Meet the real ‘Sherni’ who inspired Vidya Balan’s character

sherni Vidya Balan
Image: Vidya Balan/ Instagram

Bollywood actress Vidya Balan’s film ‘Sherni’ has released on Amazon Prime on June 18. Vidya plays the role of a forest officer, who is struggling to catch a tigress alive. After facing lot of problems and criticism from the local villagers government officers and ministers.

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In the movie Vidya’s character is inspired by a real life sherni known as K.M Abharna. The lioness who roared without a roar, and was a victim of malevolent mentality.

After the establishment of the Indian Forest Service, for about 14 years, male officers dominated.

In the year 1980, three women officers also joined this service, after which today there are 284 women officers and about 5,000 women frontline personnel in the Forest Service. One of these 2013 batch officer was K.M Abharna.

KM Abharna not only worked towards wildlife conservation, but also broke many stereotypes. Despite this, not many people are familiar with her name and work.

In the charge of K.M Abharna the lioness sherni was also shot dead.

K.M Abharna work details:

She took over as the Deputy Conservator of Forests of Pandharkawda Division. The situation was very tough at that time. The human-animal conflict was going on and in the midst of this angry people were agitating against the negligence of the forest department.

However, Abharna did not let this tension overwhelm herself and took control of the situation in new ways.

Apart from this, steps has taken for 24/7 surveillance and installation of grid-wise camera traps. Her work in the field to reduce human-animal conflict is commendable.

During her posting, in Kaziranga National Park, she banned the hunting of one-horned rhinoceros in the Central Range and stopped the hunting of one-horned rhino.


At the time when people felt that women in the forests would not be able to work as efficiently as men, at that time she formed a team of women forest guards. She established constant contact with the villagers. 

Not only this, she has also neutralized the illegal fishing network in the region and banned plastic in 2016-17 to make the area plastic free.

As an Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), she contributed a lot to community-based study. In 2015, she gave a detailed report on monkey menace involving the local community to reduce human-monkey conflict in 40 villages in Assam.

She is currently posted as the director of Bamboo Research and Training Centre in Maharashtra. Her exemplary service to the nation and efforts towards wildlife conservation deserved to be told.

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