Date : January 2020
Pardhis are a nomadic community, who since the time of the Mughal emperors, have been hired to help in shikar (hunting), whether it was for sport for the British or for the royal kitchens of the ‘zameendars’ (landowners).
The community’s traditional occupation is hunting, just as their name suggests. The Sanskrit word ‘paradh’ means hunt. The extinction of tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) by 2009 was primarily owing to this community’s activities inside the forests of Panna. Hence, while the tigers were being reintroduced in Panna, the Forest Department officials decided to work closely with this community and resettled almost 40 Pardhi families to a village outside the Tiger Reserve in a place known as Gandhigram. They have also set up 2 hostels to aid the education of these children.To this effect, Last Wilderness Foundation has been engaging with the students in these hostels for the past 5 years, which has resulted in 5 of the students from the Pardhi hostels to pursue their graduation and 10 students pursuing their higher education. This step up in the positive direction, has set a standard in their community, thereby motivating other students and weaning them away from a nomadic life, to one which will enable them to enjoy a dignified place in society. We would like to thank Morningstar, Inc. & Sunitha Harish and Harish Nathan for providing their support to this programme.