Bishnois lived with trees and wild animals in the Thar Desert
with complete harmony for centuries and have been fiercely
protecting the trees & wild life in their areas to follow the
teachings of their Guru Jambheshwar Ji.
This was not an easy task especially in the desert where water
was a luxury commodity and trees could fetch some extra revenue
but for Bishnois protection of wild life was a Dharma
They kept 2 principles (out of 29) of Bishnoism, “Jeev Daya
Palni”(be compassionate to all living beings) and “Runkh Leelo
Nahi Ghave” (Not to cut green trees) always on top priority.
Bishnois appealed to rulers/kings to make rules for banning tree
cutting and hunting in their areas and fought cases in the
courts to ensure the rules are followed by all.
But in the arid desert facing continuous draughts, the trees and
wild animals were always temptations for others.
Time to time their faith was tested by rulers, poachers and
others but Bishnois always protected the wild life even at the
cost of their lives by braving the bullets.
Scores of Bishnois have sacrificed their lives for protecting
wild life in Rajasthan.
Bishnois are extremely aggressive about their pacifism. Foremost
in the community's pantheon of heroes are men and women who gave
up their lives trying to save trees and animals.
In 1604 AD, two Bishnoi women from Ramsari village, Karma and
Gora, sacrificed their lives in an effort to prevent the felling
of Khejri (Prosopis cineraria) trees.
In 1730 AD, 363 Bishnois lead by a woman “Amrita Devi Bishnoi”
sacrificed their lives to oppose cutting of Khejari trees in
Khejarli village of Jodhpur. She hugged the tree and said, “"Sir
Santhe Runkh Rahe to bhi sasto jan" mean if trees can be saved
at the cost of our heads then it is a good deal for us.
These trees were being cut at the order of then ruler Raja Abhay
Singh s/o Maharaja Ajit Singh for firewood to burn lime stone to
construct his palace.
Name of all the martyrs with gotra(sub-cast) & village name are
listed in our other web site :-
Bishnoi Martyrs of Khejarli Saka
On 12.08.2000, Ganga Ram Bishnoi (35 yr) s/o Phoosa Ram Isharwal
village Cheri/Chirai (Ekal Khori), teh. Osian,Dist. Jodhpur,
sacrificed his life while chasing poachers Pepa Ram & others to
save deer(chinkara). He is survived by wife, two sons and three
Ganga Ram Bishnoi was the sole supporter for his family.
Honorable President of India awarded him “Shauraya Ckakra Award”
Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests conferred
him (posthumously) with national award “Amrita Devi Bishnoi Wild
Life Protection Award”. His wife Kishni Devi Bishnoi received
this award from then Union Environment & Forest Minister T.R.
Baalu on 29.05.2003.
Government of India (wild life board) awarded him, “Prani
Mittar”(Friend of Animal) Award.
Rajasthan government awarded him (posthumously) “Amrita Devi
Bishnoi Samiriti Award” in 2001.
Government of Maharashtra and other NGOs also awarded him.
On 03.10.1996, Nihal Chand Bishnoi(30 yr) s/o Hanuman ram
Dharnia, village Sawantsar, teh- Dungargarh, Dist- Churu,
sacrificed his life while chasing poaches to save life of black
Rajasthan government awarded him (posthumously) with, “Amrita
Devi Samiriti Award” on 28.08.1997. Government of India awarded
him President’s “Shaurua Chakra” award on 22.09.1999.
A film named, “Willing to Sacrifice” based on his sacrifice won
the award for Best Environmental Film in 5th International
Festivals of Films, held at Bratislava, Slovakia. This can be
watched at the link http://www.jaman.com/a/video/0YGZKij8t43k/
On 17.12.1977, Birbal Ram Bishnoi s/o Bira Ram Khichar village
Lohawat, Dist. Jodhpur, sacrificed his life to save deer from
On 17.05.1963, Bhinya Ram Bishnoi(25yr) s/o Lala Ram Godara,
village Banar, Dist. Jodhpur, sacrificed his life while saving
life of black bucks from poachers.
In year 1950 (shukal14th of kartik month, 2007 VS), two brothers
Hori Singh Bishnoi (23yr) & Ram Gopal Singh Bishnoi (21yr) s/o
Murli Singh chauhan, village Mirpur Mohan Chak, Dist. Moradabad
sacrificed their life in fight with fishers to save fishes from
village pond. In memory of these brothers, a mela(gathering) is
held every year in the village.
On 03.03.1948, Arjun Ram Bishnoi(36 yr) s/o Prabhu Ram Panwar,
village- Bhagtasni, Dist. Jodhpur, sacrificed his life while
saving deer from poachers.
On 12.04.1947, two brothers Chimna Ram Bishnoi(35 yr) & Pratap
Ram Bishnoi(29 yr) s/o Gorkha Ram Ji Bishnoi, village Barasan,
Dist. Barmer sacrificed their life while saving deer from
In year 1543-1616, Rudu Bishnoi, Damu Bishnoi and others in
village Kudsu, Teh. Nokha, Dist. Bikaner sacrificed their life
during fight with Sahib Das Rajput, Kalyan Mal Rajput etc. on
the issue of That(shelter house) to save life of male goats.
On ……(date not known) , Chima Ram Bishnoi s/o Hardan Godara,
village- Rahicha Kallan, Dist. Jodhpur, sacrificed his life
while saving deer at ORAN(sacred mangroves) of his village from
Bishnois tradition of sacrificing their life to protect wild
On October, 1, 1998 Bollywood hero Salman Khan killed black buck
in the night in Kankani Village in Jodhpur but Poonam Chand
Bishnois saw him, noted his vehicle number and informed to
Bhanwar Lal Bishnoi Forest Ranger. A case was booked against
Salman and he got arrested. Many temptations and threats were
made to withdraw the case but honest Bishnoi witnesses and
lawyers held their Dharma above all. Salman Khan spent few days
in jail and then come out on bail. His case is still pending in
A film named, “Willing to Sacrifice” was shown in 5th
International Festivals of Films, TV & Video Programs ENVIRON 99
held at Bratislava, Slovakia and won the award for Best
Environmental Film. This film can be watched at the following