22 June, 2021

Genghis Was Here

Thapar’s tales of his beloved tigers, the wrangle over conservation, the few good people, an endnote of hope

Sanjoy Ghosh
Genghis Was Here

I have known Valmik Thapar for several decades and seen him grow in girth and stature in more ways than one. Having spent 35 eventful years with the love of his life, Valmik now looks like a tiger in its prime.

The story of the Bengal Tiger (panthera tigris tigris) is both fascinating and, more recently, distressing. Valmik’s fascination with tigers started with Padmini and her cubs, and the tiger has been his muse since then. In this book, we meet all the tigers who have been his inspiration in Ranthambore—the tigress Nick Ear with her tricks; the legendary Genghis, who mastered the art of hunting in the lake, even challenging the crocodiles of Padam Talao; Noon, who began by watching the master from the shore but soon became a water baby herself, with a strike rate of one in seven; the Bakaula Male, largest of his ilk; Broken Tooth and Kublai, the successor of Genghis; the Nalgahti male and Machhli.

Given their dwindling numbers, books about tigers these days are usually depressing. But Valmik’s book is about...

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