Nature’s Disciple: An illuminating book by a forest and wildlife expert

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Anyone and everyone concerned even an iota about the protection and conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems, forest and wildlife should read “Nature’s Disciple”. It’s a pathbreaking and illuminating book by Suhas Kumar, who has retired as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests from the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.

This book is set in central Indian forests, largely in Madhya Pradesh-the torch bearer of wildlife management in our country that also has relevant reference to the forests of Vidarbha region of the neighbouring Maharashtra. The book has arrived as a breath of fresh air and candour at a time when some of the wild animals, specifically the leopards and tigers, in the present context are being viewed by the ill-informed and uncaring section of the society as inimical to the lives of people. While incidents of strife are usually reported from rural India, some of the urban sprawls that fail to rein in their poorly planned expansion across the existing forested tracts on their doorstep, which has been the case of the MP state capital Bhopal, are no exception.

While painting the lives of wild creatures with delicate strokes of an artist’s brush, the pages, without breaking stride, deal with men who have wrested as large slices of the natural areas as possible from being lost to the relentless march of development, encroachments, and other human activities. There are lessons in the highest levels of conservation leadership without hiding the soft belly of the onerous tasks.
There is narrative of large predators in trouble-leopards and tigers; of the local extinction of the large-hearted gentleman, the tiger-so christened by the redoubtable Jim Corbett-in Panna Tiger Reserve a decade ago and the tiger’s remarkable resurrection in the very same area. Of daring experiments, investigations, innovations, and establishment of field-based skills, all carried to their logical conclusion-success. The reader is placed right in the middle of the action! What is more, there is no hiding of problems and some failures.

Out of his 35 years in the Indian Forest Service, Suhas Kumar spent 23 years managing, supervising, and guiding the management and training the officers and staff of national parks, sanctuaries, and tiger reserves of the state.

Suhas Kumar was the Director of Pench National Park (now a tiger reserve) for almost five and a half years (April 1985 to August 1990) during its formative period. He headed the Wildlife Extension Faculty at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, from December 1990 to April 1996 and contributed to the growth of the training capabilities of WIL In the field, he has been an initiator of several innovative measures that have contributed immensely to strengthen the management of wildlife in Madhya Pradesh. Some of his major contributions are the establishment of regional and divisional wildlife rescue squads, tiger strike force-a trained and equipped wildlife crime control set-up, and the school of wildlife forensic and health and the first non-invasive mass capture and relocation of hard ground barasingha. He had guided the scientific management of habitats, especially grasslands, and revamped and streamlined the MP tiger foundation society and Park development fund.

Suhas is a trained wildlife manager, a law graduate, and holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Ecology discipline in the field of ecotourism in protected areas. He has also acquired some knowledge and training in nature interpretation and ecotourism from the US, the UK, and Australia. Presently, he is a member of Chhattisgarh State Board for Wildlife, WWF-India’s State Advisory Board for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the Governing Body and Governing Council of National Centre for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal. He is also a member of the Delhi Biodiversity Society. Earlier, he had served as the chairman of the Research Advisory Committee of the M.P. State Biodiversity Development Board and member of Madhya Pradesh State Board for Wildlife for two terms. He was the chairman of one of the evaluation teams constituted by NTCA in 2017-18 for 13 tiger reserves of the country. His write-ups, research papers, and case studies have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, and web media. Wildlife Management, Ecotourism Planning, Participatory Forest Management, Wildlife Rescue, Wildlife Health, Wildlife Crime Investigation, and Interpretation & Conservation Education have been his areas of interest, and his contribution to each of these aspects has been uniquely useful.

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Indian hockey team is a potential podium finisher at the Tokyo Olympics: Former Captain Gurbux Singh

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Former captain Gurbux Singh feels that the current Indian hockey team is a potential podium finisher at the Tokyo Olympics.

Writing for Hockey India’s Flashback Series, the veteran defender who has an Olympic Gold from 1964 and a Bronze from 1968 said that he feels sad that India hasn’t made the semi- finals since 1980 Olympics.

 “We haven’t had a semi- final berth in almost four decades. I was there in Sydney to watch the match; we lost a great chance when we drew with Poland. Same thing happened in Los Angeles when we couldn’t get a draw or a win against Germany.

” But I think this time we have a great chance. This team has been doing well against all teams and I hope and pray they go beyond the quarter finals,” .

Now 58 years after that epic Gold medal winning feat in Tokyo, the Manpreet Singh-led squad will play in the same city this summer Olympics and Gurbux Singh believes the team is capable of recreating that historic podium finish. aid, 

“I wish them all the luck; they have been doing really well in the last few years. They are capable of winning in Tokyo. I think for me, as the current India Coach has said, the first target should be the quarter final. In the past years, I think after the 80s especially, we have been so near and yet so far away from a medal.

