New Book Release – Steed of the Jungle God

Hot from the press – Steed of the Jungle God!

Fondly known as the Vasco de Gama of Mewar forests, the veteran naturalist Dr. Raza Tehsin recounts his encounters with the mysterious, which can be attributed to ghosts and spirits, through his 70+ years of jungle wanderings, and his quest for rational explanations behind these phenomena.

A brief as per the back cover: 

How would you feel if there is a sound of anklets following you in the dark wilderness? What would you do if there is an attacking panther a few feet away and you are sitting with an empty rifle? How would you react when you’ve seen someone commit suicide in a well and you hear at night sounds of well’s Persian wheel revolving when the wheel is still? 

How does one define the real-life encounters compiled in this book as jungle stories? They surely make for an interesting read, offer a peep into the times when man and animal were trying to co-exist, with perhaps man becoming more resourceful even though remaining in the awe of the mesmerising vast thick greens inhabited by tigers, panthers and others of their kith and kin. But the stories here are not only a chronicle of adventure encounters that offer a peen into the times, peoples and wildlife of Mewar. A potent theme of busting many a myth pertaining to the ideas of ghost sightings by the layman in the villages and the jungles also runs parallel thus adding new twists, some light and some not-so-light, to the narrative. It also provides a glimpse into the psychology of why many hunters ended up being distinguished conservationists.

The book available here:

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Published by: National Book Trust

Illustrations by: Sumit and Sonal 


​The master storyteller Ruskin Bond launches Steed of the Jungle God against the backdrop of the historical Victoria Memorial in Kolkata!





Fondly known as the Vasco da Gama of Udaipur jungles, Raza H. Tehsin is the initiator of Wildlife conservation movement in Southern Rajasthan. He has been instrumental in the establishment of game sanctuaries like Phulwari-Ki-Nal, Sitamata & Sajjangarh, has reported for the first time around 14 species from this region as well as India, worked for decades in raising public awareness about the issues of nature protection and led many a public spirited conservation campaigns. Author of more than 100 research notes and papers in international and national journals and magazines, he has co-authored books with Arefa Tehsin like Tales from the WildThe Land of the Setting Sun and Other Nature Tales and Do Tigers Drink Blood and 13 Other Mysteries of Nature. A member of various prestigious Wildlife and Natural History societies and chapters, Raza was also the Member, Wildlife Advisory Board, Govt. of Raj. and the Hon. Wildlife Warden of Udaipur district for 33 years.


Arefa was shortlisted for The Hindu Young World – Goodbooks Best Author Award 2017 for her book Wild in the Backyard.  Her picture book The Elephant Bird was read at 3200+ locations in India from the slums to the Presidential library on the International Literacy Day, 2016 and translated in 25 languages by communities. She is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books on wildlife. She was appointed as the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur and has relentlessly pursued nature conservation through her writings and columns. Arefa is also an avid traveller and contributes travel pieces for various publications.



My Upcoming Sessions at The Hindu’s Lif for Life

telling talesVikram Sridhar with his rapt audience

The Hindu Lit for Life includes an exclusive literary festival for kids

The Hindu Lit for Life festival (January 14-16 at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Chennai) celebrates books, literature, authors and creativity. The seventh edition promises something extra — a children’s literary festival, where little ones can appreciate the magic of storytelling through a variety of workshops. “ The Hindu has consistently catered to the interests of children through its publications such as Young World and The Hindu – In School , believing that youngsters need to be exposed to the magic of books and the practice of reading outside classrooms. With this children’s festival, we hope to build on that,” says Nirmala Lakshman, festival director and director of The Hindu group of publications.

Children between the ages of five and 12 can look forward to sessions on storytelling, theatre and creative writing, a science laboratory, Zumba session, an open-air library and more, which will be organised at two themed venues — Enchanted Land and Magic Burrow. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect:

Stories on stage

The only thing better than reading a story is watching it being enacted. City-based theatre group Crea Shakthi will organise a workshop titled Stories on Stage. “All our stories are becoming 140 characters. Kids have wonderful ideas, but they are not able to dig deeper,” explains Dushyanth Gunashekar, creative head of Crea Shakthi. “The session will begin with an interactive performance that will help children come up with their own ideas as to how they’d like to take the story forward. This will start them off on a process of questioning things and becoming curious about the world,” he adds.

January 14, noon to 1 p.m. (age group 5-8) and January 16, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (age group 9-12)

Let’s make a story

At a time when most children are exposed to stories through Disney animations and books written by western authors, Vikram Sridhar plans to keep it local. “I’m a Ramu-Shamu rather than a Harry Potter, so I will focus on localised stories (based in Alwarpet or Teynampet) based on reality,” says the 33-year-old Bangalore-based storyteller. He will perform a story for the younger children and help them develop a tale of their own; the older ones will get to dabble with theatre.

Have Fun with Stories: January 14, 9.45 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. (age group 9-12); Let’s Make a Story: 11 a.m. to noon (age group 5-8), and noon to 1 p.m. (age group 9-12); Also sign up for Bangalore-based writer Andaleeb Wajid’s creative writing workshop, The Never-Ending Story, on January 14, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (age group 5-8), and 11 a.m. to noon (age group 9-12).

Crazy Characters

Give children crayons and they will tell you stories. In his workshop, Bangalore-based illustrator Vinayak Varma will help them express themselves better. “I will first help them to imagine a character using words and then I’ll draw it. Then I’ll get them to do the same. This will give them an insight into how one goes from descriptions to an image,” shares the 34-year-old. “And if I can get them to extend the idea into something they can create at home or school later, that will be great.”

January 14, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (age group 5-8).

Jungle Book

Arefa Tehsin believes that a curiosity to know about the wild must be instilled in children when they are young. Especially since we are now in the “midst of the sixth mass extinction after the Ice Age”. “Children, especially in cities, are almost completely alienated from Nature. The bond with the wild needs to be re-established, not by preaching, but by using an interesting medium like stories,” says the novelist and ex-Honorary Wildlife Warden, Udaipur.

Her workshops will be structured as talks. The first, Snake – a Foe or a Friend?, will discuss the vilified creatures, while the second, Jungle Book, will discuss interesting facts like whether an Elephant Bird really exists.

Jungle Book: January 14, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (age group 9-12); Snake – a Foe or a Friend?, on January 15, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (age group 9-12)

Fun with Science

“We want kids to say ‘Science is awesome’,” says Supreetha Gonsalves of ScienceUtsav. Expect the workshop to be conducted in the form of a magic show, with experiments called Chemical Chameleons (involving changing colours) and Hovering Balls (dealing with aerodynamics). There are several themes, including Magic Potions and Khatron ke Khiladi, where children will see a few dangerous experiments. “We love kids more than science, so yes, safety is our priority,” she assures us.

January 15, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (age group 5-8) and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (age group 9-12).

To register log on to The fee is Rs. 1,000.

“The bond with the wild needs to be re-established, not by preaching, but by using an interesting medium like stories”