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THE MIGHTY SHER KHAN
S K : (Roars) I am the mighty tiger, mighty Khan, Sher Khan, king of the jungle. Every animal fears me. My roar, agility, adaptability, resilience and charismatic appearance is unique.
Narrator: Take a good look…….this may be the last time you are see a tiger. Yes, the tiger country is losing its stripes and not slowly enough. From an estimated 40,000 big cats in India a century ago, the number may be just down to 1,300 and falling. The latest blow was Panna reserve admission last month that it has lost all of its 24 tigers. It is now evident that our charismatic Sher Khan is in danger.
Begum: And I am the beautiful tigress Begum, Sher khan’s wife. I am cunning; I often surprise my prey with a lethal attack. But I am equally caring and protective towards my cubs, for they mean everything to me and I will ruin anyone who tries to harm them.
CUB: I am the little Sher Khan, still learning the skills of the game to become a veteran like my father one day.
Chengez: My name is Chengez; I am famous for my happy go lucky attitude. I love all my friends, but don’t misunderstand me for being kind towards my enemies. I am as ruthless as any of my group and now meet my wife.
Rani: Hi, I am Rani, Miss Jungle, the queen as they call me. Oops my make up…..ah! I don’t want to scare you.
Poacher 1,2&3 (Simultaneously): We are the cruel hunters. We want tigers.
P 1: We will imprison them, kill them…….hahahaha tiger means money hahahaha lots of money.
P 2: The number of tigers may be falling because of us but not the price tag on its head.
P 3: Huh! What can the poor government do but make reserves and forest forces. All these do not bother us, we have hunted tigers in the past and we will be hunting them in future as well no matter what.
Narrator: Poachers, heartless beings. In international market, a tiger pelt goes for 10,000 dollars; a single claw sells for 20 dollars. It is estimated that a single specimen ground down and separated into various medicines sells for 50,000 dollars. Tiger’s skin is still invaluable in the market. On contrary 10-20,000 rupees is what a poacher makes for a killing though tiger parts as we know sells for thousands of dollars in the international market.
Forest Official: I am the poor member of the forest staff which is underpaid and understaffed.
Narrator: 50 is the average age of the forest staff as there has been hardly any recruitment in last 10 years.
Cub: Look mom dad is here. Mom I am feeling really hungry, I just hope dad has brought something with him to eat.
Begum: I have heard stories of your dad’s valour. I really expect him to hunt down some good food for us, but if he doesn’t he will have to face a tigress not a wife.
Sher khan overhears the conversation and enters
S K: There will be no need for that Begum. I have got a big surprise for you. Look what I got, buffaloes, yumm…… we will have a feast tonight. We will have a party loaded with fun and food.
Cub: wow daddy now that is Sher Khan, whose name sends shivers down everyone’s spine.
S K: Any doubts my dear begum.
Begum: No Khan Saab, I am convinced. Let’s invite Rani and Chengez for the grand fearst tonight.
S K: I will do that Begum but you make sure that we have an enthralling party. And you junior clear this mess you have created with your toys so that our house is not cluttered.
Sher khan walks out on his way to invite his friends.
Narrator: On his way to invite Rani and Chengez for the party Sher khan overhears a shocking conversation between the forest officials.
V 1: Hey mate howz life going on in forest?
V 2: Nothing, as usual dealing with the workload away from the family at this lonely place.
V 1: Have you heard the news about the tigers?
V 2: No, what happened?
V 1: The number of tigers is rapidly going down in India. I have heard that tigers are on a verge of extinction. The situation is terrible.
V 2: Huh, What can you do with poachers, developers or government officials themselves? No one is bothered.
V 1: At least we have an idea of what is going to happen with the tigers of this jungle.
Narrator: Yes you heard right. The situation is terrible. The tiger tragedy is being played out everywhere. Namdapha, Arunachal Pradesh had 12 tigers in 2006 but has not had a single sighting this year. Ditto buxa, West Bengal has also lost 12 tigers. Similar situations exist at
Dampa, Mizoram; Indravati in chattisgarh and list goes on. The conservation story is back to square one- or rather the 1970’s, when project tiger was launched and the number stood at 1,827. Forty years and millions of rupees later, numbers rose, only to drop to an all time low. The last tiger census in 2006 put numbers at 1,411. Since then nearly a 100 have died. So what’s killing the Indian tigers? Let’s see.
