India is blessed with a unique variety of fauna, not to mention other forms of life. If one were to look at its mega fauna alone, the country boasts of lion, tiger, leopard, elephant, gaur, wild buffalo and rhinoceros—more specifically the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, India’s unicorn.
Two books have preceded this one in “The Story” series: one on Asia’s lions and the other on Asia’s elephants. The Story of India’s Unicorns, written by three multidisciplinary experts in the fields of natural history, art history and archaeology, is an attempt at recording the history of the animal from prehistoric times to the present, as was done in the other two books. Lucidly written and aptly illustrated, it will be of interest to the historian, the art historian, the wildlife enthusiast and the general reader.
The natural habitats of all species of fauna and flora are under threat as a result of the present and ever-increasing pressure of the growing human population which stands today at 1.32 billion in India. The Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and it is entirely up to India, Nepal and possibly Bhutan to ensure that this species survives for all time. While the rhino at present enjoys a “return” of sorts in its remaining strongholds, it is hoped that this book will generate awareness among a wider audience of the need for continuing and proactive protection of the animal and its habitat.
Divyabhanusinh is the author of The End of a Trail: The Cheetah in India and The Story of Asia’s Lions. He is actively involved in conservation and was the president of WWF–India and Vice President of Bombay Natural History Society. He is a member of the Species Survival Commission, Cat Specialist Group of World Conservation Union (IUCN).
Asok Kumar Das is a senior art historian specializing in the study of Mughal art and culture. He has worked in and visited various museums and libraries around the world to examine their South Asian collections. Author of many papers, articles and books, he has recently been a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow, a Tagore National Fellow for Cultural Research, and a Scholar-in-Residence at Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi.
Shibani Bose is currently a visiting scholar in the Department of History, University of Minnesota. She received her MPhil and PhD from the Department of History, University of Delhi, and has taught at Miranda House, University of Delhi, and also at the University of St.Thomas, Minnesota. Her publications include essays in edited volumes, and her book Mega Mammals in Ancient India: Elephants, Tigers, and Rhinos is forthcoming.