At last I finished the book with 687 pages.'ChakwaChandana' by Maruti Chitampalli.Chawachandana means owl which comes out at night and also during eclipse when it gets cheated by the sudden darkness of the eclipse.Maruti calls his autobiography a Vanopanishad.I don't agree with this name,because Upanishads were written in Ancient India by deliberation of wise ascetics of that age.It was a compilation of many contributors although it is written by one of the rishis.The better name would have been Aryanak which is a long treatise in life in Jungles of India when the ascetics would study nature in is original form and explain the phenomena.
Maruti hails from Sholapur.He belongs to a relatively backward tribe and is one of the sons who is drawn towards education so that he can make his life stable and worthy.Maruti puts up a great fight to get graduation but fails to get his BSc and ultimately settles for a career by chance when he reads the notice board of his college inviting application for forest officers training.maruti joins the college in right earnest and takes his training seriously.He visits many classic forest venues during this training and imbibes the essence of forests and his teachers.He has great respect and admiration for his teachers and is impressed by their wisdom and knowledge.Maruti persues his career diligently after he is posted in different regions .He is honest and upright and is hated by forest mafia and their operatives in the administration.But he never leaves his principles.He is brahmanical in his approach and undertakes research with great applications.
He befriends many scholars and learns Sanskrit in his persuit of discovering the ancient birds of India and their contemporary names.He also leans the scriptures at one spectrum and great books on Indian wildlife written y British scholars during their rule.Due to his interests he is picked up by Salim Ali the noted ornithologist to further some researches as Maruti is a sincere student of the jungles and the fauna.Maruti also finds a great patron in Shri Govind Neelakanth Dandekar a Historian and writer of Maratha history .He gains tremendously from the methods of Go.Ni.Da as he is popularly called.Incidently I was vry lucky to meet this remarkable man on Kille Rajgad(Fort) nearly 40 years back when we had taken a private expedition to this fort during school days.I have read his Novel 'Padghavali' set in the backdrop of Konkan 100 years back with all the forces of industrialization was rapidly changing the mindset of people who were thronging to Pune and Mumbai for jobs and lucre.
Chitampalli writes with flare about the forests and its mystique with verve.He captures the romance of forest and adds literally contents to his writing with force.His experience in deep forest of Vidarbha and Pokhardongri is exotic and special.Due to his humility and simplicity he finds a great friend in Shri Patil of Navegaon Bandh who stands by him in thick and thin.His experiences of Artist Almelkar and his escapades with the classy personality is moving and humane.Shri Patil is rugged hunter and naturalists who has intimate contact with the natives and Maruti learns immensely about the secrets of the forest and wild life.His caricatures of the natives who are poor but uncorruptible is heart rending .Shri Patil changes over time as he matures.His forefathers are water conservationists and Shri patil follows this religion saving the aquatic life with his handful of natives volunteers who conserve the nature without expections for the larger benefit of the region.I remember how I thwarted an opportunity to go to Navegaon Bandh during my youth when I was invited by my friend Ms Wadhwani who was with World Wildlife Fund.Later she joined Kodak India.I sometimes feel that I have missed great opportunities adding to miseries of my life,although I try to catch as many now alas too late.
After reading Vibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyays Aranyak this was a addition to my graciousness and love for the naturalists who are writers and philosophers.Maruti has now retired and has written many books and I have woved that I will read all to get a glimple in his personality and for the love of the forests.Maruti transcended the mundane job of a forest officer he is like a sage and ascetic.The autobiography is his contribution to the great art and science of Indology and I can only salute him.May his tribe grow and lead us to the light of real.
This is a para from the Net on the Author:
Maruti B. Chitampalli retired as the Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests,
Maharashtra. Mr. Chitampalli has contributed to the conservation and welfare of
wildlife far beyond the call of duty. He has dedicated his entire life to the
preservation of Maharashtra's forests. Instrumental in the development of
Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park, Nagzira Sanctuary and Melghat
Tiger Project he also constructed orphanages for displaced wildlife at Navegaon
National Park and Melghat Tiger Reserve. Wildlife protection is more a passion
than a duty to him.
Convener: The Right Move II-Career in Sports