Kolkata: Although kings were known to be big hunters, royal families could have played a major role in wildlife conservation had they been given powers by the Indian government, says one of the members of the erstwhile royal Pataudi family of Bhopal.
Conservationist and former international cricketer Saad Bin Jung, who is the nephew of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, has weaved a fictional epic tale of how the lives of royalty, tribals and wildlife are intertwined in his new book 'Matabele Dawn'.
Cutting across timelines and geographical boundaries, the book has two protagonists - one from the Matabele tribe of Africa during the 1800s and another from the royal family of India born after World War II.
"One of the protagonists Saaz is facing exactly the same problem which my family has faced. He can be my cousin, my brother," Saad told PTI after the launch of his book at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) here.
Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan is his cousin.
The royal descendants could have played a major role in conservation but India lost that fabric of monarchical leadership who had a deep relationship with tribals and wildlife, Saad said.
"When the royal families amalgamated with the government of India they lost all their powers. A culture carried on for thousands of years got wiped out completely because the politicians were worried about their vote bank. Some royals converted their palaces into hotels while others went away to far off places," he said.
Saad has been working with tribals since 1986 when he gave up cricket following health issues. He is the author of two books - 'Wild Tales From the Wild' and 'Subhan & I'.
Besides running a wildlife resort in Bandipur National Park of Karnataka, he has been organising fishing camps and jungle safaris in African forests.
His new book covers diverse cultures and traditions of both tribals and royals and also the issues faced by them.
"India doesn't have a conservation law. It has a protection law which creates conflict by pushing the people away. In Africa, because the tribe itself forms the government, they have maintained their old culture and traditions," he said.
Saad is now trying to promote the book in Africa also.