3rd year Pic 172 - Mar 01 2011
with Fateh Singh Rathore (shot in February 2010)
Fateh Singh Rathore, the legend of Ranthambhore is no more; he passed away this morning (1st March) after a brief illness. He was instrumental in nourishing Ranthambhore national park for many years as the field director and was one of the best known warriors in the global effort to save the Indian tiger. After retirement he was awarded the rare status of honorary warden of the park.
He was a multifaceted personality and was equally at ease with children or adults and everyone who came in contact with him was affected in some way or the other. Not only that, people who had only heard or read about him were also impressed with his dedication and love for the tiger and the jungle.
Even after retirement he continued his war on saving the tigers in particular and Ranthambhore park's conservation. That's how Tiger Watch, an NGO, was born and he served as its Vice Chairman. I've been associated with Tiger Watch for many years and it was during this time that I came to know him, having spent many days at his home Maa Farm and in the Park.
I was fortunate to have gone there last Saturday and spent two days with him. He was quite ill and in pain but his ever strong spirit was still the same. He could barely whisper a few words but managed to convey his feelings with gestures, ensuring that the guests and visitors (there were quite a few) were all looked after and life carried on as usual.
Last month his son Govardhan, our field biologist Dharmendra and his wife Divya asked close associates and friends to write a few lines on him. These notes were read out to him and never failed to bring a smile on his face. My note is included at the end.
I pray his soul finds eternal peace in his heavenly abode and may Almighty give the family strength to bear this great loss.
Though dear Boss, as I used to call him, is no more, his legend will live on...