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Magical and majestic

“Standing in the middle of a camel herd is pure magic… You can walk right up to a camel of your choice, and it will probably stretch out its neck to say hello. If you are brave enough to hold still, it is likely to give your face an inquisitive nuzzle, sniff your hair, and may be give you a little facial massage like it would a fellow camel…”

On 2 December 2007, The Hindu newspaper’s Sunday magazine carried a 1100-word article by Ilse Koehler-Rollefson on the Raika and their camels – and the problems they face in finding enough grazing for their animals.

“Since the time of the Maharajahs, the Raika have had the right to graze in the Aravalli Hills,” says the article.

“In the 1970s, a significant part of this grazing area was gazetted as the Kumbalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. Certain areas (‘enclosures’) were officially prohibited from grazing for seven years. But the enclosures were not opened after the prescribed period and the Raikas were allowed access only against payment of bribes.”

The Raika and LPPS have taken this issue to the Rajasthan government and Supreme Court, but the case still has not been resolved.

“The camel is an icon of Rajasthan, and the government makes liberal use of the associated culture to lure tourists,” says the article, “but it pays no attention to this issue.”

Read the complete article here.




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