IRONIES are born in strange places. Sometimes in small hamlets which cannot be traced in maps. That is, till they put themselves there with sheer spunk.
The Lakrukhi natives midwifed an irony a year ago, when they fined Karauli Range Forester Mool Singh Rs 551 for loading firewood in a tempo for personal use. Threatening the Forest Department's official with social boycott if he refused payment, the Jungal Raksha Samiti passed a verdict declaring him guilty till he atoned for his sin against the forest. Mool Singh apologised and made amends.
"Arre bhai, the Samiti is not to be taken lightly. Their rules have to be taken seriously, if one has to live with them. So what if I was a forest official then—they charged me a fine and I paid up," says 59-year-old Mool Singh who recently retired after a 30-year stint in the Forest Department.
Paradoxically again, Mool Singh has become something of a mascot for the Samiti as it fights to keep the Ranthambore buffer area in good health. A symbol that no one is too big to be punished....