Here is the story of a man who started as a poacher, but the risks involved in illegal hunting and the helplessness of innocent animals turned him into a conservationist.
Maheswar Basumatary was forced into poaching animals in the 90s when as a 19-year-old he faced the daunting prospect of supporting his family during the days of Bodo insurgency.
But Basumatary soon came to realise the risks involved in poaching and was overcome by the helplessness of the animals. He ultimately turned away from it to become a passionate protector of wildlife and environment.
Known as 'Ontai' among his associates, Basumatary said since he knew the ins and outs of the Manas sanctuary very well, his service was sought by the poachers.
"I was married at the age of 19 and without any means to support my family, I had no way-out, but to join the poachers. My wife, however, left me when she found out that my source of income was not honest," he regretted.
Political situation in the region began to improve and in 2005 he surrendered before the authorities of the Forest Department and Bodoland Territorial Council.
He embarked on his new journey when he joined one of the Community-based Organisations (CBO), tasked with reviving the Manas National Park. More....