Bishnoi Project

Exposition of “Contemporary Modern India”
in the Cultural Ministry in the garden of Palais Royal.

For over 500 years, men and women living in the desert of Thar in Rajasthan, India, have been willing to give their lives to protect wild animals and trees with which they live in total symbiosis until considering them as members of their family. In our world where environmental issues are always more pressing, Bishnoi age-old traditions can certainly teach us something.

Often called the world’s first environmentalists, they follow 29 principles laid out in 1485 by their guru Jambheshwar, when he founded the Bishnoi
sect after a severe drought. The name is derived from Bis (meaning 20) and Noi (9). Several of those rules are dedicated to environmental protection and compassion for living being.
Indeed, each family plants every year new trees, uses only dry wood for its needs, creates a water tank to collect rainwater and devotes a part of its harvest to their “children” (black buck, gazelle, peacock, pigeon,…) in order to maintain balance in the desert. Such is the dedication of those strict vegetarians that they nurse ill or injured animals and never keep dogs for fear that they could prey one. Whereas Bishnoi women are known to breast-feed motherless fawns, almost every year a man dies while chasing violently a poacher.

The corridor in Montparnasse train station welcomes artistic and cultural frescos for passengers during their time on the travelator between Montparnasse train station and Subway stations (Line 4 and 6).
Since 10 years, the RATP (Paris Subway company) is involded in sustainable development and ecology especially through the RER Luxembourg train station: the platforms host spectacular scenographies by artists and institutions to increase public awareness of environment and Nature.