23, May 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News:
- The bishnoi farmers in Rajasthan fill the troughs to save deer in rajasthan
- Bishnoi farmers in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of northern Rajasthan have dug up about 70 troughs, many of them in their own agricultural fields, in a 60-square km area and filled them up with water for antelopes foraging in the plains of the region.
- The animals were earlier losing their lives by drowning while trying to drink water at the two major canals. The Indira Gandhi Canal and Bhakra Canal irrigate the fields in the otherwise arid areas of the two districts. Blackbucks were earlier climbing up the canal banks trying to drink the flowing water, but ended up drowning as the canal edges have 45-degree slopes that the animals were unable to climb back over.
- Rajasthan’s Bishnoi community, is known for its beliefs associated with nature worship and wildlife conservation
- The Bishnois, a Vaishnavite sect, living in western Rajasthan on the fringe of the Thar desert, have for centuries, been conserving the flora and fauna to the extent of sacrificing their lives to protect the environment.
- For these nature-loving people, protection of
the environment, wildlife, and plants is a part and parcel of their sacred traditions.
- The basic philosophy of this religion is that all living things have a right to survive and share all resources. The sacrifice made by Amrita Devi and over 350 others is a heart-rending example of their devotion. Before dying she uttered the now famous couplet of the Bishnois, ‘A chopped head is cheaper than a felled tree’.
- People from 83 surrounding villages rushed to prevent the men from felling the trees and by the end of the day more than 350 had lost their lives.
- The Bishnois have indeed proved that human lives are a small price to pay to protect the wildlife and the forests around them.