The Sacrifices Bishnoi Community Has Made to Protect Wildlife

Bishnoi community's commitment to protect trees and animals began much before Salman Khan

After a Jodhpur court on Wednesday sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, a group of young men gathered outside the court, raised celebratory slogans and distributed sweets. These were men from Rajasthan’s Bishnoi community, known for their reverence for nature and commitment to protecting wildlife.

When Salman Khan shot the two blackbucks near a Bishnoi village, they rushed to the animals’ rescue and chased the vehicle that Khan was allegedly driving. Later, they filed a complaint against Salman and his co-stars.

What followed next was a long battle for justice that ended with Salman Khan’s conviction on Thursday.

However, the Bishnoi community’s commitment to protecting trees and animals began much before the incident involving Salman Khan.

The community has a glorious history of protecting animals and trees.

In 1730 AD, Amrita Devi of Khejarli village and her 3 daughters laid down their lives to protect the sacred trees which were to be used for Jodhpur King’s palace. In the following days, a total of 363 people sacrificed their lives trying to save the trees. This sacrifice later became the inspiration behind the 1970s Chipko Movement.