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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jim Corbett in memory (1875 to 1955)

Jim Corbett was a hunter, you can say professional, but he was not actually paid for his work, but he loved hunting.

I did not know him( he died in 1955) but I've read one of his books, The Temple Tiger, (first published 1954 and reprinted 1988) in which he writes of several of his hunts.

What made him different was that he specially hunted man eating tigers and other big cats. He did not hunt the normal tigers who were not a danger to man. He was called to do this of course by the British Government in India.

What impressed me really was one of his stories when he went hunting the Talla Des man eater. He had a big abscess (bisul) in his head due to a gun powder wound in the ear, and he had shot the tiger, injuring but not killing her. He knew that the tiger would become full time man eater due to the injury, if he did not kill her that time. If anything were to happen to the villagers, he was convinced that it would be his fault, so he went into the jungle alone to hunt the tiger, convinced that either the tiger would die or he would.

What amazed me was the fact that he went in alone, his eyes were not working properly due to the pressure on the brain,he could not see properly, his neck was swollen, he was deaf in one ear and he was in tremendous pain. He was already convinced that he would die but he went on in the hope that he could shoot the tiger before he died.

Luck was with him as the abscess ruptured in his head not into his brain, but outwards into his ear and nasal cavity, the pressure relieved, he managed to hunt and kill the tiger.

How many people would do that? I am not glorifying him but the fact is, if you fulfill what you think is your responsibility, despite the odds, the chances are you will succeed and remain in history when others are nameless ( he has a national park named after him). The same is true with our heroes, Datuk Bahaman, Datuk Maharajalela, Mat Kilau, Tok Gajah and others etc(although they have only roads named after them).

James Corbett was not a hero to the British although he was a British, but he was a hero to the Indian people, because he risked his life to save theirs.

Can we also become heroes?

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