About the weather , he opined that humid weather in Tokyo should not hamper India’s chances. 

“When we played the Olympics in Tokyo, it was in the month of October, and it wasn’t as humid but there was some rain.

” It was India and Pakistan who would end up having issues when it rained because we were never used to playing in the slush, but European countries were used to playing in the rain. However, this time the conditions in Tokyo will be challenging for European teams but it should not be an issue for India,”

Recalling the the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games where India beat arch nemesis Pakistan 1-0 in the Final.he said “I still remember, the Final was delayed because the Bronze medal match between Spain and Australia went into extra time and then sudden death. 

“We were all warmed-up and waiting, as usual, there was so much tension that we were using the rest room every ten minutes. One could see players from both Pakistan and India were going up and down the dressing room,” .

He opined that the pressure was on the Pakistanis as they were the defending Champions. “I believe they were more nervous than us. India didn’t have anything to lose but the crown was at stake for them. 

Few minutes into the match there was a bit of a scuffle between Asad Malik and Prithipal Singh , and the match got delayed a little. 

“There was some exchange of words before the match commenced again. After that interruption, the match was cool and there was no problem.”

In front of a packed stadium , India took the lead in the 41st minute of the match through a penalty stroke scored by Mohinder Lal. 

“We missed a few good chances when Haripal Kaushik slipped at the point of scoring and then Prithipal had a penalty corner in the second half, shot hit their left full back Munir Dar on the foot and we got a penalty stroke. Mohinder Lal scored that goal. 

The last five minutes Pakistan played really well and for us, goalkeeper Shankar Laxman saved two corners.”

“The last few minutes felt like the longest hours, it felt as though the clock had stopped. Finally, when the last whistle was blown, people from the galleries like Milkha Singh, Raja Karni Singh and the whole Indian contingent jumped into the ground and started doing bhangra,” recalled Gurbux who led the team to the Gold in the Asian Games in 1966.

“But honestly at that stage I did not feel any excitement. When you are looking for that particular moment for years and finally it happens, everything is drained out of you, and it takes some time for it to sink in.

” It was only when the Indian flag went up, the national anthem was played, and tears rolled down my cheeks. I think that occasion it set in that we had actually won,” he added


Explosives dropped on IAF station in Jammu; drone used

Newsroom24x7 Network

Jammu: Indian Air Force on Sunday 27 June confirmed that two low intensity explosions early Sunday morning in the technical area of Jammu Air Force Station. One caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area.

According to unconfirmed reports, drone had been used to drop the explosives during the intervening night of 26 and 27 June. Terrorist angle and a Pakistani plot is not being ruled out. All aspects are now being investigated.

Swimmer Sajan Prakash qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Harpal Singh Bedi 

New Delhi: Sajan Prakash became the first Indian swimmer to make the ‘A’ qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics recording the fastest time ever clocked by an Indian in 200m butterfly as he touched pads at 1:56.38 in Sette Colli, Rome – a FINA accredited meet. The ‘qualifying standard was 1:56.48. 

Sajan had clocked 1:56.96 in the previous meet in Belgrade, Serbia last week but was well-tapered and confident to make the mark in Rome.  “I have worked very hard for this, and I was confident with the way I had trained. This was my last chance, and I knew I had to do it here. I had come so close to the qualifying mark in the previous meets” he said.

In other races Kenisha Gupta clocked best Indian performance of 57.35 in 100m freestyle for women. On Friday, Srihari Nataraj missed the A qualifying mark by 0.05 seconds, having touched the pads at 53.90 in 100m backstroke . The ‘A’ cut for this event is 53.85 seconds. 

Swimming Federation of India  (SFI) Secretary General  Monal Chokshi, hailed Sajan Prakash’s performance calling it ‘ a historic moment for Indian swimming,”
“We are all thrilled with Sajan’s performance in Sette Colli, Rome which happened to be the last event to make the ‘A’ qualifying mark. Sajan’s achievement has broken the glass ceiling in Indian swimming which will inspire the generations to come. This stupendous result has come despite the several challenges posed by the pandemic.”

Virendra Nanavati, Executive Director, SFI said, “We are very happy that an Indian swimmer has finally hit the world stage with an ‘A’ qualifying time for the Olympic Games. This has been a dream and it has come true today. It has been one of the best build-ups to an Olympic Games in the history of Indian swimming with as many as six swimmers making the ‘B’ cut and this is the first-time multiple swimmers have come so close to the Olympic A cut.”