Thursday, May 20, 2010

37. Curiosity killed the cat

Curiously, no one knows what to do with the number 1411 that has been flashed all across. Presumably, it is about engaging the consuming class in protecting the big cat. Quite tough to imagine if the consuming class protects anything but it's `self-interest'! Isn't the National Tiger Conservation Authority, set up with much fanfare some years ago, supposed to do just that? One would think so but reports indicate otherwise! Ever since the authority came into being one of the tiger reserves in the country, Panna, has been emptied of the big cats.

The picture outside the tiger reserves can be even more daunting. Far from winning accolades, the man who had actually spotted the tiger for the first time in the forests of Goa was reprimanded for his persistance of having actually seen a `big cat'. Till the tiger was alive, the concerned forest department did everything possible to prove that that was not a tiger. But no sooner was it authoritatively confirmed that the dead remains of the poached animal were that of a tiger, all hell broke lose on our innocent campaigner who was declared a poacher instead. It was indeed a lifetime of an experience for `our hero' to escape from the clutches of the paper tigers.

But why would the forest officials not rejoice at sighting a tiger? Had it been officially accepted that that indeed was a tiger, the entire area would have come under a tiger reserve and the multi-million dollar mining industry in Goa would have come to a standstill. In one of his recent interviews, the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said in no less terms that `links between forest department and mining lobbies cannot be denied'.

Now I know that `until the tiger has his own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story'.