Chengez: Who is this?
S K : Hey buddy, it’s your mate Sher Khan.
Chen : Hi, how are you? How is your hunting business going on? how is Begum…………
S K: Hang On Chengez, Get ready we are going for a party at my house. You will relish the grand feast.
Rani: Great, I am so excited. I’ll be attired in my designer dress studded with gems.
Chen : Yes, only to scare us.
Rani: You, I wont leave you today, I’ll kill you. Hum, now you boys wait here till I get ready.
………………..After some time
Rani: Here I come, miss jungle, make way.
Chengez: Darling you look gorgeous.
Rani: Thank you Chengez but how did the sun rise from the west?
Che: Ah well you have already threatened to kill me if I say anything awkward so……….complementing you is the only way out.
S K : Ok guys now we should leave for my house.
Narrator: On their way to Sher Khan’s house, these friends hear something scary, yet interesting.
VI : Have you heard about the forest guards ?
II : Yes, the ones who have been assigned the task of protecting the tigers against poachers. Anyway, it doesn’t make a difference.
1: Why So?
II : It’s a toothless force as they are neither trained nor do they have equipments for the job. These guards either have lathis or simple rifles to match with poachers armed with automatics. God save the tiger.
Chengez : Did you hear that Sher Khan?
Sher Khan : Yes, I have been hearing such tales these days. I often try and overlook them but the way our friends have disappeared, it does disturb me sometimes.
Rani : oh god, I am really scared. what if they killed us as well?
Chengez : Shut up, no one can kill you when you are without make up. I'll pray for them rather.
Sher khan : OK now move fast, Begum must be waiting for us.
Begum : Hey, I have been waiting for you all, come in now. HI Chengez, hello Rani. How are you both?
Rani: We are good.
Begum : Come with me Rani lets get the arrangements for the feast at place.
Sher Khan: Let’s have a drink together Chengez.
Narrator : During conversation at dinner, Rani tells Begum about what they heard on their way.
Begum: Oh my god! Is it really true? I won’t let those hunters kill my child or husband. I will kill them before that. Oh God help us, protect us from human intruders. At night we are wary of poachers and their guns. By day there is the danger of running into groups of camera clicking tourists.
Chengez : Don’t worry Begum, Man was frightened of us even when he lived in a cave and hunted with sharp-edged stones.
Rani: But Chengez, now these humans have various gadgets which they use to kill our lives. He loved our skin even then and wore our teeth around his neck. silly fool!
Sher Khan : But when the man grew a little wiser, he started worshipping us and wrote many songs about our strength and cunning. He stamped our heads on seals and even carried our figures in clay.
Chengez : But when he built temple he made us stand like guards at the gate. Huh! Enough of this stuff.
I just want to take some fresh air. I am going for a walk.
Narrator : After sometime Chengez comes back running with several injuries on his body.
Chengez : AAH! Sher Khan, Sher Khan , those hunters(pointing), they are after me. I had a tough fight with them but I couldn’t succeed, they have guns with them.
P 1 : Where are you hiding you silly creature?
Come back to me, Heh! Heh! Come to me.
P II : If you have your friends with you then I assure you that we will kill you all and sell your expensive body parts.
P III : Yes and then we will have a grand feast. We are waiting for you.
P 1 : Hey, look over.
P III : Oh dear we have stumbled upon gold. There are four tigers and a cub hiding there.
P II : Be careful, they can attack you. Take positions, Keep your guns ready.
P 1 : Lets go ahead and get them.
-------------------Fight goes on between the hunter and tigers and eventually the tigers are killed. -------------
Narrator: So this was the story of Sher Khan and others which saw a dreadful end. God knows how many but several Sher Khans and the likes of him are dying. But why? Is it simply out of greed that humans are being ruthless towards tigers or rather I should say that it has become a human character to be ruthless towards nature? Believe it or not but this is the truth.
*data and information source : The Times of India (Newspaper)