You can map a king by the length of his kingdom and the depth of their soul-Bamera had both. The name that sends out ripple of memories was one of the most iconic Tigers India has ever seen and a metaphor of hope. This is a story of one of the finest rulers from Bandhavgarh that has seen history evolve through its Tigers.
The everlasting Saal and the never dying stripes landscaped by the meadows and forts has been a dream of many a wildlife lover. What thrived in this kingdom was characters that become immortal over the years and the protagonist of the story is one of them who has presented the world the long guarded secrets of Male Tigers.
Rulers conquer as efficiently as they rule and Bamera knew the secret of it. My relationship with Bamera started in the year of 2009 when I first encountered this humble ruler. Aggression is not the absence of respect and Bamera knew it. This understanding helped him to emerge as the prime male of the most coveted region in Bandhavgarh-Tala for almost a decade. His rule of 9 years was nothing short of an epic and he himself was nothing less than an icon.
February 2009 was a turning point in the life of Naya Male (as he was called initially) who was then around 5 years old . It was the day when he had a fight with both B2 and Bokha and looked rather pensive. I did not know then, that my first encounter with him was being a witness to a transition where the boy became a man and with it the prince turned a king.
A tiger’s mettle can be counted through its scars and Bamera had lots of them Every scar was a story of him getting more powerful, like badges hanging proudly on a soldier’s chest shouting about his valor.
Son of B2, Bamera had to be unique. In a dynasty that has seen some of the best rulers in the world of Tigers, Bamera came as an apt ambassador to take that legacy forward. Every dust of the his tracks knew his presence as he walked miles to guard his territory. He wore dust and blood as he wears his stripes to be able to manage such a huge territory as effectively as he did.
His show of strength never went unnoticed as litters of Mirchaini, Banbei and Chakradhara female along with Kankatti was sired by him. This ensured that his genes consume Bandhavgarh for years to come.
The truth of life is as much true with life as it is with death. In the journey between these two horizons Bamera aged like wine. While his erstwhile vitality echoed in from the tallest trees to the darkest caves, time weakened his strength but hardened his soul. Even when he limped for that extra mile to see his territory his trail spoke about what a wonderful rulers he had been. He hated the foot soldiers of Bandhavgarh as probably he knew humans can never think like tigers.this intrusion by humans became a catalyst for him choosing to move out of his prime areas and survive on easy prey much of it which lived under the domesticated quarters of human fences-cattle.
Such was his audacity that he stayed in a house for few days where he made a buffalo kill. With fading power he got challenged by new bloods who knew the rules of forest as much as he did during his younger days. Truly it is a game of survival of the fittest here.
In the fag end of his life he was mostly seen near Bhadrashila, Charger point, meadows around the main road and village Gadpuri. It is also reported that he got into a fight with Bheem (A much stronger male) but did not leave his turf.
In the midst of reports of him killing more number of cattle in Gadpuri village area and escalating tensions within the community he was eventually shifted to Behra enclosure in Oct 2015
There was a time when his pheromone created the strongest fences which could never been seen but felt. In the twilight years the human made enclosures replaced his perfume of presence and started to squeeze out his soul that never had a scratch no matter how much wound he carried.
He breathed his last in May 2015 when the Saal had just bloomed. The dry leaves on which he walked silently probably felt their lost colors most as many of us did. We may not find him on the next corner ever but his spirit still lives in the timeless secrets of Bandhavgarh.