Even the dream of being around wild animals scares us. Imagine a man living around them and treating them at home. Scared? There's more to the story. Shahnawaz Khan of Bhopal treats wild animals at home. During his meeting with Agnito Today, Shahnawaz told how his friendship with wild animals began...?
It is around 4.30 in the morning and the cold winter of December and the sound of the jackals coming from all around. But the most fear-free 46-year-old Shahnawaz Khan is walking in the forest fearlessly. This view is of the forests of Seoni near Balaghat, about 350 km from Bhopal. Shahnawaz Khan, a resident of Bhopal, has been going for a morning walk in the forest like this for the last three decades and keeps on wandering in the forest for hours.
Shahnawaz says that as a child, his Valda (mother) left him alone and moved away from the world. Since then this forest is his mother. He got the purpose of living life in the lap of nature and today he is a doctor of Ayurveda. Shahnawaz has been practicing and has treated two former Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh Uma Bharti and Babulal Gaur, besides many ministers and he also treated Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar. Acknowledging his excellence, the Madhya Pradesh government has also honored with many achievements.
Shahnawaz turned 37.5 hectares of lifeless land into a fully grown forest in 5 years.
Shahnawaz was awarded and got recognition by the govt. But, he thought something was missing. His purpose in life is not yet fulfilled. That is when he decided to go back to Seoni and settle in the lap of the forests. In the meantime, he thought of planting fruitful trees on empty wasteland near the house. But every time set the forest on fire and the plants would get destroyed by burning.
Shahnawaz and his companions wake up overnight, guarding the forest:
Shahnawaz and his five companions Guddu, Krishna, Bhuru, Omkar, and Santosh take turns in the night to guard the animals and the forest. Many times, all the friends in two SUVs keep guarding the entire forest after getting information about the hunters. At the same time, Shahnawaz's wife Tabbusum, along with her husband, is often engaged in saving wild animals. Also, two daughters and two sons love the forest and animals very much like their father.
(This black panther has recently come to live in Shahnawaz's developed jungle, whom he affectionately calls Bagheera)
Trees became his best friend:
Shahnawaz says that after his mother left, he befriended the forest. There is also a tree, Shahnawaz often talks to. Many times he sits and chats with the tree. When he used to cry, he used to embrace it. Shahnawaz says that as soon as he hugged the tree, it felt as if it pulled all his sorrows and pain and gave him its positive energy.
2256 types of medicines discovered from forests:
Shahnawaz says that due to this love of forests, he started searching for medicinal plants here. Started at the age of 15, this work continued for the next 20 years. During this time he graduated with B.Sc. and obtained a doctor's degree in Ayurveda. During this time, he discovered 2256 types of plants that have some kind of medicinal properties.
(The name of this herb is Nag Damani, which is used in the treatment of snakebite)
He exhibited them all for the first time at the global Ayurveda exhibition held in Kochi. Later these herbs were used on domestic animals and then wild animals and birds.
He has treated bear to Python:
Shahnawaz says that till date he has treated many wild animals at home. These animals include bears, deer, foxes, and pythons. The python has now become a member of the household. It was released back into the jungle several times, but each time it returned to Shahnawaz's house. At the same time, wild animals also recognize Shahnawaz.
(This python was treated by Shahnawaz, who, upon leaving the forest, returns again to Shahnawaz's house.)
He also reaches very close to peacocks and deer, but they do not run away fearfully. Even a tigress living near the house often sits near Shahnawaz's house with her two cubs.
The life of Shahnawaz, who has been befriending wild animals for the last 30 years, maybe dangerous for us, but for Shahnawaz, it is all a part of daily life. Our salute to Shahnawaz Khan, who is working to save the forest, risking his life…!