Price: 500 INR
Zahar Futhehally was a birder and conversationalist. He has been bestowed upon with various accolades like the Padma Shri in 1970, the Order of Golden Ark in 1980 and was the longest serving secretary of the Bombay National History Society. He had founded the newsletter for Birdwatchers. ‘The Song of The Magpie Robin’ is the autobiography of this great human being and an environmentalist India has never seen. Under him, World Wildlife Fund and the Project Tiger were launched in India.
Zafar was admired by many and has accompanied many people on expeditions including Salim Ali (“The Birdman of India”) and the co-authors of the book, Shanthi Candola and Ashish Chandola. The authors had met Zafar in 2011 and had finished compiling their book “Of Birds and Birdsong”, a collection of M. Krishnan’s writings and had wanted Zafar to write the foreword. Zafar was a little skeptical about the whole scenario and handed them a masterpiece ten days later. During the compilation of Krishnan’s writing, they had an idea of penning down Zafar’s memoirs. Though hesitant at first, Zafar agreed and thus this masterpiece was born.
This book is a graphic description of Zafar’s lifr, from his childhood when he moved to Bombay, then to Japan (as the family demanded for the business.), his marriage to Lafeeq, his expeditions with Salim Ali and all the work he has accomplished being the secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society. It takes you through the fun ride of Zafar’s life as he was jovial and an enthusiast. From his daughter’s death owing to Cancer to his aptness with technology this book captures all the facets of Zafar’s life. The book has been titled so because Zafar’s favorite bird was the Magpie Robin who was a frequent visitor to his Bombay House in Andheri.
I found the book to be very gripping and surely very inspiring. All in all, the book is a must read for all nature lovers as well as aspiring conversationalists as it is an inspiring take on the life of the great man, Zafar Futehally.
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