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Neel is not happy about the ambitions his parents harbor for him. He is intelligent, and they want him to win the scholarship that will take him away from the Sunderbans and educate him in Kolkota. But Neel loves home, and the Sunderbans. When a tiger cub goes missing, the divisions in Neel’s family run deep. Baba joins Mr Gupta’s search party so he can earn extra money to pay for Neel’s tuition; Neel and his sister know that Mr Gupta will sell the cub for big bucks.
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins is a lovely book on the precious Sunderbans, the endangered tiger, and the people who struggle to make a living in the tough region. The Sunderbans is a large mangrove forest that lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super confluence of the Ganges, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh and West Bengal.The Indian side is made up of 103 islands, and people live on 54 of those. The Sundarbans is home to unique flora and fauna, and most importantly to the Bengal Tiger, that is a man-eater in these parts.
Books such as Tiger Boy are a pleasure. Not only is the story telling impeccable, the book also talks about the multi-layered problem of the Sunderbans. In Sunderbans, tigers, men and the land itself are under threat. The tigers and men are in conflict because of disappearing habitats for them both; the islands are disappearing not only from natural causes like cyclones and floods, but also from human greed. Deforestation is leading to soil erosion and loss of precious sundari trees.
Mitali Perkins also touches upon the plight of young girls who crave for education and are denied it because of poverty and lack of resources. She brings forth the helplessness of the Sunderbans people who pray to Bon Bibi for safety and must struggle to keep their heads over water all the time. And why our young may set the wrongs right!
A lovely book…and a must read!!