Creative Writing – 133
Comprehension exercise for senior students
Question Passage Source – BBC
In a pocket of north Indian wilderness, the rhino is helping to bring peace and pride back to a community healing from ethnic conflict.
The call came at midnight on 1 September 2008. One of the first greater one-horned rhinos, brought 400km (250 miles) from Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park in Assam, India, was heading towards a village on the outskirts of the jungle. Any conflict with humans could spell doom for the entire rhino reintroduction programme there.
“My heart sank when I found over 500 villagers gathered to see the rhino,” recalls Deba Kumar Dutta, then a junior rhino researcher with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) who was monitoring the two animals.
But as Dutta came closer, he saw what the villagers were doing. “They’d collected its dung as they believed it was auspicious,” he says. At that moment, as he watched the gathered crowd mark each rhino footprint with bamboo sticks, Dutta realised the quest for a rewilded Manas was not just a pipe dream. Far from the conflict he had feared, the villagers were embracing the presence of the rhino in a way he could scarcely have hoped for.
1. What is meant by ‘wilderness” ? Do monks like to live in wilderness? What is ‘political wilderness’? Which prominent politicians of India are in political wilderness now?
2. Why was Deba Kumar Dutta so worried after the midnight call?
3. What is the work of WWF?
4. What did Dutta see that brought him relief?
5. What does ‘rewilded Manas was not just a pipe dream’ mean?
1. Wilderness refers to a barren swathe of land that has very sparse or nil human population. The hostile climatic and soil conditions are not conducive for living.
‘Political wilderness’ is a metaphor used to the state where politicians find themselves after losing their relevance and clout. Their stature gets eclipsed by rising rivals, or they face themselves pushed to the fringe after suffering successful election defeats.
L. K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi of the BJP are in political wilderness now.
2. Deba got the telephonic message that a rhino was heading towards a village located close to the Manas National Park. The one-horned rhino had been brought from the Kajiranga National Park for relocation at Manas. Some 500 villagers had gathered to see the straying rhino. Deba Kumar Dutta feared that a confrontation between the villagers and the lone rhino could soon start leading to great harm to the latter. For Dutta, it was a very alarming situation that left him greatly worried.
3. WWF stands for Worldwide Fund for Nature. It’s an international organization dedicated to conservation of animal species on earth.
4. On reaching the spot, Dutta saw the opposite of what he had feared. The villagers adored the strayed rhino. They collected its dung as they believed it to be auspicious. They marked its foot prints with sticks. Thus, the rhino was treated as a welcome guest rather than a hostile transgressor. For Dutta, it was a matter of relief.
5. Making the Manas National Park vibrant with wildlife was a mammoth task. However, seeing the friendly attiude of the locals towards the rhino, Dutta felt newly brought species could easily thrive in their new habitat. So, Dutta felt, re-wilding Manas National Park was an achievable goal, not a pipe dream.