For forty four days, Michael Benanav, an American writer and freelance photographer for The New York Times, lived and travelled with the Van Gujjars, a forest-dwelling tribe of nomadic buffalo herders in northern India, on their annual spring migration to the Himalayas. He went to document their traditional way of life, but there was trouble on the trail - the Uttarakhand forest department threatened to block nomadic families, whose ancestral summer meadows are within Govind National Park, from the pastures they rely on for the survival of their herds. A fascinating account of life on the road with nomads, this book tells the story of one family's quest to save its buffaloes and itself. More than a rare glimpse into the hidden world of a tribe of vegetarian Muslims who risk their lives for their animals, this is an intimate picture of the hopes, fears, hardships and joys of people who wonder if there's still a place for them on this planet. It's an important exploration of the relationship between humankind and wild lands - and a tale of friendship that bridges two very different cultures.
About the Author
Michael Benanav is a writer and photographer whose work appears in The New York Times, Geographical Magazine, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, CNN.com, and other publications. He is the author of two previous, critically acclaimed books: Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, and The Luck of the Jews: An Incredible Story of Loss, Love, and Survival in the Holocaust. He lives in a small village not far from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. He visits India frequently.