×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Hope and belief save bats in Badurtala

Last Updated : 19 November 2018, 09:27 IST
Last Updated : 19 November 2018, 09:27 IST

Follow Us :

Comments
ADVERTISEMENT

Aren't bats storm-resistant? This question was quite uppermost on the minds of environmentalists, who were shocked over a recent news of deaths of a few thousands of these flying mammals due to hot weather conditions in Asansol in Barddhaman district in West Bengal.

However, there was some good news for them too as villagers had taken initiatives to save bats. Hundreds of thousands of bats were saved by the residents of a remote village, Patsabdalpur in North 24 Parganas, who provided food and water regularly. Some enterprising men  even organised pumps to spray water on the large banyan and peepul trees, that are home for bats for several hundred years.

Asansol is predominantly an industrial belt. Also, the hot weather conditions swept over a large part of South Bengal. The presence of massive industrial units  contributed significantly to rise in temperatures. While there has not been any systematic replantation drive, residents could do little to save these bats when mercury rose over 40 degree celsius. By the time a team of environmentalists rushed to the spot, most of the bats living in an area, had died and the rest probably flew away in search of safer shelter.

In sharp contrast, a few thousands of bats have made a couple of old banyan and a peepul trees their home for a few hundred years at the centre of Patsabdalpur village and next to a temple of Lord Shiva. Villagers claim the  aerial prop roots of  have  enlarged the base and helped the bats.

 Because of the presence of Shiva idol, the temple was  christened as ‘Panchananda’. According to the veteran priest of the village temple, Narayan Mukherjee, the temple dates back to the regime of Maharaja Krishna Chandra of Nadia who ruled the region about 250 years ago. He founded the temple in the village. The Maharaja used to worship Lord Panchananda, an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the land belonged to him.
The myth runs that Krishna Chandra had a dream where he saw bats protecting the temple in the village and on waking up, he ordered his men to build the temple in close vicinity of the trees. Slowly, the village became locally famous and acquired the name Badur Tala (home of badurs which in Bengal means bats).

Undoubtedly, superstitions fly thick and fast among the locals irrespective of religion, caste and creed. They believe the bats are signs of prosperity and good tidings and remove all ominous portents. Badurtala has become a holy place where people assemble each year on the 13th Baishakh (first month of Bengali calendar) for observing the foundation day of the Panchananda temple. Special pujas are offered by the attending villagers. Besides puja, the natural beauty of the place is heightened by the sight of thousands of bats hanging from the branches of the large trees.
“We’ve witnessed several nor'westers during our lifetime; but nothing could have dislodged them from their ancient dwelling,” the priest pointed out. Very recently, the local administration chopped off some branches sheltering these flying mammals to facilitate road construction.

“The bats didn't raise a flutter; instead, they quietly flew away,” he said. “The shocked villagers instantly raised a hue and cry, forcing the administration to abandon the plan of pruning the tree.” Slowly,within a couple of days, bats returned to their traditional home. Badurtala has thus remained the same, with the bats flying in and out every evening and night. Naturally, their human keepers heaved a sigh of relief.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 12 June 2010, 16:37 IST

Deccan Herald is on WhatsApp Channels | Join now for Breaking News & Editor's Picks

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT