Letters to The Kodai Chronicle, October 2021

Recently Mudumalai Tiger Reserve banned firecrackers around this wildlife reserve to prevent disturbance to animals.

Kodaikanal has extensive firecracker usage across different cultures and functions almost through the year, not just at Diwali. Some of these crackers are terribly loud, literally leaving the ground trembling.

Kodaikanal is surrounded by a Wildlife Sanctuary, and has a high interface of humans and large wild animals (as seen in your recent piece, ‘The Strangers in Our Midst’).

Certainly, firecrackers are used everywhere across India and also in Kodaikanal to scare animals away.

Perhaps one aspect to consider is why crackers are burst all through the year? Are there specific parties that can be reached out to (considering the huge, booming crackers that may not be the work of lone individuals)?

While celebrations are important part of the social fabric, we must self-regulate the usage of methods that affect other humans and animals.

Although there are numerous legal directives that regulate the usage of such crackers (timing, type of crackers, loudness etc), what is perhaps required is a large awareness campaign. 

Perhaps The Kodai Chronicle could consider an in-depth take on the issue, along with some amount of awareness building.

Best regards

VV Robin, occasional visitor around Bombay Shola
Shola Sky Islands

‘I am writing with reference to the last Chronicle issue relating to the comments by Bittu Sahgal whom I have known since the late 70s and early 80s when I worked at the Bombay Natural History Society.

I have great regard for his work and principles and have read Sanctuary magazine for many years.

However I cannot agree with his comment about Kodaikanal managing to return to a semblance of its original vegetative pattern in five years.

Having been in Kodai for 37 years, I have lived the changes that have occurred over these years and there are two major obstacles to the environment returning to any form of normality in the future.

1. Grasslands cannot ever return if the acacia and other nitrogen feeding plants continue to actively spread. This is because, without a huge amount of labour which volunteers and Forest Department would not be willing or able to help with, the grasslands will diminish quickly and already the percentage of grassland has reduced from over 30 percent to eight percent in the time I have lived here. These acacia trees and plants including Lantana and Eupatorium will continue to spread over the remaining grasslands with impunity.

2. Much land is being sold to people who build on land without any knowledge of the original vegetation and then destroy any grassland that is around them with foreign plants or small farms. Also large buildings are coming up very fast all over the hills.

I fear for the grasslands in particular as they are vitally important to the Palani Hills and, of course, the rest of the Western Ghats.

I hope that this note may be of use to the Chronicle.

So I do not see that any changes can be made in the near future.

Best wishes,

Pippa Mukherjee

I enjoyed reading Reena Raghavamoorthy’s recent article about hunting in the Kodai area. I remember an occasion in the early 1960’s, it must have been during season as I was not in boarding at the school. I was walking across the bund towards Maboob Munzil on the road to Bear Shola where we were living at the time. In the middle of the bund I was passed by two Jeep’s who then turned into Trevis compound. The lead Jeep had two tigers roped across the hood. The image has stayed with me all these years, they were likely among the last tigers killed in the Kodai area.

Bill Penner

Hi, I had a lovely read of the Wildlife issue.

Congratulations on this issue! Amazing information and scientific studies by Bittu Sahgal have enriched the article on kaatu maadus! Most impressive and insightful. Yes, the baton now moves to the next generation. It is a fascinating journey back to the Kodai where we had lived. Kodai lures one with its fabulous environment and quaint homeliness.’

Premilla Rajan

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