From The New Indian Express
He was born in deep jungles and brought-up in the surroundings of wildlife in isolated forest areas. Though 18-year-old Beeru Kalu Kolpate did not have friends like Baloo and Bagira, several persons still believe him to be Mowgli of Western Ghats in Khanapur taluk.
Beeru, who was born in Maleli, a hamlete in Khanapur jungles, got shifted to Talewadi village just about 2 years ago. His family was the only one which was residing in Maleli since 15 years. Only after the death of Beeru’s father which happened 3 years ago, Kolpate family thought to shift themselves to some place which is identified as human habitat.
Speaking to the Express, Beeru recalled that he was just about 3 year-old, when he saw villagers of his village shifting, except his family. He said that the village had no power supply, road or any other basic aminities. `I had been to school for a couple of days while I had been to a relative’s place at Chapoli village in Khanapur taluk. Jungle itself was my school and all I learnt was to survive among the wild,’ he said.
Beeru said that Maleli village had a population of about 30 villagers. He informed that to reach his village one has to walk kilometers together, crossing 2 rivers viz, Mahadai and Bandura. And the wildlife around kept us more isolated, as due to the same people avoided to visit Maleli, he added. Beeru said that all the villagers of Maleli shifted to Chapoli village about 15 years ago. However, Kalu Kolpate, father of Beeru took a firm decision to continue residing in that village.
Maleli village, which had a population of 32 villagers, was just left with 8 people which were of Kolpate family. It comprised Parents of Beeru along with their 3 daughters and 3 sons. Kolpate and brothers of Beeru were working in Islampur of Maharashtra as masons and visited their village once in 4 to 6 months. All the 3 sisters of Beeru were married in human habitat areas of Khanapur. Beeru and his mother were the only two who resided in the village, where nothing was available.
According to the localites, as Beeru was brought in such an atmosphere, he knows the wildlife and their attitude very well. It seems he can smell them from far away places and so gets alerted, they said. After Beeru’s mother was suffering from health problem and his father died, he shifted her to his relative at Talewadi village located in Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary limits. He was the only one person left to reside in Maleli village. It was not new for Beeru to watch tiger, bears, leopards, snakes and the list goes on. He had managed to cultivate vegetables in a portion of the land and was full time engaged in protecting it from the wildlife.
The relatives of Beeru managed to convince him about 2 years ago and shifted him to Talewadi, which is resided by just 7 families. He now works as a labourer in a field at Degaon village near Talewadi for safeguarding crops from wildlife, for which he is specialised.