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Thread: The legend of Manas- Indian One-horned Rhinos

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    Default The legend of Manas- Indian One-horned Rhinos

    "I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained
    I stand and look at them long and long.
    They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
    They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
    They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
    Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things
    ." - WALT WHITMAN.

    I read this poem in the foreword of the book named “Beast and man in India”. And it is a fact that they all are living peacefully in a self-sufficient manner. They never have any grudge over the uncertainty in their daily lives and the day to day competitions in their lives. They never start lying after they get up in the morning. Neither they shed any tears for the sin they commit in their lives. They don’t show any bits of extravaganza for any Gods. None of them are dissatisfied with their lives. They don’t run after the material wealth as we do. But this pursuit of material wealth is what keeps our true peace of mind and happiness at bay.

    Every time I see the Rhinos this poem comes to my mind. They seem to be very similar to the “Sages” who are elaborately described and depicted in the scriptures; mostly, if not all. He has no Gods and does not pursue to find one either. The vast expansion of the existence and its complicacies are mostly outside the boundaries of his mind. His life which is guided and dictated by his mind is very much like what poet WHITMAN has described in his poem. They seem to have attained the life of a sage who have renounced all the wealthy possessions even though they are living earthly lives. On the other hand the humans are immersed their lives in sensual enjoyment, hoarding material wealth, in vice and virtue and in physical comforts. But the destiny of the lives of all the wild animals now are laying in the hands of this humankind only. Was this thing inevitable? Things should not have been the way it is now as per how the earth has come to its maturity and as per the law of nature

    The history of the one horned Rhinos in the Indian sub-continent is a glorious one. In the fourteenth century A.D. their approximate population was more than 0.45 million. Timur Lung was known to have hunted Rhinos in Kashmiri regions. These Rhinos lived along the foothills of the Himalayas from the present day Pakistan in the west to the present day Myanmar in the east. There were vast riverine grasslands in the basins of all the rivers of this sub-continent except for those in the south India. They lived in those areas. Their number have been fast dwindling in the past five hundred years. Except in the north eastern part of India and some north Indian states these One Horned Rhinos are not to be found anywhere in the world. Their present day population stands at approximately 3500. Since the last seventy to eighty years after a lot of efforts and implementation of different wildlife conservation laws this number was prevented from coming down. Should it have happened like this?

    In my opinion, the manner in which we spearheaded the attack on them in the last five hundred years, it is a wonder that they have not yet become extinct by now. Starting from the Mughal Empire there have come an onset of the agricultural revolutions from the Punjab in the west to the Gangetic river basins in the north. Even the river basins of the central India was not outside the purview of this agricultural revolutions. Most of the alluvial grasslands by the banks of the rivers which were meant for the grazing fields of these one horned Rhinos were categorically converted into agricultural lands. As a result, the whole population of them were wiped out from the western, central and northern part of India. Then came the British Raj. During the last one hundred years of the British Raj the remaining part of the north eastern India where still some Rhinos lived were ransacked.
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