Table of Contents
In this autobiography, written by Pramod Patil, a Great Indian Bustard is narrating about their lives and how their numbers on this planet is dwindling.
The author stars the narration by asking the readers which is the heaviest flying bird in India. Then the narrator announces that the lucky name is that of the writer, who is the Great Indian Bustard. The bird is proud of the very words “Great Indian” in its name. It further announces to have have more than 30 different names in various Indian languages. In Marathi it is known as “Maldhok’ or “Hoom’. The bird continues to narrate about itself. The Great Indian Bustard can
weigh up to 18 kilos and can stand up to four feet in height. It has got a long white neck; brown wings, tall yellow legs and a black cap on my head. My wife – Mrs Bustard is comparatively smaller and slimmer and despite not being as slender and neck not being as white as the male one, I have heard humans say that we both look impressive!
The narrator then goes on to describe where they stay. They live live on grasslands and deserts along with my other friends including chinkara, blackbuck and larks, and eat everything including snakes, lizards, small fruits and berries and all sorts of insects. Grasshoppers and beetles happen to be their favourite food.
When it starts to rain, all the Great Indian Bustards like the narrator would gather around at their favourite grasslands to have a good time, away from the prying eyes of humans. I perform a wonderful dance by gulping air in the special feathery pouch attached below my neck. This pouch helps them to produce a resonating sound similar to the one produced by the cow – ‘Hooooom’. Impressing their soul mate is easy when they dance with puffed out feathers and cocked up tail and dropped down wings.
The process of birth is simple for these birds according to the narrator who says that they lay eggs and their young ones hatch out of eggs. Mother GIB lays just one egg directly on the ground. Though they don’t believe in the notion of building nests, they do have a special trick to protect the eggs from predators. The egg looks like a stone, and it is only with the help of the mother bird that the eggs remain safe from the hands of foxes, dogs, pigs, snakes and eagles. With the onset of rain, the eggs start hatching by that time and the mother bird is found near the little ones for almost a year. The chick learns many good habits from the mother.
The narrator then talks about their good friend, Dr Salim Ali, who had even suggested that they should be given the status of the National Bird’ of our country but the honour went to their beautiful relative – the peacock. The birds are happy enough to be known as the the State bird of Rajasthan. They got ten sanctuaries for our protection but sadly, the number is still going down. This is because of man and their evil intentions. We are afraid of hunters that kill us for fun. We also die due to electric power-lines that we can’t see while flying. The narrator, on behalf of all its other birds, is sending out a plea to the readers to help them.
You can write letters to your leaders and make an appeal to help us. The bird tries to list various other ways how the readers can help them ensure their survival. They hope all little actions will help in their survival in the long run.
The autobiography of a Great Indian Bustard sheds light on the life of these birds. They are also one of our national treasures and should be protected at all costs. The plea is a waking call to the readers to take some actions and help these birds to survive and grow in number. Today, only the last 200 of them are left in the world, and it is only with the help of humans, the birds can be protected.