conservation biologist • environmental journalist • author
Hunters or the forgotten people

Following the work with the snake charmers, I began work with
another community, in 2004 maing frequent trips to rural Rajasthan.
My study was focused on families around Sariska National Park, a
park that had acquired a notorious reputation for having lost all
its tigers to hunting. It was alleged that a handful of hunters from
the Bawaria community had one by one poached all the tigers of
Sariska, until they were none left.


The Bawarias were living in a pitiable condition with no ration
cards, no roof over their heads, and on the brink of poverty. ’ It
was the tag of a Criminal Tribe that was introduced by the British
under the Criminal Tribals Act of 1871 that earned this community
a bad reputation. In comparison to the charmers who at least had a
roof over their heads, the condition of the Bawarias was miserable.
Initial research showed that most of them led a semi-nomadic life
on the fringes of agricultural fields. They were regularly beaten and
hounded by upper castes and rounded up by the police in case there
was a theft in the area. In my initial interviews, I recorded instances
of false arrests, torture and beatings in the wake of even petty theft
as a regular experience for most men from this community because
of being labeled ‘criminals by birth’. I put together a report which
we submitted to the government suggesting different interventions
which could be made, and to improve their social and economic
status. It was heartening to note that reccomendations from my
research were finally incorporated in official government records,
in Project Tiger’s analysis on what can be done with hunting
communities that live around National parks

Nomadic Peoples
Livelihood Strategies of a Nomadic
Hunting Community of Eastern Rajasthan

Conservation Biologist
Environment Journalist