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One-Armed 70-year-old Priest Rears Crocodiles as Eco-Friendly Gesture

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Crocodile at Chhattisgarh village pond
Crocodile at Chhattisgarh village pond

In case you visit Chhattisgarh, do pay a visit to Sitaram Das, a 70-year-old priest with one arm, and his crocodiles! The locals fondly call the priest as “babaji.” His “children,” who are actually mugger crocodiles (called “magarmach” in Hindi) live in the village pond located in Kotmi Sonar in Chhattisgarh.

Despite having only one arm, the babaji has devoted his life to take care of crocodiles in the area. He can recognize each crocodile with its face!

Babaji has an extensive understanding of the ecological system and the animals that form an integral part of this ecosystem. They live in companionship and in harmony and play a role in conserving our biology.

Babaji, who was once a temple priest, looks after the muggers not out of some Godly worship or reason, but out of pure love. This, despite the fact that his one arm was amputated because a mother crocodile bit it off in 2006! She did this to defend her eggs, as babaji had gone too near to them.  

People like babaji are a fine example of how we can stay in harmony with animals and nature.

India is called the land of agriculture. Agriculture is what we do.  And if this is so, then Indians just cannot ignore or afford to harm the ecosystem, which consists of animals too.

Mugger crocodiles are found chiefly in India and Sri Lanka. They are labeled as globally vulnerable species. The crocodiles live in ponds and rivers. They can reside in manmade canals too. They co-exist well with gharials, which are another species of crocodiles. They also live in harmony with the people of the area under the condition that the people do not harm or threaten them.

According to babaji, animals don’t attack. They only defend. This means they attack only when provoked or when they feel threatened.

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