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Tiger Widow  by Naymuzzaman Prince Appearance:
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The Sundarbans, pride of Bangladesh, home of the magnificent Royal Bengal Tiger, rarely seen, hidden in the jungles.

But now as the tigers, which roam through the vast mangrove forests, are coming into closer contacts with humans, attacks are on the rise. It is estimated that every year 120 people are killed by tigers in the Sundarbans.

Climate change is causing accelerated rise of sea level and an increase in the salinity of the waters of southern Sundarbans. Many farmers who cannot survive on farming anymore are forced to venture deep into the forest for fishing, honey collecting and becoming particularly susceptible for tiger attacks. Conservationists working with the local villagers who have lived through tiger attacks, trying to persuade them that they need to preserve their whole eco-system if they are to sustain their way of life.

The villagers around the Sundarbans turn to their local goddess Bonbibi (Lady of the Forest) for safety. In tiny thatched roof shrines, Hindus and Muslims alike pray to the goddess for protection, before they venture back into the forest.

Superstition among the locals is enormous. A woman whose husband has left for the Sundarbans, can not comb her hair, cook in the middle of the day, wash clothes, or clean her home. If her husband gets killed by a tiger she is viewed as harbingers of bad luck, and people avoid her. She is turned out from her husband's home and her parents also refuse to give her shelter. The woman then has no choice but to seek provision for her and her children by herself.


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