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  • Writer's picturePooja Rathod

The unholy river

Three weeks in Chambal filming an animal who I believe is the most transcendent and bewildering in all my experiences. I can’t put in words how moved I am to learn of its incredible life history. I couldn’t imagine a cold blooded animal being as aggressively protective about the hatchlings that he may or may not be a father of. At times I felt I understood his communication gimmicks with the female and the babies and at times I felt I was so distant and naive in deciphering what was unfolding in front of me. I was in complete awe of this animal not only because of its mysteriousness but also because it left me feeling something I hadn’t before


I was afraid. Afraid that what if I don’t get a chance to see this gorgeous male again. What if he just like many other species succumbs to the pressures of man. What if in his annual movement upstream in the waters of the Chambal, a river that knows no state boundaries and laws but simply does its duty of flowing till it meets the sea, he goes beyond the barrage and the gates shut and he stays there stranded never being able to swim freely in this river he was born. What if the sand miners just like they did to Tigri, dig up this large sand bank where so many Gharials bask during the winters and nest during the summer. What if next year the water level drops even further because of more water being channeled out for you and me ? Will there be any space left for these animals to share their space with us? Is there any hope for the dolphins, the turtles, the mugger and the skimmers that the river is also home to?

I felt a deep sense of sadness despite all this beauty around me


I hope this post does more than just showing a pretty picture. I hope it makes us all think about all the species we have lost and are going to lose in near future as we consume more and more resources each day. These animals will have nowhere to go once the sand is all gone and river is diverted and choked with plastic and reduced to a mere trickle. We can always do our bit, even if it is a simple action of turning off the tap and taking shorter showers. It’s time we need to make these changes.

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