Friday, 3 April 2020

Story of a lifetime

Updated: November 16, 2017 3:31 pm

There is an old grave dating back to 1955, in the heart of the Nyeri city of Kenya that houses, now, after decades an enthralling journey of a man that goes by the name of Jim Corbett. The general perception of most about this name is that it belongs to an enigmatic Briton who by virtue of his brave exploits saved many lives in the wild of India during the peak of savagery and merciless killings that took place in the 1910s and 1930s. At the heart of these killings were the mean hunting machines that loomed large in the unknown, unexplored and often surprising side of the wild. Tigers, Cheetas and most notably, Leopards prowled freely in those old days, reducing the lives of harmless Indian foresters and villagers to a spot of endless bother by turning men-eaters.

Hunting big game is no longer a fashionable pastime, not even a legal one. There are not many tigers left in the world, and we seldom hear of man-eaters terrorising districts: but seventy to hundred years ago, the big cats – tigers, leopards, even lions- held sway over large parts of the country, and when a man eater arrived on the scene, entire villages were affected by its depredations. This conflict between man and beast is captured vividly by Corbett. His knowledge of the habits of wild animals is matched by his sympathy for the simple hill folk who found themselves at the mercy of the larger predators. He lived among them, ate with them, assessed the situation, and then went out into the jungle to track down the killer.

The jim corbett

omnibus II

Ruskin bond


Pages : 277

Price: 295

Yet, after recording in excess of 100 confirmed kills, almost half of which were attained during the most explosive and hauntingly scaring regime of these unforgiving beasts, Jim Corbett’s name is sadly only confined to his stupendous skills of being a hunter extraordinaire, when he was so much more.

The fact that the general perception of the human mind is to confine its learning and inquisition about a certain quality of an individual, evades the understanding of the personality in total is fraught with outright negation to fathom the entirety of a story.

The book The Jim Corbett Omnibus II contains some of Jim Corbett’s best-known books including MyIndia, a memoir of the days he spent among the people of India; Jungle lore, which talks about the fragility of nature and his despair at humanity’s estrangement from the environment around them; and Tree Tops, wherein he recalls his final days in the Kenyan game reserves. Written in Corbett’s clear, simple style and enlivened by  his descriptions of jungle sights and sounds and village life, this is a must read for all those who are interested in wildlife and tiger tales.

By Nilabh Krishna





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