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Humans of Wanderlust #28: Bablu Ali – Jeep safari driver in Kaziranga national park

Bablu Ali is 43 years old. He is from Kohora. Initially, he hustled for many years in a corporate job. Due to the strict and rigid working culture, he left the job at Jorhat.

Later, he felt he could be a good safari expert in the Kaziranga National Park. After getting a vehicle on credit, he started taking people for a jeep safari in Kaziranga.

He has a wife and daughter. He belongs to Kohora which is the gateway to the central side of Kaziranga. After staying with his parents, he moved to Jorhat to work. Later he shifted back to Kohora and started driving a jeep for the safari in Kaziranga.


Profession and career

After hustling for 8 years in Jorhat, Ali finally decided to leave the corporate world and get into something where he belongs. It has been nine years now doing the jeep safari in Kaziranga National Park.

“I have been raised in this jungle environment and we were always in favour of conserving the forest and wildlife. For me, this place is like a home garden where all these animals and plants are like my family. I have good knowledge about this place when I was working here as a caretaker before I had the corporate job,” he said.

Kaziranga Jeep Safari

Later when Ali shifted to Jorhat, he saw the life of the corporate world and their traps to get things done. “I worked in sales for eight years and was getting a good pay, but not the satisfaction. It was disturbing my mental and physical health. Then I decided to go back to my village and live peacefully. After coming back even I was unsure what I would do, as I had family responsibilities over me,” he explained.

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But one of Ali’s old friends who were in charge in Kaziranga suggested he drive a jeep safari in Kaziranga and be like an expert for the jungle to tourists. “That day until today, I never looked back. I have been doing this job as a responsibility to preserve the forest and wildlife. I even attend some programs conducted by the Wildlife committee of Kaziranga National Park,” he added.

How has tourism helped you grow?

“Tourism has always been part of my life and my work. I tend to get an average of 20 tourists or more in a single day. I never felt any kind of monotony in this job. Every day is different and every tourist is not similar. I learn from people as well. My communication skills got more strong talking to tourists. From the start, I always had an interest in sharing my knowledge with the outer world. This was a suitable platform to achieve that,” Ali said with a smile.

Daily different people come and ask about the current scenario of Kaziranga wildlife. “I tell them the reality of whatever is happening because I feel it’s their right to know the truth of how much the government and wildlife committee is working and taking care of the place. Compared to other national parks in Assam, Kaziranga has been the most popular and important that holds the indigenous communities of wildlife in itself,” he said.

What kind of travellers come to Kaziranga National Park?

“Every kind of animal enthusiastic person comes over here once in their lifetime. It’s hard to say what kind, but the majority of the people come here as family and solo travellers. Researchers do come a lot for their thesis. They tend to take special permission from the committee to do their research on Kaziranga. Those are my favourite ones because while doing a safari, we exchange knowledge about everything happening in Kaziranga National Park and they share their stories of the outer world,” he said with a huge smile.

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Ali said he finds it very interesting to talk to researchers. “Solo backpackers also come to this place who have an interest in experiencing the jungle life in Kaziranga. We tend to get a lot of foreign people, more than Indians. I feel like this place is a gem for those who want to see the diversity of nature,” he said.

According to you, what is the future of this place?

“I feel in the future, this place will become better because the committee is really doing their best to conserve animals in their home environment. The wildlife had a crucial time earlier when poaching was happening. Now the committee strictly avoids poaching of animals. It has been successful in maintaining law and order,” he said.

Many road accidents used to happen when animals used to cross NH 37. Now the barricades, issuance of challan and control over the speed limit has been set up to avoid the collapse of animals. Many people are supporting the conservative measure for the Kaziranga National Park and forcing the industrial estate to move away from Golaghat district. Many cases have been filed against the company near this national park and few of them have been successfully moved away but not everyone.

Sadly, the paperwork happens on paper but ground reality continues. With the help of many environmentalists, now the place is getting a lot of attention for conserving this homeland for many species.

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3 Responses
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