Jaywant Govind Dukhande


Some people cannot serve enough. Take JayantGovindDukhande. He joined the Mumbai Police in 1985 as a constable to serve the people. In spite of a demanding job, he has always found time and patience to reach out to others.

Today, this 49-year-old Sub Inspector has more than lived up to his name. Jaywant – the victorious – Dukhande has risen above the call of the daily roster to pamper his passion of conserving nature and wildlife to do for people and for the natural world.

Beginning young, he loved to rescue snakes, birds, small mammals and reptiles only to rehabilitate them back safely in the wild. Doing for others is not new to Jaywant. He has spent years training school children skills like gymnastics, Yoga, malkhamb and taught them body building. He would even take them rock climbing. During his interaction with children, he would make them aware about nature and about how to be kind to the environment and to save wildlife.

1986 was a watershed year for Jaywant. On a nature trek with children at Borivali National Park in Maharashtra, during his off-time from work he spotted a snake resting in the hollow of a tree. He caught the snake and showed it to the children. However, conscious of the fact that creatures of the wild are best left free, he released it in the wild. His interest kindled, Jaywant began attending lectures on snakes. As his interest increased, he began rescuing snakes and studying their behaviour before releasing them in the wild, where they truly belong.

Gradually, he began to share his knowledge through awarnessprogrammes in schools, villages and in slum areas. He addressed special children and colleagues in the Mumbai Police, especially the RRP commando to increase their awareness and dispel misconceptions about snakes. As part of the package, he also speaks on basic first aid in case of a snake bite. Like most other unfortunate incidents, timely intervention can save many a life and this knowledge imparted by him must have saved many.

Few can appreciate this more than Jaywant. In 2008, while rescuing a Russel’s Viper from a children’s garden, he was bitten by the snake. His left index finger was damaged permanently but not his spirit.

Discharged from hospital six days later, he has never stopped rescuing snakes and other forms of wildlife.

Rescue work can sound simple but requires a certain amount of expenditure. With no official help from any quarters, Jaywant, encouraged by an environmentally aware family and especially a wife who supports his passion wholeheartedly, has been funding his own work. She has never stood in the way of Jaywant sharing his knowledge and expertise with their young son TejasJaywantDukhande who also rescues small snakes and birds.

What does the future hold for Jaywant? He may not have many years till he retires from the police force but he certainly has no plans to retire from serving the environment. He hopes to continue study the subject of his passion so that he can do much more to conserve Nature and wildlife on a larger scale even while he makes people aware of the issues concerning the environment.

For this selfless, relentless endeavour to serve and save the natural environment and to educate people so that they do more good than harm, JaywantDukhande has been selected a winner of the Wipro – Nature Forever Society Sparrow Award 2013.

jaywant dukhande