On behalf of every proud citizen of New India, I congratulate the government for the successful import of eight African cheetahs from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh. Needless to say, it is the good karma of these creatures that even though they were born in Africa, they have now become Indian citizens and when they eventually die, they will either directly attain moksha or be reborn as cows.
This transfer was not easy. Getting the logistics in place was the simple part. The challenge was persuading the cheetahs to relocate to India because even animals in Africa know that intelligent people emigrate out of India, not into India. Luckily, the cheetahs agreed to a meeting with the Great Indian Walrus, a soft-spoken but influential sub-species to which all flora and fauna generally defer.
The walrus convinced the cheetahs they were not leaving their homeland but returning to their real home, which is India, and therefore it was a ghar wapsi for them. But the cheetahs had one niggling concern. “Won’t we still be regarded as ‘outsiders’ in India?” they wanted to know. “What if Indian animals taunt us saying, ‘You are not the descendants of the Asiatic cheetahs that used to live in India. You are ghuspets! Go back to Africa!’”
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“Look,” said the wise walrus, twirling its moustache, “India is the Vishwaguru in revisionist history. In less than 5-10 years, Indic scholars will have updated wildlife history to reflect the truth that African cheetahs were originally from India, and they had only crossed the Red Sea on a Pushpak Viman to settle in Africa and start a new sub-species there. Otherwise, how do we explain the fact that the name of the African cheetah — which is ‘cheetah’ — is derived from a Sanskrit word that means ‘the spotted one’?”
Enjoying in Kuno National Park
Their apprehensions dispelled, the cheetahs cheerfully gave up their Namibian passports for Indian ones and are now enjoying themselves in a spacious 8 BHK — mischievously described as an ‘enclosure’ by some petty souls — in Kuno National Park. India, unfortunately, is overflowing with busybodies who are never happy when they hear happy news. Some of them have started cribbing that getting the cheetahs was a bad idea because India cannot offer them enough of either their natural habitat or prey. Apparently, the cheetahs won’t be able to range over thousands of kilometres to hunt like they used to in Namibia. Frankly, who cares?
Humans were once hunter-gatherers. How many of us still pick up a spear and go hunting for breakfast? Just because a cheetah can run very fast, does it mean it would necessarily WANT to run very fast every time it is hungry? It’s like saying Vishy Anand has to win a chess match every time he wants to eat. Ridiculous!
What old school conservationists don’t understand is that there is a reason why these cheetahs are here today while India’s own cheetahs had disappeared by 1952 — it is because they are not Luddites. These are evolved, modern, smart cheetahs who are as comfortable chasing antelopes as they are posing for selfies. Instead of nitpicking, we should be giving fresh ideas to the government on what other animals to import to make India great again. Here’s my list:
Import penguins to Rajasthan: There were plenty of penguins in India when it was part of Gondwanaland. Sadly, India got separated from Antarctica and we lost all our penguins. But just because India is in the tropics is no reason to give up. There is a solution: the deserts of Rajasthan. The nights are really cold in the desert, and penguins love cold. Keep the penguins in refrigerators during the day and release them at night.
Relocate Kung Fu pandas to LAC: China has pandas but they are ordinary pandas who don’t know how to fight. India should buy Kung Fu pandas directly from Hollywood and house them in a national park along the LAC. Let’s see the PLA try to grab another 10,000 sq. km. of our territory.
Bolivian jaguars in Gurgaon National Park: India’s jaguar population mostly consists of automobiles. I suggest we add some diversity by importing eight jaguars from Bolivia. Finding them a habitat won’t be a problem. The prosperous folk of Gurgaon would only be too happy to accommodate them in their garage.
Australian freshwater crocodiles in Central Vista wildlife sanctuary: The species, although native to Queensland, would be totally at home in this habitat.
The author of this satire, is Social Affairs Editor, ‘The Hindu’.