When I visited the Bishnoi Village Where Superstar Salman Khan Allegedly Killed The Endangered Blackbucks!

India was awaiting justice for past 18 years for the endangered black bucks which Salman Khan allegedly slaughtered in Bishnoi Village. Predictably, Salman was acquitted of his charges today, just like his previous crimes. I am not saying I was physically present at each of his crime scenes. But when so many things go wrong (Beating women, run and hit, destroying people’s career, talking loosely about rape survivors and much more) you know there must be a reason for it. He can’t be a so-called ‘soft target’ all the time.

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The Bishnoi Women perform Pooja at the Temple built in memory of martyrs of Khejarli Massacre (Circa 1731). They sacrificed their lives to protect trees. This inspired Chipko Aandolan

I visited the Bishnoi village in Rajasthan in January, 2014. My guide showed me the exact place where Salman Khan killed the blackbucks. It was a deserted area with no humans in sight. The blackbucks and other antelopes and many migratory birds such as demoiselle cranes roam this area fearlessly. They know they are safe because no one dares harm them, thanks to the fierce protection by the Bishnoi people.

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Animals are a part of life in this area. I met a Rabari family in their home, behind Bishnoi colony. It is not easy to gain access to a Bishnoi family’s home

Bishnois are the community who can sacrifice their lives and even kill the culprit if even a single animal or tree is harmed. My guide told me “Salman came here on a jeep with a clear agenda of hunting the blackbucks. He did shoot two of them. Even though it was a deserted area, the sound of gunshots reached a lone ‘chaiwala tapri’ (Makeshift tea shop). Perhaps Salman did not see it coming, the chaiwalla was instantly alerted and came rushing towards the direction of the gunshot. One blackbuck was killed on the spot. Sensing trouble, Salman’s driver rushed the jeep through the jungle and not the single straight road for the fear of being spotted. The blackbuck, I am imagining ran away from him in the similar fashion to save his life.

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The Exact Place Where the Blackbuck and Chinkara was killed by Superstar Salman Khan. As told to me by the driver.

 

It was possible that if the Bishnois got hold of him, they would have given their justice on the spot, Salman or no Salman. Thankfully, I was told, the Bishnois did see Salman’s face. I was told the other deer who was half injured was soon rushed to the animal hospital by the Bishnois (who are poor and not that privileged to afford treatment of animals). My guide said the Bishnois have still not forgiven Salman Khan and would want to give him the strictest punishment possible. I did not have to try hard to sense the immense love and affection for the nature in Bishnois. Salman’s fans dismiss it with their lame excuses such as “It was just a deer” “He has been framed for being a celebrity” “Much ado about nothing” “So many people hunt” etc.

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The Guide told me this was the road which Salman took to run away. Being chased by villagers, he avoided the main road and passed through mud on the left to avoid being trapped. The ‘Crime Scene’ was on the right side. See pic above!

 

What they fail to see is the context. Even if it was not a celebrity involved, they would have fought for it. I was told about an incident happened in nearby Nokha village in Rajasthan. The Bishnois killed a hunter for killing a wild hare. This resulted in a riot and a 2 day ‘Bandh’ in the region. They take animal and plant conservation that seriously.

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I shot (with a camera) this blackbuck at the Tal Chappar Sanctuary in Rajasthan

After all, these are the same people, 363 of whom, who sacrificed their lives in order to save the trees in 1730.. Centuries later it inspired the ChipkoAndolan (More on that in a separate blog) The blind fans fail to understand the perspective sitting from their comfortable living rooms

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The whole village is a heaven for animals and birds. Guda lake nearby attracts migratory demoiselle cranes, blackbucks, chinkara etc. They know they are safe here. Tourists are not allowed access to the lake but can view from a distance. Thank God for the little mercies!

Here’s what I learnt from my visit to this amazing village

  1. Respect the region you are travelling to.
  2. Learn from the people of the region you are travelling to. May such local conservationists thrive and may the culprits be punished!
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The jeep I hired for the trip. At the crime scene.

People like Salman will continue to rise. The problem is not him but we who put him on a pedestal and fail to see his flaws because we are so attached and attracted to his on screen persona. The dichotomy of our society lies in the fact that we will talk about ‘culture’ and ‘values’ and will turn a socially dangerous person into a Demi God.

The view from my #SoulWindow is frustrating!

HERE IS A SMALL VIDEO I MADE ON BISHNOI WOMEN. CLICK HERE

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Me breaking papad with a local Bishnoi family in their home.

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WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.

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2 thoughts on “When I visited the Bishnoi Village Where Superstar Salman Khan Allegedly Killed The Endangered Blackbucks!

  1. Its sad why we as a people idolize nuts like salman khan. Just because he has money and paints and does wee acts of charity we ignore all his misdemeanors. Me . Never was , never will be a fangirl. Trying my best to convince others otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

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