Jainand Gurjar reviews Tiger Season by Gargi Rawat (Published by Penguin EBury Press, 2023)
Tiger Season is the debut book by senior news anchor and environment reporter Gargi Rawat. This is the story of Sunaina Joshi, who is a reporter with a leading news channel- NNTV. She feels passionate about reporting on wildlife and the environment but her field forces her to work on popular, mass-driven issues, until Vikram, a Bollywood star kid who is trying to revive his image after a Drug Scandal approaches their channel to do a Tiger Campaign Project.
What follows up next is a Tiger Conservation Campaign which leads to a lot of controversies, having Sunaina as the epicentre. The rest of the book deals with how Sunaina handles it all!
We encourage you to buy books from a local bookstore. If that is not possible, please use the links on the page and support us. Thank you.
Media and Journalism
The main protagonist of the story- Sunaina, is passionate about Wildlife Journalism, but because of how the industry works, has to report on urban-centric, health-related issues. She gets a chance to cover what should be covered in the first place not because of the importance it carries, but because a celebrity is attached to it, and the issue will get highlighted because of a celebrity’s stardom.
It shows the real face of Journalism and Media in our country, how the issues that need to be highlighted are not covered because they don’t “sell” and shows what the people care to see as well. It shows that even for an issue of Mankind, it needed the involvement of a celebrity to be covered.
The issue of man-wildlife conflict is very sensitively represented in the story. Man-wildlife conflict does not only create problems for humans because of the loss of lives and resources but does equally if not more to the animals and wildlife as well, forcing them to leave their natural habitat. Thus, in between all the chaos, drama, social media, and the presence of a star, Sunaina finds her way to mark the presence of this conflict in the mainstream media and through this to the people, as there is a need for joint efforts from the people who suffer, people who care and the power holders.
The problems of displacement and resettlement, distribution of resources, rights of native communities, and pilgrimages in biodiversity zones are highlighted and form the core of the book.
The story provides multiple little moments where the characters feel the intensity of the issue at different levels, in different ways, and try to understand the depth of it. It makes it more grounded, and relatable and gives a well-researched perspective, which is the need of the time.
Impact of Social Media
Social media plays a crucial role in the story. Having a Bollywood star as a protagonist brings the theme of social media naturally. From the trends on Twitter and Instagram where even a picture with a celebrity creates sensation, to the troll culture and people using it for multiple reasons, the book shows each dimension equally.
Gargi Rawat provided insights into how social media impacts each person differently, especially between celebrities and normal people, and how there is a disparity in it, creating a big impact on their lives.
Bollywood, Stardom and Controversies
Gargi Rawat highlights how things are done and what is behind the scenes of what the masses see on their screen. The stardom and the controversies that we see in general are just one side of it but in reality, it’s layered.
The character of Vikram and his team shows how the film industry works in their projects and how there is a distinction and their world and the world of the mass of the population.
Gargi Rawat also highlighted how controversies are perceived and worked upon in the entertainment industry, sometimes created by themselves and sometimes guiding them to do something completely different.
Recommended Reads: Radhika: 1 Novel & Astonishing Tale of Abuse and Belief
Gargi Rawat also shows the culture, heritage, and past of Rajasthan, and how people are still carrying its legacy. It shows the difference in the lives of people in metropolitan cities and rural areas. It talks about how some people create havoc and drama just to be in the limelight and derive money and power out of it. The romance angle in the book is also an important aspect and gives a breath of fresh air to the story and the characters.
I felt that the characterization of Vikram was very polished and could have given more layers. Gargi Rawat also raised the issue of tribal communities in the first chapter itself, but it didn’t bring much to the story as it didn’t get much attention. The theme of social media seems a little dragged as well and could have been a little more crisper.
Final Verdict on Gargi Rawat’s Writing
Overall, just like how Sunaina tried to find the balance between the “Headlines worth news drama” and the “News worth making headlines”, Gargi Rawat maintained the balance of making the story entertaining for readers and highlighting the environmental issues efficiently and effectively as needed.
Social media is such a book and bane at the same time. There’s so much information one can disseminate instantly, as well as get instantly. But then there’s also so much aggression and negativity. And when it came to personal promotion, many get a kick from the number of followers and likes, the random praise and compliments. They literally get a dopamine kick that sends a happy message to their brain, but soon it becomes a need.Tiger Season by Gargi Rawat
Have you read this entertaining read based on controversies and wildlife conservation? What do you think of it? Drop a comment below and let us know!