India is celebrating the super success of the achievements of epic proportions of the female athletes, and rightly so. But as I surmised life, or at least tried to, many in the country and around the world are bereaved at the loss of a life. The entity who left the world for heavenly abode was/is not a human being, but a tigress, an animal, carnivorous, who devoured on her prey, and who had the temerity, skill, and prowess to fight a 14-foot-long marsh crocodile that too inside the Raj Bagh lake. She emerged victorious as she tore the croc’s throat apart and dragged it away amidst shrubs. The croc had posed a very serious threat to her cubs.

Machli Kitne Dilon Ki Rani
Machli, the Tigress rules millions of hearts, the ‘Lady of the Lake’, was given the name Machli by the late field director Fateh Singh Rathore as she had a fish-like design on her face. She had other monikers, T-16, Queen Mother, and Queen of Ranthambore.

Machli has a postage stamp and many several short films and documentaries to her credit. She found a place on Facebook with several pages dedicated to her. She was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) in 2009.

Machli, The Outstanding Revenue Earner

Machhli was the celebrity tigress. Reportedly, she was the world's most-photographed big cat as numerous wildlife lovers and tourists followed her and took many photographs.

Machhli played a significant role in populating the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, as she was blessed with 11 cubs, including seven females and four males.
According to some estimates, she was responsible for earning the park a huge amount of Rs 65 crores a year for a period of 10 years. That makes Rs 650 crores.

The Last Moments Of Machli

Machli was found in Ama Ghati area in a poor condition on August 13. The forest staff, which cordoned off the area, was monitoring her condition and trying to feed her, but she only consumed water and her condition did not improve. She breathed her last at 9:52 am on Thursday, August 18 surrounded by a horde of her admirers and forest officials.

For many forest officials, Machli's dying was an emotional moment. Often seen hunting and playing around water bodies, experts said her life was a distinct case of evolution in the behaviour of tigers, especially those in Ranthambore.

"Tiger behaviour is evolving and it was best reflected in the case of Machli. She understood the importance of humans and never showed aggression. She was the most photographed tigress ever," said RN Mehrotra, former Field Director of Ranthambore who observed Machli for seven years from 2005 to 2012.

Her cremation was attended by not only field guides and naturalists from Ranthambore tiger reserve but also several forest officials as well as district officials including the Collector.

Hemraj Meena, a naturalist and guide at Ranthambore Tiger reserve for 22 years, who had been following Machli's life since 1997, shared that the last rites were carried out as per traditional customs. "Everyone at Ranthambore wanted her cremation to be like one we would carry out for our loved ones. For us guides and even forest department she was like a senior member of our family and hence an extremely emotional moment," he said.

Tahir Qureshi/ JPN

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