Udaipur based veteran naturalist Dr. Raza Tehsin and author Arefa Tehsin have jointly authored “Steed of the Jungle God”, which was launched by the master storyteller Ruskin Bond in the backdrop of the historical Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. National Book Trust (NBT) has published the book.
Fondly known as the Vasco de Gama of Mewar forests, Dr. Tehsin recounts his encounters with the mysterious, which can be attributed to ghosts and spirits, through his 70+ years of wanderings in the jungles of Aravallis, and his quest for rational explanations behind these phenomena.
The book is a compilation of real-life jungle encounters of Dr. Tehsin and his family.
How would you feel if there is a sound of anklets following you in the dark wilderness? What would you do if there is an attacking panther a few feet away and you are sitting with an empty rifle? How would you react when you’ve seen someone commit suicide in a well and you hear at night sounds of well’s Persian wheel revolving when the wheel is still?
The jungle stories make for an interesting read and offer a peep into the times when man and animal were trying to co-exist, with perhaps man becoming more resourceful even though remaining in awe of the mesmerizing vast thick greens inhabited by tigers, panthers and others of their kith and kin.
But the stories here are not only a chronicle of adventure encounters that offer a glimpse into the times, peoples and wildlife of Mewar. A potent theme of busting many a myth pertaining to the ideas of ghost sightings by laymen in villages and jungles also runs parallel thus adding new twists, some light and some not-so-light, to the narrative. It also provides a glimpse into the psychology of why many hunters ended up being distinguished conservationists.
Fondly known as the Vasco da Gama of Udaipur jungles, Raza H. Tehsin is the initiator of Wildlife conservation movement in Southern Rajasthan. He has been instrumental in the establishment of game sanctuaries like Phulwari-Ki-Nal, Sitamata & Sajjangarh. He has reported for the first time around 14 species from this region as well as India and worked for decades in raising public awareness about the issues of nature protection and led many a public spirited conservation campaigns.
Author of more than 100 research notes and papers in international and national journals and magazines, he has co-authored books with Arefa Tehsin like Tales from the Wild, The Land of the Setting Sun and Other Nature Tales and Do Tigers Drink Blood and 13 Other Mysteries of Nature. A member of various prestigious Wildlife and Natural History societies and chapters, Raza has also been a Member of Wildlife Advisory Board, Govt. of Rajasthan and Hon. Wildlife Warden of Udaipur district for 33 years.
Co-author Arefa Tehsin, Dr. Tehsin’s daughter, was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World – Goodbooks Best Author Award 2017 for her book Wild in the Backyard. Her picture book The Elephant Bird was read at 3200+ locations in India from the slums to the Presidential library on the International Literacy Day, 2016 and translated in 25 languages by communities. She is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books on wildlife. Arefa was appointed as the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur and has relentlessly pursued nature conservation through her writings and columns. Arefa is also an avid traveler and contributes travel pieces for various publications.
For those interested in Wild Life and its mysteries, the book is available on http://www.nbtindia.gov.in/catalogues__online-index.aspx