Capturing A Transition
Himraj Dang
A LIFE WITH WILDLIFE: FROM PRINCELY INDIA TO THE PRESENT by M.K. Ranjitsinh Harper Collins, 2017, 392 pp., 799
January 2017, volume 41, No 7-8

M.K. Ranjitsinh’s timing is impeccable. He joined the IAS in 1961. Having gone through the obligatory training and having started his climb up the administrative ladder in the State of Madhya Pradesh, he fulfilled his childhood vow to become the Collector of Madla in 1967. Just when the last 66 barasinghas were at the fag end of their struggle for survival at Kanha enters the one Collector who had an interest in wildlife and was familiar with village resettlement for conservation (from Dungarpur and Dachigam). Supported by his superior, the redoubtable Mahesh Buch, he resettles the villages located on the Sonph grassland (an unprecedented exercise) and the barasinghas begin their recovery.

Young Ranjitsinh transfers to the Ministry of Agriculture at the Centre in 1971, attends the very first governmental deliberations on wildlife conservation, chaired by the PM, and convinces the eminences for the need for a uniform legislation for wildlife protection in the country. He is appointed as Deputy Secretary, Wildlife, and goes on to draft this legislation, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

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