The Vanishing Stripes

by Jai Mohan, Akash Mohan

Overview:

In love with India’s jungles and wildlife, where excitement and danger is ever present, the authors bring the jungle, animals, and human characters to life with their unique style of writing. Teeming with memorable characters—such as the cunning man-eating tigress of Achanakmar, Masan Baba, the tant.....more


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Book synopsis/description:

In love with India’s jungles and wildlife, where excitement and danger is ever present, the authors bring the jungle, animals, and human characters to life with their unique style of writing. Teeming with memorable characters—such as the cunning man-eating tigress of Achanakmar, Masan Baba, the tantrik who took on a leopard armed with just a pair of tongs, and Baba Sita Ram Das, the sadhu who tended to crocodiles but lost his hand in the bargain—and interspersed with narratives of some British hunters of yore, these real life jungle tales are bound to entertain casual readers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

The book provides a keen insight as to why these man-animal conflicts happen and what we, as a worldwide community, can do to decrease their tragic occurrence. Through anecdotal tales, the authors also provide tips and tricks for understanding basic wildlife behavior, from alarm calls to eating habits, thus preparing readers for their own personal encounters in the wild.

The authors are very passionate about tigers and spend most of their free time at tiger reserves and national parks of Northern and Central India studying the state of conservation work there. Their jungle excursions give them an opportunity to write about many man-beast encounters that are true accounts of their own experiences and interviews with the characters involved in these incidents. They cover parts of India that are still relatively unknown and not as well-documented as other wildlife tourism-friendly locations in the country.

Reviews:

  • This is an excellent book, which should be read by every wildlife lover in India. The stories in here are wonderfully real, reflecting what it is to live near to wilderness areas in India, while sharing your life and land with the predators next door. The stories are a joy to read, but are also educative of the same time, and reflect the authors' long record of travelling in the tiger forests of Central and Northern India. Stories and books such as these are not only desperately needed to be written and brought out well - which this book wonderfully succeeds in doing - but also to be read by the wider public to sensitize them that the true treasures that our country possesses are to be found in its breathtaking and fragile wilderness, and that, in our relentless race for development, we should not forget that the key is sustainability and balance, and an abiding respect for nature. The Vanishing Stripes is a wonderful tribute to India's forests and, especially to its megafauna like tigers and leopards and sloth bears. And one hopes that, neither such stories nor the enigmatic creatures that they talk about, ever vanish from our landscapes! The only suggestion that could have perhaps been incorporated would have been the inclusion of maps that show the general layout of the areas that are described in the stories in this book. A great and enjoyable read!

- Nilanjan Coomar (Lead Engineer, GE, Bangalore)

  • Utterly Mesmerising Tales! The authors have moved effortlessly between storytelling and a candid presentation of facts. It is so vivid that you'll be able to imagine yourself as a character in a lot of the stories at times, and at other instances you’ll find yourself sitting at the judge’s table! It will be time well spent for any wildlife enthusiast and also for people who have thus far had no inclination to learn about the plethora of fauna that India nurtures. The book gives a far more insightful view of things other than just the cats. For children, the book presents an opportunity to peep into the magical world of forests and beasts. Because they learn about tigers so factually, they lose respect and intrigue for such majestic animals who even the most respected people revered as God. Travel to Tadoba, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Pench - sitting right in your living room or cozying on your couch. Meeting the vanishing stripes behind the fortified cages we sometimes may fall prey to the misunderstanding that we are the masters, no we are not. This magnificent beast is one of the most efficient hunting machines God has ever created! And looks to match. As you travel through the book and delve in deeper, it’s easier to understand the royalty’s (both native and imported) misguided sense of ‎masculinity. This is in reality laughable as they hunted with a battery of men, how helpless they would be in an animal vs animal face off without their coterie. The unnecessary sport of hunting as I understand is the single largest cause for the complete decimation of the tiger population in India. The individual accounts of quite a few of these "brave hunters" is captured impeccably in the book. There was also the ulterior motive of the “laat sahibs” to‎ exterminate the cats purely from a business perspective, as they were viewed as an impediment, slowing down transportation and the free movement of the villagers (lubricants to the colonial rule). My favorites were the Myth of the Man-Eating, The Tigress of Achanakmar, The Leopards of Katarnia Ghat, P-2 the Queen of Tadoba and the very intriguing Poachers Story. Overall a very easy read, whether you finish it at a go, or chapter by chapter. The only thing that I would have perhaps changed, is made chapter 5 the swan song. There are so many things to learn from the tiger - chivalry, courage, never back down attitude, fighting till your last breath. Now only if he could speak at a Ted talk!

