In the vein of Tim Cope's On the Trail of Genghis Khan and Scott Wallace's The Unconquered, Himalaya Bound tells the story of one man's immersion with a tribe of nomadic water buffalo herders on their annual spring migration into the Himalayas. Even more than a glimpse into a rarely seen and endangered way of life, this beautiful book is an exploration of the relationship between humankind and wild lands and the effect conservation efforts on the species and peoples they are meant to protect.
Michael Benanav, the acclaimed author of Men of Salt, spent forty-four days living, walking, eating, and sleeping alongside the Van Gujjars, a hidden tribe of forest-dwelling nomads in northern India. Over the course of the tribe's annual migration to the Himalayas, Benanav documented their traditional way of life, but there was trouble on the trail: the forest department threatened to block the nomadic families from the ancestral summer pastures they relied on for the survival of their herds. Benanav was arrested as a political agitator in an attempt to defend them, and the Van Gujjars were forced to make a dangerous change of course to a new and uncharted destination.
Intimate and gripping, Himalaya Bound offers a fascinating account of a seldom-seen way of life and reveals their arduous quest to save their buffaloes. Benavav reveals the hopes, fears, hardships, and joys of a people who wonder if there is still a place for them on this planet. Culminating in a daring rescue--Benanav explores larger truths about the murkier sides of conservationism, asking vital questions: Can humans be natural, native parts of environmental ecosystems, or are they by definition invasive species? Does removing native tribes from an ecosystem pull one thread of a natural tapestry, pulling others along with it in a dangerous chain reaction?
Laced with accounts of indigenous cultures from India to Yellowstone, from Jordan to Kenya, Himalaya Bound both celebrates and mourns an ancient way of life, and reveals an unlikely battleground in the fight to save the planet.