An Adventure in a 'FOREST'.

My father’s ancestral village of Rampur, on the left bank of the Ganga at the Himalayan foothills, has a long stretch of forest which has not been afflicted by deforestation yet. Without exception, my vacations here have always been very exciting.

One cold December, my kid brother went missing. My father was at his wit’s end trying to get someone to accompany him to the forest.The village elders were divided in their opinion on the course of action. My mother was too shocked to speak. He was last seen playing near the trees at the end of the field in front of our house. Then some local boys saw him disappearing further into the area which had denser growth. It had been more than an hour since he had vanished. Nobody could have imagined such audacity from an eight year old who had been strictly instructed not to go beyond the field.

Ten of us left for the forest at three in the afternoon. My mother was most unwilling to let me go. While I managed to convince my mother, some elders were not too happy with my presence, but nothing discouraged my optimistic father. As we kept walking into the denser zones of the forest, ominous visions began to cloud our imagination. Calling out my brother’s name loudly had been futile.

The silence of the forest was punctuated by the shrill notes of various insects and distant growls. The approaching darkness was waking them up. Though we had both fire and torches along with guns, the village elders were becoming sceptical about proceeding further without more help. My father, though nervous by this time, refused to give up.

We had reached a small stream. Suddenly one of the elders asked us to stand still. The approaching dusk forced us to follow his example, and we witnessed a herd of elephants crossing the stream. The leader, to our horror, suddenly stopped and raised his trunk in the air, trying to locate us, I presumed! My father was sweating. Mahato, the shooter, was getting his gun into position almost without any obvious movement. For a moment I thought the leader of the herd was staring at me, but thankfully, they moved on and we heaved a sigh of relief.

Suddenly the shrill cry of a child pierced our ears along with the growl of some wild beast. Fearing the obvious fatal end, we rushed towards that direction. In about seven minutes, we reached an open area to find Ratan standing at a distance of barely five feet from a tigress. Handsomely built, the sinewy and powerful beast seemed to be more interested in sniffing my brother. My brother was speechless and was not even aware of our presence behind him. Before Mahato could get ready, the tigress, aware of and disturbed by our presence, snarled and disappeared into the deep forest.

My father rushed towards Ratan, who fainted at his mere touch. The tigress, perhaps a mother, had spared my brother. I hope, we men too, spare the tigresses.

So, this is my Adventurous experience in forest. Because you know what , Forests are essential for life on Earth. Three hundred million people worldwide live in forests and 1.6 billion depend directly on them for their livelihoods. Forests also provide habitat for a vast array of plants and animals, many of which are still undiscovered. They inspire wonder and provide places for recreation. They supply the oxygen we need to survive. They provide the timber for products we use every day.

Photo taken in Rockerville, United States

Forest conservation act:
Forests are an important resource that nature can bestow upon mankind. Therefore, it is the duty of every citizen to preserve the ecosystems of forests. But due to rapid deforestation, the cycle of nature is itself being disrupted. Therefore, the need to bring about a law to ensure the preservation of forest was needed.

One of the first legal drafts to protect forest tracts was the Indian Forest Act, 1865 replaced by a 1927 version of the same act. However, it was more geared towards protecting the commercial interests of the British Empire in India.

The act gave authority to the British to restrict tribal activities by levying taxes on timber and forest services. In other words, it mainly regulated the cutting of timber and flow of raw materials rather than protecting forests.

Upon independence, the President of India enforced the Forest (Conservation) Ordinance in 1980 which was later repealed by virtue of Section 5 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Under the 1980 Act, the restriction was made on the use of the forests for non-forest purposes.

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