An Angel For Animals: Roxanne Davur…Karjat

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” said Gandhiji. In so much Roxanne Davur contributes greatly by having realized her love for animals into a full time occupation with ‘Probably Paradise’, Trust for Animal Welfare. Parsi Times Reporter Binaisha M. Surti catches up with the inspiring Roxanne Davur, who lives by and urges us all to adhere to her philosophy, ‘be kind and compassionate towards all creatures’.

After a successful career in the Hotel and Airlines Industry, Roxanne decided to dedicate herself to animal welfare. Known as the kind-hearted samaritan of animals in need, Roxanne trained as a master trainer in Animal Welfare in Delhi and started off working in Ooty as an Animal Welfare Inspector and a Race Course Inspector. After serving in Ooty for 12 years, she moved to Karjat, amid the lap of nature, and founded the animal shelter, ‘Probably Paradise, Trust for Animal Welfare’. This shelter provides injured, abandoned and handicapped animals a dignified life and ample space where they move about freely.

An avid animals rights activitst, Roxanne and her family do not believe in buying or selling animals as one shouldn’t ‘pay’ for companionship. Her love for animals was inspired by her father who would rescue and bring home animals. In fact, her mother even predicted that she would land up with a lot of animals!

Roxanne moved into the shelter on Christmas Eve in 2011, with the staunch belief that every living creature needs to live comfortably with dignity and respect. Today it houses 131 animals including dogs, cats, horses, bulls, a pig and donkeys, with the latest member joining this family is ‘Jehangir’, a baby donkey born a few days ago!

Starting an animal shelter as a passion project is never easy. Roxanne used her own savings to start this shelter. However the daily requirements of food, medicines, electricity, repairs, gas, etc, call for contributions and donations in cash or kind. “The shelter gives priority to all animals who are helpless and cannot survive in their normal environment. They need to have a secure home where they can live happily,” says Roxanne, who also shared what went into the day to day running of the shelter. “The shelter is a cross between a joint family and a boarding school! The morning begins with feeding the animals, giving them medication, cleaning up, and then preparing food for the evening. The same routine follows every day.” What Roxanne loves most about it all is seeing animals develop their distinct character.

When asked about her future plans for the shelter, Roxanne says, “We have plans to expand the shelter. I need to get some shelters and stables up, get a decent supply of electricity, rain-water harvesting and get a better rescue-vehicle which can be used to transport the animals. In the future, I’m hoping to see young volunteers taking over from me and continuing the good work.”

Roxanne is also much sought after for legal advice and is currently working on a case against the use of little ponies carrying heavy goods to the hill station, Matheran. Another hobby she nurtures is art and painting, with a friend in the locality. They get together on Thursday mornings and paint together.

When asked what is the driving force that keeps her going, she says, “I love and enjoy being around all the animals, as they bring a smile and chuckle to me every morning. I consider myself lucky to be living in a paradise surrounded by nature’s beauty!”.

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Rabindranath Tagore’s poem Chitto jetha bhoyshunyo in Bengali and the poet’s translation of it in English…Where the mind is without fear.

Santiniketan: Visva-Bharati has decided to present a replica of the first edition of Rabindranath Tagore’s anthology of poems – Gitanjali – published in 1912 in London, among other souvenirs, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Santiniketan on May 25.

This will be Modi’s first visit to Santiniketan as the chancellor of the university.

The university authorities will also present to Modi a replica of the original manuscript of Tagore’s poem Chitto jetha bhoyshunyo both in Bengali and the poet’s translation of it in English (Where the mind is without fear) which is part of Gitanjali.

The first edition of Gitanjali (Song offerings) was published in London by the Chiswick Press for The India Society in 1912.

"This edition of Gitanjali which is in the archive of Visva-Bharati, is actually an author’s copy. Rabindranath himself made corrections on a few pages of the book before it was submitted to the Nobel committee," a Rabindra Bhavana official said.