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"The British wanted to bring trout to India at any cost"

In 'A Fish in Alien Streams', journalist Herjinder tells us how the British, who sorely missed trout fishing, achieved the stupendous feats of transporting the cold water fish from Europe and Britain.

October 31, 2021 / 11:55 AM IST
(Representative image) Angling never took off in India, though states like Himachal Pradesh have tried to promote the sport.

(Representative image) Angling never took off in India, though states like Himachal Pradesh have tried to promote the sport.

The English went to great lengths to make themselves at home in India. They developed hill stations; imported massive quantities of beer and sherry; and built cricket pitches. They also went all out to bring the trout to India—and succeeded.

Fish in Alien FC - CopySenior journalist Herjinder’s recently released A Fish in Alien Streams (Hachette, Rs 350) tells us how the British, who sorely missed trout fishing, achieved the stupendous feats of first, transporting the cold water fish from Europe and Britain to India in the 19th century and then acclimatising it to rivers not just in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, but also down south in the Nilgiris and Travancore.

The men who played a role in introducing the trout to India included naturalists, buccaneers, and governors, and they had two things in common: dogged persistence and a passion for angling.

In an interview with Moneycontrol, Herjinder talks about the British obsession with trout-fishing; why angling never took off in India; and the threats posed by pollution to freshwater biodiversity.