Tiger, tiger burning bright
The lord of the jungle loves the company of the high and mighty. Thus no wonder some of the most known tiger lovers in this country have been people with most eclectic taste. One such tiger lover was S P Sinha. A bold businessman and a solemn honcho during work, Satyadev Prakash Sinha galvanised into a wildlife enthusiast in his time to spare. The book under review is tribute to Sinha the nature photographer, not the nation’s top cement manufacturer.
Sinha loved to click the majestic Bengal Tigers in their natural habitats. Besides, he took awe-inspiring photographs of deer, wild boars, antelopes and exotic birds. For his “shooting” trips, Tadoba National Park near Nagpur was his spot. To be company of the tigers he built for himself a forest lodge.
Tadoba is Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district is state’s oldest and largest national park. Total area of the reserve is 625.4 square kilometres. This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955 with an area of 116.55 square kilometres (45.00 sq mi) and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary created in 1986 with an area of 508.85 square kilometres. The reserve also includes 32.51 square kilometres (12.55 sq mi) of protected forest and 14.93 square kilometres of other areas. Densely forested hills form the northern and western boundary of the tiger reserve. The elevation of the hills ranges from 200 m (660 ft) to350 m (1,150 ft).
To the southwest is the 300 acres Tadoba lake which acts as a buffer between the park's forest and the extensive farmland which extends up to Irai water reservoir. This lake is a perennial water source which offers good habitat for Muggar crocodiles to thrive. Other wetland areas within the reserve include the Kolsa lake and Andhari river. Tadoba reserve covers the Chimur Hills, and the Andhari sanctuary covers Moharli and Kolsa ranges. It’s bounded on the northern and the western side by densely forested hills. Thick forests are relieved by smooth meadows and deep valleys as the terrain slopes from north to south. Cliffs, talus and caves provide refuge for several animals. The two forested rectangles are formed of Tadoba and Andhari range. The south part of the park is less hilly.
Sinha made Tadoba his second home and captured its ‘life’ through the lenses. He would take a break from a excruciating business schedules every three months to be Tadoba to take the breathtaking shots of the mighty Bengal Tigers. As one of the contributors to this memorial volume, Faisal Alam recalls, “Sinha’s shooting trips often bordered on the perilious. His clicks were an exercise in flirtation with danger, in fact, I used to fear for our lives lest the tiger decide to take us to task.”
Sinha passed away in 2011, enroute to Tadoba for one of his photography trips. “That’s the way probably he wanted it, to pass away amidst the wild, as he loved life that way,” adds Alam.