India now has 2,967 tigers and has achieved its target for 2022, this a moment to celebrate and rejoice, it’s almost rectifying all the mistakes of years neglect and blatant violation of nature. Extremely positive that government and conservationist have taken the right steps.
India and tigers have a long association, goddess Durga has Tiger as her vehicle, representing freedom from fear. Even if we have to remove eh religious context, tigers have been an integral part of many tribes and communities in India, worshiped for what they are.
North Eastern Naga Tribe, The Nagas believe that man and tiger are the sons of the same mother. The Warli Tribe consider tigers to be a God. When a Warli hears a tiger roar, or spots tiger pug marks, he will scream “Paoona Aala” meaning the guest has come. In Sanguem and Sattari Taluka regions of Goa, there are several forest-dwelling tribes which worship tigers as God. People of Sunderbans worship the Tiger as the Lord of the South. The Panwar Clan of Central India worships the tiger as Baghdeo. The Tulunadu tribe of South Kanara district of Karnataka worship spirits or bhooth. Baghels of Rewa Madhya Pradesh literally means the Tiger clan is a race which considers themselves to be the descendants of the tiger.
You can read many more antidotes of tigers in across India communities, from far north east to central and south of India, tigers were an integral part of our life.
So what happened, a little research will bring the tales of the massacre of we did and made tigers an indigenous animal, we virtually killed the magnificent creation on account greed and blatant display of power.
According to records, there were some 80,000 tigers slaughtered between 1875-1925. As per nationalgeographic.org, India’s tigers have been in the cross hairs for centuries, with elite safaris dating back to the early 16th century. They rose out of Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar’s passion for the big game: He began a tradition of royal hunting, or shikar, that was carried on by Mughal rulers until the dynasty fell in 1857 and this was followed up by British Raj along with “Princely States.” Kings and lords, generals, and Maharajas.
Jehangir had a minute account kept of his prolific hunting over a thirty-six-year period between 1580 and 1616 during which time he is said personally to have killed 17,167 animals, including eighty tigers (Ali 31: 841–42). Likewise, seventeenth-century Italian visitor Niccolao Manucci wrote that Shah Jahan’s “ordinary amusement was tiger hunting” (qtd. in Ali 31: 843).
“After ascending the throne in 1911, King George V and his retinue traveled north to Nepal, slaying 39 tigers in 10 days. Colonel Geoffrey Nightingale shot more than 300 tigers in India”
“Newly-crowned Rewa kings in Central India thought it auspicious to slay 109 tigers after their coronation”
Britons tried to emulate various Mughal emperors for whom tiger hunting was an element of kingship, but on the way to presuming themselves the “New Mughals” so were the act of princely states of India.
Things would never change unless Indira Gandhi stepped and took a stand in 1970 and banned tiger hunting, quite surprising know the tiger hunting was a tourist attraction in until 1960.
Centuries of repeated assault and mass killing of tigers are making them rare and this revival is in the right direction. I strongly believe the renaissance of our social fabric, culture, environment is round the corner, all we need to is focused attempt. Seeing the progress on tiger conservation should make us feel good. Goddess Durga will be happy!