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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Save the Honest Tiger

if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” Mark Twain

Almost every one of us is aware about the dwindling population of the great grand tigers across the world. From 100,000 in the year of the Lord 1900, today the figure hovers around anything between 4,500 tigers at best across the world. India alone has about 2,967 Tigers .The tiger population has literally shrunk to less than four percent in a hundred years.
There have been numerous campaigns, huge media coverage, celebrity endorsements, World wild life fund projects and much more to reverse the trend. Sir Paul McCartney said “Losing the wild tiger would be unforgiveable. We need people power to save it. Every signature makes the campaign stronger” while referring to save the tiger project. This initiative was also endorsed by people no less than Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Roger Moore, Samantha Fox and Leonardo Dicaprio to name a few. Even the corporate has invested big time money in these projects as a part of their corporate Social responsibility initiative.
“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption”
– Kurt Cobain

The concern to save the tiger, so that the species does not become extinct is really genuine and important. The efforts to tackle the situation are also worthy of praise and positive outcome is expected slowly but surely.
What is equally important – if not more- is to save the “honest tiger”. Population of this rare species is also rapidly shrinking by the day, especially in India. There may not be any comparative census report or a head count of the number of honest men and women in India in the year 1900 and how many of such people exist today. But , If tiger population has experienced a dwindle ratio of 1:25 in the last century then one could bet on a worse scenario in case of the honest tiger – at least in India. Such men and women are tigers because in today’s corruption ridden Bharat you have to be a tiger to fight the corrupt and the jungle raj. You need to be a brave heart, strong, risk taking and fearlessly devoted to the cause and be prepared to sacrifice- even your life. The major difference between a striped tiger and the honest tiger is that the former is fighting for his life while the later is fighting for and behalf of all of us.
Scams and the society throw up wolves and hyenas in big numbers, but snuff the tigers. Whistle blowers, people who stand for honesty and who want to weed out corruption are blown away. Unfortunately wolves have a thick hide and have become stronger than the tigers whose dwindling numbers reflects this fact. Today the biggest challenge to the survival of an honest tiger is that he is always outnumbered by the Jackals and the hyenas who have a nexus and are even inbreeding and multiplying. He desperately needs help, our help.
“Truth is the only safe ground to stand on “
– Elizabeth Stanton

The striped tiger was chased and brutally exterminated by hunters employing various smart methods and tactics. Using a bait was the most common method to lure a tiger into the killing zone, where he was helpless, and could be easily gunned down. In India and Burma a mixture of latex and mustard oil was strewn around the water bodies where a tiger would come to drink water. This sticky stuff would get stuck to his paws, tongue and face and the poor animal would cover his face with mud and leaves while getting rid of it- hence making him partially blind. Setting jungles to fire, using beaters to scare the tiger into a place where he could be overpowered has also been in practice for very long.

Today wolves, hyenas and Jackals have also similarly learnt the art of trapping the honest tiger. They all unite despite their different pedigrees and gang up against him because they all have the same goal – finish the honest tiger. The wolves are becoming smarter and are aware that the honest tiger is alone. In case a few of them get together, wolves find a clever way to disperse them.
These tigers are not striped and cannot be easily spotted but have familiar names like Manjunath Shanmugam, Satyendranath Dubey or a Narendra Kumar who have been lone rangers. Kiran Bedis, Anna Hazares who got together were soon blown away by the wolves. Jackals and wolves are invisible gangs, goons, corridors of power, mafias, syndicates and mobs camouflaged within the system and sometimes outside the system.
‘ Sau mein se ninyanve baiyman , lekin mera Bharat Mahan’ is often read painted behind trucks on highways in India!
Borrowing the words of Paul McCartney “Losing the honest tiger will be unforgiveable. We need people’s power to save it and every head counts”. We need all hands on the deck, from Aam Admi ,celebrities, media, NGOs and even the corporate for this new initiative- which has already begun..

“Being honest yourself is good, but an honest person should also stop others from being dishonest”

It is time that we save this grand and fearless race. If we cannot be whistle blowers ourselves or we are not able to start an anti corruption campaign let us at least support those who do. Remember, when the wolves strike together, all the animals in the forest will just disappear.
Let us start, even somewhere in our own conscience, a movement “Save the honest Tiger”.

“No country is perfect; you need to make it better”.

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