- Sourik Sinha (SVP - Brand, HSBC, Singapore)

  • It was a joy to read this book. Beautifully articulated and written from a vantage point of wildlife enthusiasts, with a good number of pictures. Their adventures in the jungles of India gives us a looking glass into the Indian wildlife especially the endangered Tigers.

- Aradhana Singh (Ex Sales Manager, ITC Limited, Gurgaon)

  • I grew up reading books of Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson which were influential in kindling my love for the wild. After a long time, I can say that I found a book that surpasses them in every aspect.

  • Here is one book which every wildlife lover should read. ‘’Vanishing Stripes’’ by Jai Mohan and Akash Mohan traces the history of our national pride- the majestic Tiger right from the pre-British era with excellent images to support the brilliant narrative. An amazing book, it brings the mysteries of the forest into your living room.

  • From the cunning Tigress of Achanakmar to the Leopard of Katarnia Ghat, and from the Tiger that Climbed the Tree to P2- the Queen of Tadoba, every true story captures the heart. The style of writing converts every page into a 3D journey through the dense canopies of the Indian forests where danger lurks around every corner. With excellent anecdotes, the author explains animal behavior; from alarm calls to food habits and also breaks the myth regarding man-eating tigers.

  • It gives us an amazing insight into the lives of Tigers and other jungle specimen. A pictorial journey, the book is a perfect combination of knowledge and insight coupled with breathtaking images. The passion for both wildlife and writing is reflected in every page that can ignite the imagination of both young and old.

  • Vanishing Stripes is a must read for all.

- Aishwarya Sridhar (Wildlife Photographer and Activist, Mumbai)

  • The book “The Vanishing Stripes” is about the Tiger in India. Written from a wildlife enthusiast’s perspective it traces historical origin of this mega fauna- right from its migration from Manchuria thousands of years ago when its north Asian habitat perhaps underwent a severe climate change making it unfit for survival and thus the animal making a headway southwards entering India from the northeast and then dispersing all over the country wherever climatic and other factors best suited for its survival.

  • The history of India is replete with tiger’s presence and portrayal. The book traces some ancient Indian history, right from prehistoric rock paintings of Bhim Betka to the Indus Valley civilization whose terracotta and other seals figured tiger very prominently and down to the Mahabharata period by which the tiger had become well understood in the society assuming slowly but surely a kind of divine character and also a symbol of power and royalty commanding respect and veneration by many.

  • The book examines the healthy state of tiger population in country till the advent of 17th century when the British started arriving in India and ultimately occupying it for the next two hundred years. That was the period when the tiger population in India came under severe stress, reaching almost to a decimation stage, due to English penchant for tiger hunting mainly for trophy collection and to impress upon the native Indian populace as well that henceforth the British were the rulers of India and entitled to hunt tiger like the native Indian royalty of the time and of the past. However tiger hunting continued even after India gained independence and the British went back home. The Government of India had then started popularizing tiger hunting by targeting the rich Americans to earn some dollar income.

