Rajasthan’s chief wildlife warden Ramesh Mehrotra took objection to a story that accompanied my photographs in National Geographic Adventure magazine. In his vexed letter, which seems only to have been published in the print edition of National Geographic Adventure, Mehrotra appeared slighted by writer Paul Kvinta’s critique of Rajasthan’s tiger relocation policy. Mehrotra apparently considered that the fine hospitality and pleasant company he offered us obliged Paul to write a glowing report on the tiger conservation effort. But how much worse it could be if the charms of official hospitality were ever to silence those who scrutinize policy and continue to argue that there are systemic problems with India’s tiger conservation strategy.
The only means to avert the menace of rhesus monkeys appears to be securing the services of a langur monkey. And this is precisely the solution employed by British High Commissioner. I don’t make a habit of visiting the High Commission but a few years ago I found myself relaxing on the ample lawn of the residence when I noticed a short man approaching me. Strolling alongside him was a monkey tied to a leash. As the man got closer, I realised that his companion was almost the same height as he was. This monkey was very different from the small rhesus variety that I had seen menacing my neighbourhood. Instead of the ubiquitous limp and incessant scratching that seem to be the curse of all rhesus monkeys, this creature walked with an elegant gait and wore a beautiful grey fur coat that appeared entirely fitting given the opulent surroundings.