The Man-eaters of Kumaon
• Price — Rs 195
• Publication — Oxford
A lot of tigers and leopards die in this book. So if you are a follower of Maneka Gandhi then, this isn’t the book for you. Jim Corbett begins with the argument that tigers and leopards that kill humans must be killed, which does sound fair enough.
Jim Corbett takes us into the jungle with him as he stalks a creature capable of picking up a buffalo and carrying it away— with its teeth! He begins his description with the story of the Champawat man-eating tigress, and how he first undertook to hunt such a dangerous animal.
As the chapter progresses you couldn’t help but wonder at his relating of his fear, his blunders, and his final victory. But what I appreciated most of all was his keen eye for detail and how he realised the need to infuse courage in the hearts of men and aid them so that they get back to standard life.
Often he would stand guard as the villagers harvested their fields or collected water from nearby streams. Corbett also explained the reasons why the Champawat tiger’s old paw injury forced her to replace humans as her natural prey.
And as you go on in the book, you begin to sense that Corbett is not a hunter who kills to strengthen his ego; rather, his immense happiness springs from his natural similarity and long years of association with tigers, leopards, and the other residents of the jungle.
Reading these stories one cannot help feeling that it is something much more than the sheer excitement and adventure in the act concerned, that eggs on Corbett.
I feel that Jim Corbett was a brave man beyond any comparisons. A simple book that tells you more about the tigers of our country.