  • The authors examine the post 1970 period when hunting came to be banned in India and the Wildlife Protection Act came into force. In 1973 the Project Tiger was launched to save tiger in its habitat. According to authors all these measures didn’t fulfil the objectives completely due to various socio - economic and political reasons right from the demands of the rising population base in the country, industrialization, need for infrastructure creation and also the governmental apathy. The book describes in detail how regularly the tiger habitat is being reduced year by year exposing the feline to new threats of survival like genetic degradation due to loss of long established inter migration corridors, increased wandering towards buffer areas due to shortage of living space in the jungles and thus coming in to human contact more and more resulting ultimately into unwanted conflicts in which both, the man and the animal, end up as losers.. The book also examines the unstoppable menace of poaching fuelled by an increasing demand for tiger body parts and pelts from China due to which India, being the only country to hold 90 percent of world’s wild tiger population in the wild, has become the epicentre of a thriving illegal tiger body parts trade. This factor alone causes about 100 unnatural tiger deaths each year in the country.

  • The book also examines the skeptical voices questioning the need for tiger conservation program itself. Many skeptics term the present on going tiger conservation program as useless. They opine it as a very costly exercise to save an animal that hardly has any economic value and whose existence cannot be called as threatened. After all, according to them, there are five times more tigers in the captivity than those roaming in the wild and above all those under captivity are breeding fine as usual. Then why this false hullabaloo about tiger’s existence in peril?

  • “The Vanishing Stripes” dispels these doubts beautifully by giving the living example from the US where the entire population of grey wolves was decimated from the north rocky mountain areas around 1926 because wolves were considered dangerous to the cattle. But that led to some unforeseen consequences leading to a kind of abrupt ecological change in the Yellow Stone National Park which witnessed a sudden increase in the population of elk deer so much so that even in the harsh winters the elk herds seldom moved and started grazing upon young Aspen, Willow and Cottonwood plants. This resulted into disappearance of the Beaver population because they couldn’t get willow branches to make dams in the Yellowstone streams. And with no dams to hold water, the cold water fish also vanished and so the birds of prey which depended on fish diet. Fortunately these changes were read by the ecologists and conservation specialists well in time and the gray wolf were reintroduced in the area around 1950’s which had the stabilizing effect on elk population. Now the Beavers have staged a comeback and so the cold water fish and the birds of prey. The Yellowstone regained its healthy ecological balance again.

  • India is also bound to witness a similar kind of ecological imbalance opine the authors if the tiger ever gets extinct from the country. That will most certainly lead to the destruction of all vegetation, jungles and crops from the land as the uncontrolled populations of herbivores will gulp down all. Can India survive such a scenario question the authors?

- Shailesh Singh (Global Sales and Client Management, Verizon, Singapore)


About the author:

Jai Mohan is a writer and an enthusiastic wildlife and nature photographer. Having lived most of his life in central and northern India, he has spent a lot of time in some of India’s most verdant jungle belts. His love for the wild is evident in his writings. Besides entertaining readers with true jungle tales, some gruesome and some almost unbelievable, his aim is to share the alluring world of Indian jungles with readers and promote greater understanding and, with that, a greater responsibility towards wildlife conservation.

Akash has followed his father’s footsteps in taking to wildlife photography. What started as late night drives on deserted airfields trying to spot leopards and chasing albino foxes with Jai on the wheel of their yellow Willy’s jeep, or drives to Shahdol, Amarkantak, and Achanakmar to sight tigers and leopards, has snowballed into pure passion for both of them. They spend as much time in the jungle as they can where they both enjoy their wildlife photography, learning from each other and from others whom they encounter on these sojourns.

This father-son duo of Jai and Akash have turned their hobby into an all-consuming passion and way of life. With this book of their real life wild encounters, they truly have answered the call of the wild.

Other details:

ISBN 9789386301321
Category Nature
Language English
Edition First
Published in 2017
Publisher CinnamonTeal Publishing
Condition Brand New
Pages 276
Width 7.0 inches
Height 9.0 inches
Tags Photography , Tiger , Wildlife , Nature

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