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Friday, October 22, 2010

Vishnois of Rajasthan (India)

There is a small group of elders here and we meet regularly. Once in a month we also arrange for an outing to some worthwhile secluded place. I used to consider myself an Environmentalist and used to pick up all the garbage left behind by picnickers. Truly speaking this act of mine is probably driven by an instinct  for recognition and not out of any real concern. This awakening came to me very recently.

There is a  conservative community referred to as Vishnois living in an otherwise arid state of Rajasthan in India. Their dedication to nature is well known and I wanted to delve  upon them in one of my posts. It was a mere coincidence that I was going through a Hindi blog, a travelogue on  the City of Patna  (in Hindi) which was devoid of any pictures. The kind of language used was itself  picturesque and in fact the words explained everything. Then there was a comment by one Mr. Gourav Ghosh who although appreciated the presentation but was underlining the need for supplementing with photographs. In my own comments, I lent my support to him in a veiled manner. Thereafter I tried to locate him  and landed up at his own site  which had a picture of a Vishnoi women breast feeding a Chinkara   fawn. The photograph was taken by Mr. Vijay Bedi at great pains. Here it dawned upon me that I need not write anything about the Vishnois. No words need to be used. The photograph could speak volumes.

It stirred me up and in my curiosity I searched the web and found yet another photograph taken by Mr. Himanshu Ghosh, a photo journalist working with Hindusthan Times.

Continuing with Nisha's argument that the mother and the child and chinkara being the same in the two photos, thereby making us wonder if they were two different poses,  a third one above  "Ashes"  could google up.

A blogger friend Mr. Ratan Singh Shekhawat, who hails from Rajasthan, sent in a link to the Youtube video. This animation video depicts the sacrifices made by the community. 


  1. बहुत अच्छी जानकारी है । वीडिओ से राजस्थान के बारे मे अच्छी जानकारी है। धन्यवाद।

  2. बहुत अच्छी जानकारी देने वाला आलेख. कई पर्यावरणविद इस पर आश्चर्य करेंगे.

  3. Beautiful post. The kindness to the animals and love shown fr the environment is unmatched.

    I am trying my bit, by not throwing any waste on the roads.

  4. i have read about bishnois, a beautiful community of people

  5. By the way, I spent a day in the desert w Bishnois way back in '86, taken by Marwar uncle Swaroop Singhji, think he's now deceased.
    Lovely people, but oddly, they smoke opium.

  6. @Injamaven
    I do not know if Opium could also be smoked. My understanding is that very small balls are just swallowed. The bark of the plant is boiled in water and consumed. Its bitter but has the same effect. Marijuana (Gaanja) is smoked.

  7. Living for nature! Rare these days.

  8. Moving, Word fail to describe this and I do not want to add anything to this pious act. Thanks Subramanian Saab for this post

  9. Vishnois have contributed more to nature and wildlife protection than the entire country put together. I had heard about the chipko movement in Garwal, uttarakhand. Now I understand that The Vishnois must have been an inspiration to this movement.

  10. Hello PNS,

    Even assuming you picked up waste with a view to get recognition I would say that it is something to be admired because if every one thought the way you did there will be no waste in the streets,roads and public places.The problem is most people would like to throw waste than pick up waste.

    People living close to nature are always endowed with kindness,trust,compassion and therefore the woman feeding the chinkara is some thing that the lady is doing out of her natural instinct.

    The video was excellent.

    I checked the span column in my blog but there was nothing.

    Best wishes to you,

  11. I've always been fascinated with the Bishnois. It's amazing how they remain committed to their beliefs and respect for nature, while adapting to the negative changes wrought about by the modern world in their surrounding environment.

  12. .

    Informative and valuable post. We must learn this dedication for animals and environment from Bishnois.

    Great post !

    Thanks Subramaniyan ji.


  13. Wow a rare pix indeed..nice post!

  14. bahooy hi sunder prastuti. bishnoi samaj ke bare me bahoot kuchh janana ko mila.........

  15. Sir
    this post is on my blog
    एक नज़र : ताज़ा-पोस्ट पर
    पा.ना. सुब्रमणियन के मल्हार पर प्रकृति प्रेम की झलक

  16. I had heard about Bishnois but not to this extent. Would definitely like to meet one.

    Very beautiful & informative post. The kindness to the animals and love shown for the environment is unmatched.
    Allow me to share this on reader, twitter, Facebook etc.

  17. Also, I noticed something...
    The 2 pictures are of the same woman and the child's dress is also the same !

    Could it be possible that the pictures are taken on the same day? Or this act is done by a only this woman or the photo is done to gain some publicity/money ?

    I'll appreciate if you can enlighten me on this.

  18. @ I shall be too happy if you could share this on twitter, reader, facebook etc. as it would be for a noble cause.
    2. Similar thoughts came up in my mind as well but I brushed them aside for that would belittle the sacrifices, the community has made.
    3. In the second picture the Chinkara fawn seems to be a little grown up.

  19. Hi PN! Amazing post indeed...

    After four posts, Blogtrotter Two is leaving Algiers 2009... Enjoy and have a great week ahead!

  20. Nice Post.. and a wonderful picture.. and a wonderful human being..

    @Nisha: The people are the same. The pictures are different. The child is wearing a different dress though it looks similar and the chinkara fawn is grown up too..

  21. Good
    For more information about Bishnois
    you can have a look at

    RK Bishnoi
    New Delhi

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Great post! Continuing with Nisha's argument that the mother and the child and chinkara being the same in the two photos, thereby making us wonder if they were two different poses, here is a third one I could google up.

  24. Thank you for such an informative and wonderful post. The Bishnois are known for their dedication for the nature. If all of India had the same kind of feeling, the national scenario may be somewhat different from what it is now.

    Thank you for coming to my blog and for your Diwali wishes. I wish the same for you and your family.

  25. Wonderful post. Wish you a very happy Diwali.

  26. Wonderful post . Vishnois teach a lesson for sustainable practices to preserve the nature.

    You have a wonderful blog , read many of your posts today.

  27. Very interesting post. I have also read about the love of the Vishnois' for environment. the legend of Amrita Devi and her three young girls who embraced the trees to prevent their being butchered,and were killed instead, is most moving. http://www.rajasthantourpackages.net/rajasthan-attractions/bishnoi-village-safari.html

  28. thanks a lot for the post, this is most informative and though provking.

  29. I've never heard of this.. Very interesting..!