Many people these days claim to love animals, who really do love animals . But more than this, there are some people who are so serious about animals that they spend their whole life in their care only. There was one such person who dedicated his whole life only to study about birds and give them new life. The name of that great bird-lover is ‘Salim Ali’, who is famous in India as ‘Bird Man of India’. He was an Indian ornithologist, wildlife conservationist and naturalist. Because of his detailed information about birds, he is also called ‘Encyclopedia of Birds’.
Early life of Salim Ali:
Salim Ali’s full name is Salim Moinuddin Abdul Ali. He was born on 12 number 1896 in a Sulemani Bohra Muslim family of Bombay. His full name was Salim Moinuddin Abdul Ali. He was the ninth child of his parents. By the time the child was one year old, his father Moinuddin died. His mother could not bear the grief of this and years after his father’s death, the shadow of his mother Zeenat-ul-Nisha also disappeared from his head. After this, the responsibility of looking after him and his siblings came to his uncle Aniruddin Tyabji and aunt Hanida, who were maintaining themselves in the Khetwadi area of Mumbai. After this, the responsibility of taking care of him and his siblings fell on his uncle Aniruddin Taimabji and aunt Hamida. He was living his happy life in Khetwadi area of Mumbai.
Education of Salim Ali:
Salim and all his siblings had their early education at the same school, the Janata Bible Medical Mission School (High School) at Sirgam and further studies at St. Levi’s, Mumbai. Since childhood, Salim Ali was suffering from severe headache. Then one day someone suggested to him that he should go to the dry air of Sindh, maybe it would help him to recover from it and following his suggestion, he went to Sindh with his uncle. He returned to Mumbai again after living in Sindh for many years and then in the year 1913, he passed the 10th examination from Bombay University with great difficulty.
Scientific life of Salim Ali:
Once in his childhood, Salim killed a bird sitting in a tree with his play gun. After which Salim picked up the bird and took it to his uncle and showed it to him. They were shocked to see the yellow spot on the bird’s neck. But even uncle could not recognize the bird. Salim’s curiosity to know about the bird was not ending. Then took that bird to the office of the Natural History Society. Where then bird adjective w. s. Millard and Salim asked him about the bird but Millard did not tell him anything.
Millard took them to a room without telling them and showed them many birds, which was a male bird and its name was Baya, whose throat is yellow in the rainy season only in the rainy season. Knowing about that bird, his further attachment to the bird stopped. To know the stars of the bird more closely, he started feeling restless.
His first year of college was full of difficulties. After which Salim left his studies and went to Tevom Verma to look after the family’s wolfram mining and timber business. Visiting Verma was his most memorable moment as he got to see many birds in the dense forests here. About seven years later, he earned a degree in zoology, after which he was appointed as their guide to the Bombay Natural History Society’s museum. As a guide, he started telling people about the scared bird. It was during this work that he realized that information could still be obtained from him. When its living conditions are closely observed. For which he went to Germany and took it from the university ornithologist Dr. Durbin Straussman. After living in Germany for about a year, he returned to Mumbai, but by then his job as a guide in the museum had been terminated.
Salim was very upset due to not having a place to stay. But Salim’s luck turned out to be good that his Pali Tehminaali had a small house in Mahim, where Salim got a place to stay. There was a tree in Tehmina’s house on which the Tama bird had built its house. Salim used to sit under the tree all day watching all the antics of that bird and write them in the notebook. He published all the activities and behavior of tama bird in the form of a research essay. He wrote “The Book of Indian Birds” which was published in the year 1941 on the basis of an essay published in the year 1930 which was very important for his fame. After that he started writing more books about birds continuously. In the year 1948, Salim and world famous scientist Dinlan Ripley started a project in which they wrote information about the birds of India and Pakistan in 10 languages. The book named “Hand Book of the Birds of Indian section Pakistan”. He has written about many incidents that happened in his life in his book (autobiography) “The Paul of Rue Sparrow”.
Dr. Salim Ali has played an important role in the field of natural science and ornithology. For his incomparable contribution, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1976 by the government, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University and Andhra University. In the year 1990, Salim Ali Center for Orniology and Natural History Center was established by the Government of India in his honor at a place named Aneketti near Coimbatore.
He has been battling prostate cancer for a long time. Salim Ali died in 1987 at the age of 91. The Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACCN) was established in Coimbatore by the Government of India in 1990.
The Government of Goa established the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and renamed the BNHS location in Bombay as Dr. Salim Ali Chowk.