The man behind Baghesur,Tiger From The Eyes of Tribal.
“If there is something that can be done, we can do it. If we can’t, then nobody will”
I always believed in this statement and so did my people who helped me make this organization what it is today. Tourism just happened to me as it happens to most of the people who run this industry today. An industry that has people from almost all backgrounds with a common interest of earning money and spending it while traveling themselves because we all believe that Traveling is Life.
This Life brings us closer to the real world much faster than anybody else who travels occasionally and not for Tourism. One such quest for a step ahead in life took me to Bandhavgarh. A Hotel is what I wanted to build and become a hotelier from just a Tour Operator. Siddharth was deputed just to find an optimum land to place my little dream hotel that I thought will be different – just different. I clicked pictures from magazines in South Africa, Finland, Germany, New Zealand just to make my different property where I wanted people to explore wildlife & forest in the fusion of international facilities in an Indian environment. The story was all set until a lady selling souvenirs in Bandhavgarh bid me good bye and asked me to close the door of her store as I leave saying “Don’t you think there are already too many hotels here ?”
I believed that I only talk about Tourism and will add more concrete to the jungle had I not believed that what that lady spoke was absolutely true. The spark inside convinced me about not making a hotel and instead do something alternate that could justify my investment in acquiring the land. That’s when the idea of creating an additional source of interest for tourists coming to Bandhavgarh popped into my mind and I initiated the search for the Tribal who could perform some kind of Tribal art which a tourist might be interested in paying for. One month of search gave me results that were alarming.
“The Tribal no longer eat what they used to eat and nor do they perform any of their ancestral art or customs these days” is what our site supervisor Pankaj Bhaiya told me. I felt that this is probably what India lacks in the Tourism Industry. Majority of us from Tourism like enjoying what others make but we never want to help create anything. I wanted to change this belief of the villagers who thought that I am going to make a “Lodge” with the tons of money that I have and make profits while they remain poor. I realized that these people need attention and if I can invest in making them happier today, they will not regret being in the village ever. Villages are where the real Indians lived not in towns.
With the cause in mind I met a local social worker named Santosh Diwedi who devoted his life for the Tribal and Ashish Swami an artist who probably speaks his heart about tribal people through his portraits working with old tribal women and paying them Rs 500 a month. We decided that these people really needed help and attention or else another Tribe will get extinct from this world. And in their quest for sustainability they will end up destroying the humble forests. The forests belonged to them. For urban development we used the forests and in compensation these tribal had to leave their homes. If Tribal held no value in their native state, there wouldn’t be any NGO or organization who would be trying to save the Jarawa’s in Andaman. We want to save them because they are simple people. Nobody wants to save an evil from getting extinct but good things need to be saved.
Jai Baghesur – Tribal Art Festival is dedicated to showcase their life through their art. They worship the Tiger and call it Baghesur. Through this festival we wanted to address 3 agendas:
1. We need to save the Tribal
2. The Tribal can help maintain the habitat that a Tiger needs
3. If the Tribal & Tiger are saved, the Tourism will flourish
The Festival starts in Tala, Banghavgarh on the 21st Feb till the 24th Feb. We don’t just anticipate visitors who would come for a short experience but visitors who help us in helping the forests and the owners of these forests. We will not be able to do it alone but you can help. Everybody can help either with ideas or with contribution. We do not anticipate Principal sponsors for this cause because it might not fit into their eyeball logic but people who realize how important these tribal, forests and tigers are for our Eco-system.