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this human sacrifice, he stopped the operation, and apologized for the mistake committed by his official and gave the Bishnois state protection for their belief. The statement was written on a copper plate: no tree cutting, no wildlife killing near Bishnoi villages." Maharaja Gaj Singh (interview in 2007) remembers his childhood when nobody was allowed to kill animals in that area. They had other places for game-killing. He agreed also that something must have occurred, even if nothing is registered, but people at that time might have exaggerated figures.

2499-22: At Khejarli pilgrimage, in September each year, almost every Bishnoi family buys a little tree from the nursery near the temple to bring home in order to plant it near the house. It is the traditional way to pay respect to the 363 people who gave up their lives to save trees from Maharaja of Jodhpur's axes in 1730 AD. A memorial was also built to commemorate the event. Like in every pilgrimage, Bishnois offer ghee (clarified butter) and coconuts to the holy fire. It's their way the pray and communicate with their guru. 2499-23: At Khejarli pilgrimage, in September each year, almost every Bishnoi family buys a little tree from the nursery near the temple to bring home in order to plant it near the house. It is the traditional way to pay respect to the 363 people who gave up their lives to save trees from Maharaja of Jodhpur's axes in 1730 AD. A memorial was also built to commemorate the event.

2499-24: In the harsh Indian Thar desert, Hajari Ram Bishnoi plants a Khejari tree... most sacred tree since their guru used to teach in his shadow near his house in Jaislan. From now on, he will share his own water with the tree up to 2 years. That's about the time it needs to grow old alone. 2499-25: A Bishnoi woman watering a tree in her courtyard near Abohar in Punjab. As it is custom for married women, she wears a red veil to cover her head. The yellow circle means that she gave birth to at least one boy, which is still very important in India. A green circle would mean only girls. The courtyard and the wall are covered with cow mud and often painted. Bishnoi women used to clean the house and courtyard twice a day and the cow mud is refreshed twice a year. 2499-26: In the beginning of the 19th century, a Bishnoi family (the Godara) came to that "no man's land" in the Thar desert.. today a small area in Punjab, at Rajasthan border - and settled down. They converted the desert to fertile land by planting many trees and using irrigation. Since there is much more water than in Rajasthan, Bishnoi families from Punjab have higher yields and are therefore richer. They're also used to plant Kinnow tree, a kind of mandarin orange, in wheat fields. 2499-27: According to one of their 29 rules, Bishnoi carpenters never cut green trees. They wait for trees to die on their own or fall during a storm. Khair trees (Capparis decidua) and Khejari tree (Prosopis Cineraria) have been traditionally protected by the Bishnois of Rajasthan, a remarkable phenomenon in the field of conservation, both of vegetation and soil. Khair provides strong

and durable wood that is resistant to white ants and therefore used by Bishnois for their house frameworks. It lastly also produces a fruit that is edible both fresh and preserved. 2499-28: A Bishnoi woman prepares curd (dahi) by separating cream from milk then warms it up. After cooling down the milk, she adds a bowl of curd from the day before that will transform milk to curd. 2499-29: After 30 days, each baby becomes a Bishnoi by drinking holy water (pahal). Relatives come to celebrate the event but women stay with the mother whereas men gather in the dhani (a kind of hut only for men). 2499-30: Swami Vishudha Nand, 37 year-old Bishnoi priest, takes care of a wounded peacock. A strange noise made him rush out of Jajiwal temple but even by shouting and throwing stones the dogs did already bite quite badly the bird. "He'll die in 20 min...", says Swami after taking him inside the shelter. While he sprays antiseptic on wounds a motherless fawn smells grippingly around. 2499-31: Mangilal Bishnoi owns a small clothe shop near Bishnoi Dharamshala in Jodhpur and as a good Bishnoi he built a bird house and a little platform to feed birds in the tree outside his shop. As Guru Jambheshwar - portrait behind Mangilal taught his people, Mangilal protects wildlife and takes care of injured animals. He saved that pigeon from dogs and took care of his broken wing for a couple weeks and now he plans to give it freedom in some days. 2499-32: During the Wildlife week (1-7 October 2007), the Forest department represented by its District Forest Officer,

M. Bhadu Bishnoi, organizes many contest for Jodhpur school children at the zoo. Besides essay writing, wildlife quiz, animal voices and many other contests there was the painting one: Dipika Aseri (12 years) got the 3rd price for her nice peacocks. It a very good way to make children from other castes sensitive to environment and wildlife protection. 2499-33: Priest Vishudha Nand performs Havan (holy fire) daily at dawn and dusk while blackbucks, gazelles and peacocks stroll around fearlessly. They trust Bishnois who protect and take care of them since 500 years! The holy fire is used to purify air and people's mind to ease prayers to Lord Vishnu and Guru Jambheshwar. After morning bath, one of Bishnoi 29 rules, they seat - head covered with turban - near the Havan and offer ghee (clarified butter) and coconuts as a gift to God. 2499-50: Just before the storm a woman is pouring ghee to offer it to the holy fire during Jamba festival. It's their medium to communicate with their God (Vishnu) and Guru... 2499-35: Rajender Bishnoi (28 years), wildlife office employee, saved 2 days ago a little gazelle fawn from dogs. He took it home in Kherpur village (Punjab) and is now feeding and taking care of its broken leg. His nephews Vikram (12 years) and Amandeep Bishnoi (9 years) are coming regularly to visit the deer. 2499-51: Havan (holy fire) are performed throughout the 2 days of Jamba pilgrimage but not at night because mosquitoes would be attracted by the fire and therefore be burnt. Not acceptable for those animal lovers. The holy fire is lit at sunrise and Bishnoi pilgrims walk

Bishnois : environmentalists by Creed  
Bishnois : environmentalists by Creed  

Bishnois have made wildlife and environment protection their daily leitmotiv.

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