Salman Khan and the sacred Blackbuck episode

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Salman Khan and the sacred Blackbuck episode

Contributed by: Gaurav Moghe

This story of Blackbuck raises the hope that cultural associations of Indian biodiversity with local communities can be a powerful force in their conservation.

The black buck is a species of antelope native to the Indian subcontinent. Since 2003, it has been listed as near threatened.[1] by IUCN and considered an endangered species in India. It is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Several communities, both in the northern and southern parts of India, consider the antelope sacred.

In 1999, while shooting for a film in Rajasthan, Bollywood actor Salman Khan, was involved in a poaching incident concerning blackbucks[2]. He and a few other film actors went out hunting and ended up killing two blackbucks and several chinkaras. The killings enraged the local Bishnoi community, which considers all wildlife sacred. The Bishnoi community is a fervently conservationist community in Rajasthan which has been lauded worldwide for its eco-friendly, modernist cultural practices [3][4].

The vociferous opposition of the Bishnoi community was caught on by the national media[2] and the issue soon became a national issue. Normally in India, where the rich, powerful and the connected go scot-free even after committing heinous crimes, public pressure - especially from the Bishnoi community - forced Rajasthan police to arrest Salman Khan. After seven years of litigation, Salman Khan was fined Rs. 25,000 and sentenced to one year of rigorous imprisonment for breaking the strict wildlife protection laws.

Although Salman Khan's petition for deference of the jail term has been pending for five long years[5] and he may eventually probably go free, this episode highlights the power of faith and belief in promoting wildlife conservation. If every community in India decided to conserve the flora and fauna it considered sacred, a lot of species (and forestland) may be saved from destruction.

Blackbuck in Central India

References

  1. ^ Mallon, D.P. (2008). "Antilope cervicapra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature
  2. ^ a b The Salman Khan Black Buck Incident – Details And Aftermath Retrieved: August 8, 2011
  3. ^ Sect in India Guards Desert Wildlife The New York Times. Published: February 02, 1993 Retrieved: August 8, 2011
  4. ^ The Desert Dwellers of Rajasthan Retrieved: August 8, 2011
  5. ^ Black bucks killing: Hearing on Salman Khan's plea to begin tomorrow Retrieved: August 8, 2011

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Semantic tags

Title Salman Khan and the sacred Blackbuck episode Article is on this general topic Indigenous practices Author Gaurav Moghe
Specific location(s) where study was conducted Not noted General region where study was conducted Not noted State where study was conducted Rajasthan
Institutional affiliation Not noted Institution located at Not noted Institution based around Not noted
Species Group Mammals User ID User:Not noted Page creation date 2011/08/16

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