Bishnois, a community in Rajasthan
Bisnois women carry water from long distance.
The Bishnois, a community in Rajasthan, is an example of human beings living in harmony with nature.
The name “Bishnoi” (“Twenty-nine”) represents the number of principles espoused by their prophet, Lord Jhambheshwar.
It is said that Lord Jhambheshwar attained saintly enlightenment while meditating beneath a tree in a place that would later become the village of
Jhamba. There, where he discovered a water source that rescued his people from a 20-year drought, he established his ideal community, a
society of people living in harmony with each other and with their environment.
Among the 29 principles propounded by the founder of the sect prophet, Lord Jhambheshwar,
three concern nature conservation. Cutting and lopping of green trees is strictly prohibited. They maintain groves,
locally known as orans, for the animals to graze and birds to feed. Orans serve as important recharges of rain water in the aquifers in
the desert, where every single drop of water is precious.
Prosopis cineraria or Khejari
is worshipped by Bishnois
Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) a wonder tree
In most orans, particularly in western Rajasthan, the dominant tree,
Prosopis cineraria or Khejari, a tree species, is worshipped for its immense ecological value. Leave aside orans, they would not even cut
Khejari trees even from their agricultural fields. The tree enriches soil nitrogen, and during drought and famine, the bark of the tree is mixed with flour for consumption.
In accordance with their principles, the Bishnoi never cut living trees for firewood or building materials. In
1847, the Jodhpur king sent his army out to cut trees to build his palace. When his army started to log a Bishnoi forest, they staged a
non- violent protest, offering their bodies as shields for the trees. The army’s axes killed 363 before the king, hearing of their courage, halted the logging
and declared the Khejarli region a preserve, off limits for logging and
( खेजडळी बलिदान दिवस - खेजडळी (जोधपुर) गांव में
संवत् 1787 की भादवा सुदी दशमी को खेजडी के पेडो की रक्षा के
लिए विश्नोई जाति के 363 लोगों की कुर्बानी विश्व में वन रक्षण का अद्वितीय उदाहरण है | )