Inspite of the gloomy grey skies of late July, the members of the school library’s book club patiently awaited the arrival of Ms. Neha Sinha , the author of this month’s Book club meeting.
Ms. Neha Sinha is a wild life conservationist who works on environmental policy and local empowerment. She has taught environmental politics at Delhi University and the Wildlife Institute of India.
We started by talking about the one of the most beautiful big cats, the tiger. As we may know, the tiger is India’s national animal, and symbolises strength, ferociousness and agility.
A beautiful yet misunderstood being, as explained by the author. It is often misunderstood to be violent and aggressive as it hunts brutally for its prey. What we forget is the animals don’t have the same sense of morality that we do , and that their first priority is to survive and protect.
Ms. Neha recalled an incident where she encountered a tiger named Sundari upfront, and came back with not a single scratch but with an experience that she would cherish for the rest of her life. She also shared the different narratives she used while penning down this beautiful moment frozen in time.
This lead her to talk about the books ‘Walking is a way of knowing’ , and ‘Speaking to an Elephant’. Both of these books are written by Madhuri Ramesh , Manish Chandi and are illustrated in ink by Matthew Frame. They are set in a Kadar forest of the Western Ghats. The narratives used in these books are those of the tribals and animals who reside together In harmony in the forest.
We then proceeded to discuss the various animals and birds in the forests , some of them being snakes, which are reptiles, mammals such as the elephants, and birds such as the Hornbill and the Toucan.
We talked about their habitat , their behaviour and the impact we have on their lives. We often pay attention to events, but not to the ignorant processes that lead to these event. This is rightly emphasised in the journalistic compilation of reports in the book Everybody loves a good drought by Mr. P. Sainath . By the time we see the chinks in the armour, the damage is already done.
Ms. Neha Sinha has given us a deep perspective into a much deeper forest, with facts combined with cleverly woven words, metaphors and narratives.