‘Sabke Baare Mein Sochna Hoga’: Mr. Deepak Raj, Tirthan Valley

1540 hours, 13-02-2021, Tirthan Valley, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India: We stopped for tea in Tirthan Valley at a small tea shop right next to the road. The shop was a simple temporary structure outside which three people were busy making something which I couldn’t make out first. My best guess was they were making key rings or dream catchers out of threads and feathers from different birds. While we ordered tea, my friend Anil intrigued by what was going on asked what they were doing.

The person sitting on the chair very softly replied he was making fishing lures for fly fishing. We then introduced ourselves and the conversation began as we waited for our tea to be brewed. His name was Deepak Raj and earned a living by guiding tourists to catch trout in the Tirthan River and making lures for the same. What he said next really touched me. While thousands of tourists visit the Valley for its natural beauty, the place is also a famous spot for catching trout by different methods such as angling, fly fishing or using a net (method usually practiced by local fishermen). He said he makes these lures because these are cheaper and do not damage the smaller fishes (which are accidentally caught) so much that they cannot be returned to the River.

He continued by saying that using these lures the fishes can recover faster from the injury caused by the lure and returning the fishes to the River is very important to preserve the eco-system. He also added that the three faced lure cuts the flesh of the fish so severely that the fish mostly die because of the injuries due to it and cannot be set free in the River because of this. People like Deepak Raj really give me hope and courage that there is still a lot of good in this world – people who not only think about themselves, but also about every living thing around them, about Mother Nature and all Her creations. After all it’s the only reason that this planet supports life as we see it.

And special thanks to his wife for the most amazing cup of tea I had in days. Thank you!

Making a fly fish lure
Making a fly fish lure; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Finished fish lures made from scratch
Finished fish lures made from scratch; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Mr. Deepak Raj with a warm smile on his face
Mr. Deepak Raj with a warm smile on his face; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Mr. Deepak Raj making the fish lure; Video: Abhinav Kaushal

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