their stipulated boundaries and causing man-animal confrontations. Behavioral patterns of the big cat, its relationship with others of its kin, its cubs and their protection from their own parents who often kill them, marking their territory and protecting it from other tigers that may stray into theirs. A whole wealth of information and debates and promises from those that stand on authority in different states of our land.

The entire population of tigers in India is half of the entire population of tigers in the world and the importance of its protection therefore. How saving a tiger saves forests, environment, water and other animals that roam the jungles. And if they are saved then how mankind survives. And most importantly to make this generation of the youth and the young to understand the importance of the tigers existence, for, as many expressed, they would not like to introduce their grandchildren to the tiger through pictures only.

Just so many interesting facets of this very important campaign and how it shall affect all of us in time.

The contact made with specialists, their point of view and their dedication to the cause. The finer points that they educate us with. The support given by those in power and getting them to come up live on national television and listen in to our questions and to find them so conversant with the problems and matters concerning the big cat … just an entire day of non stop information, opinions and ideas of how we as a nation need to look after this most important pride of our country.

Alongside all the activity of course was the drive to attract donations from viewers and those that are sympathetic to the cause. To be able to collect as much as we could in cash to be able to provide in a very small manner the essentials required by the guards that are equipped with an apology of weaponry against the more sophisticated arsenal of the rampant poachers that flourish and are a source of all that is destroying the lives of this beautiful animal. And … surprisingly the connect with those are involved in drug peddling and the supply of unlicensed arms. The sale of the parts of the dead tiger forms a ready market, particularly in China for medicinal purposes and the money accumulated by these poachers being used for drugs and arms. That after drugs and arms it is tiger body parts that is the largest smuggled commodity in the world. Alarming and so dangerous !

In all an entire day and night filled with the most informative facts on the tiger ! Unforgettable, and so filled with emotion !

And of course not to take anything away from the most dedicated and hard working men and women, mostly women, that conducted this exercise in almost military like proficiency, without any glitches, or if their were any, to have not allowed it to percolate beyond the control room !!

When the women do take over the world, which is not an improbability in the not too distant future, I can assure you we shall be in safe hands !!

Its back to the grind and reality and the concrete tomorrow and that is a pity. Being in close proximity to all that spells peace and calm and then to be re located, to use tiger preservation lingua franca, is not something that most welcome. But …

More tomorrow …

And for the moment … love

Amitabh Bachchan