A profound truth of the wild, and the world at large, is that we are a part of it, not owners of it.
Is there any animal we love and hate as much as the Royal Bengal Tiger? Tigers are feared and poached, but they also endure, becoming pin-ups for candlelight marches. Indian elephants are trapped by railway lines and fences, but are reclaiming their bodies and colonizing new areas in central India. And in our dirty cities, the sparkling Plain Tiger Butterfly flourishes as one of our last links to wildlife.
Wild animals exist beyond our control. They are harmless, only occasionally dangerous. They live with us, or in spite of us. Those who know them understand that wild animals require acceptance for what they are, not enslavement for what we want them to be.
In Wild and Wilful, we meet fifteen iconic Indian species in need of conservation and heart. The author explores what these creatures need, and how they exert agency and decision-making. With an equal emphasis on human and animal, science and skilled prose, Wild and Wilful reveals the magic of the wild in our daily lives. It will take you from fear to wonder.
Neha Sinha is an award-winning wildlife conservationist. She has studied biodiversity conservation at Oxford University, after winning an INLAKS scholarship, and works with the Bombay Natural History Society at present. She is also a noted columnist and has taught environmental politics at Delhi University. Wild animals are her favourite, followed closely by books.
"Wild and Wilful, a collection of evocative essays, reflects Neha Sinha's passion and empathy for India's wildlife and the dichotomy of our relationship with Nature. Her experiences with leopards and mugger crocodiles, and conservationists and bureaucrats bring joy, pathos, and inspiration. Her skill with language is as beautiful as the natural world she writes about."
– Janaki Lenin, author of Every Creature Has a Story and My Husband and Other Animals
"Neha Sinha is a leopardess with a pen. Nothing merges natural history, observation, politics, and even cultural identity like her writing, which has the rare ability to connect with and move readers of all ages. Her vast experience in environmental policy never fails to reflect in the stories she writes, and actually enriches the story-telling despite 'policy' being such a boring word!"
– Rohan Chakravarty, cartoonist and founder of Green Humour and author of Bird Business
"A 2021 must read. Neha Sinha weaves magic with her pen and heart. Neha's relationship with the animals is personal, her knowledge rooted in science, her writing powerful and lyrical."
– Prerna Singh Bindra, author of The Vanishing