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Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Temple Tiger and more Man-eaters of Kumaon - Book Review

The temple tiger and more man-eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett as the name suggests is about the man eating tigers in the Himalayan region. It is a collection of Jim’s hunting experiences of five man-eaters. Though all these are real life experiences, I prefer to call them stories. They have thrill, suspense and all other elements of a good story

The first story the temple tiger is different from all the stories written by Jim is very different from other stories written by him. Here he utterly fails to kill the man-eater. The man-eater escapes at the end. This shows his honesty. It would have been easy for a person like Jim to say that he had killed that tiger. But he tells the truth.

Jim not only describes the tigers but the life of people of the hills is also depicted very well in his stories. Thus in the Muktesar Man-eater he says in rural India, the post office and the bania’s shop are to village folk what taverns and clubs are to people of other lands, and if information on any particular subject is sought, the post office and the bania’s shop are the best places to seek it. Ignorance regarding leprosy finds mention in the Panar Man-eater.

Not only the men but he describes the vegetation and of course the wildlife very vividly. In the Chuka Man-eater he describes how the tigress trains her young cubs in a very poignant manner. He also adds to our knowledge by telling that monkeys are blessed with exceptionally good eyesight. In the same story the following line depicts the guilt which even a hunter faces. ‘The thought of disabling an animal and a sleeping one that, simply because he occasionally liked a change of diet was hateful.’

The font size used in the book is very small. As a result reading this book causes a great strain on the eyes. Also there are typographical errors at some places. I wish these were avoided.

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