Steed of the Jungle God by Raza H. Tehsin & Arefa Tehsin
Book Reviewed by Yawar Khan
If you are a wildlife lover, then this book will be sheer paradise for you. But more than that, this book will evoke a strong nostalgia, of bygone times when life was simple and clean. The time when Shikar was considered a royal adventure.
This book is a compilation of real-life stories. The author’s father was into arms and ammunition, by the virtue of his profession, he often used to rub his shoulder with the Royals. Raza was introduced to the wild when he was a child. With age, the passion for wilderness increased and never got dimmed.
The stories widely reflect the socio-economic conditions of that time. Illiteracy was at the all-time high, people widely believed in ghosts, spirits, black magic. No one was ready to explore the reason behind unusual occurrences, they blindly used to believe the hand of the supernatural in almost all the things.
My favourite pick was The Ghost of Sunder villas, the story revolves around the author’s father, he was invited by a Mahant for a meeting. Mahants are the most respected men in the society, author’s father which is fondly referred as Bapu was hosted at Sunder Vilas. The Sunder Vilas was considered haunted and none was ready to stay over there. During the stay, Bapuji realized that at a particular time in the night, the strange noise comes from the terrace and whenever he opens the door of his room, to understand the cause of the noise, the sound stops. Bapuji along with his assistant, hide on the terrace to understand the reason behind the noise. At the due time, he saw a huge languor (monkey with black face) coming to the terrace and creating all the confusion. In the morning when he went into the garden, he saw a full languor family stationed on the trees. His fearlessness, determination helped in breaking the fear and the myth of the spirits haunting the Vilas.
This is not the only story but there are many others to entertain and enlighten the reader.
This book is definitely recommended to all book lovers.
RAZA H. TEHSIN
Fondly known as the Vasco da Gama of Udaipur jungles, Raza H. Tehsin is the initiator of Wildlife conservation movement in Southern Rajasthan. He has been instrumental in the establishment of game sanctuaries like Phulwari-Ki-Nal, Sitamata
Arefa Tehsin was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Best Author Award 2017 for her book Wild in the Backyard. Her picture book The Elephant Bird was read at 3200+ locations in India from the slums to the Presidential library on the International Literacy Day, 2016 and translated into 25 languages by communities. She is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books on wildlife. She was appointed as the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur and has relentlessly pursued nature conservation through her writings and columns. Arefa is also an avid traveller and contributes travel pieces for various publications.