Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Jim Corbett of Bangalore

He is the Jim Corbett of  Bangalore. What Jim Corbett was to north India, he was to south India. Unfortunately, he is not as well known as Jim Corbett.
A hunter who killed wild animals just like Corbett did in Central Provinces of north India,  he later “shot”  with his camera, giving up the gun in favour of  the pen and the flash.
A writer of note, he has written several books about his experiences o hunting in south India. One of his best known books is based on the small town of Magadi, which is near Bangalore. However, his name is not all that familiar to either the people of Magadi or Bangalore.
Several foreigners like Roerich and Krumbigal are all recalled for their services of the city. If Roerich was a Russian painter of repute who left behind the sprawling estate at Thalghatapura, Kurmbeigal, a German, went on to become the Superintendent of  Lalbagh and he had a hand in developed it as it is today. He has a road named after him adjacent to the Lalbagh.
Bangaloreans also remember Winston Churchill and still try to pinpoint the house where he lived for several months when he joined the Army. A small notice by a club saying that Churchill owed some money as dues is waved about as a very important parchment.  Given the fact that Bangalore has always treated foreigners with love and affection, it is surprising to note its singular lack of interest in this hunter-story writer-adventurer.          
This is all the more surprisingly, his grave is in Bangalore. Yet, there is no direction or sing pointing to his grave or even a statue in Bangalore or Magadi enumerating his achievements. So mush so for the cosmopolitan flavour of Bangalore.
This man is none other than Kenneth Anderson (1910–1974), an Indian born British writer and hunter who has penned several books on his jungle experiences in south India.
Hailing from a Scottish family, Kenneth Anderson was the son of Douglas Stewart Anderson, a honorary captain, stationed in Pune. He was also an occasional hunter and this influenced young Kenneth to take to a rifle.
Anderson had his initial schooling at Bishop Cottons Boys School in Bangalore and subsequently he entered St Joseph’s College here where he completed his graduation. He then joined employment in British Aircraft limited while later became HAL.
An avid hunter, he loved the big game and went around the jungles of south India answering people’s plea for tracking down and eliminating big cats and carnivores.
He eventually took to writing real-life adventure stories. He has hunted down and killed man eating tigers, bears and leopards. Several stories are woven around his big cat kills such as the killing of the sloth bear of Mysore, leopard of Gummalapura, leopard of  Yellagiri hills, tigress of Jowlagiri, tiger of Segur and tiger of Mundachipallam.
He himself has acknowledged as having shot eight man-eating leopards (7 males and 1 female) and seven tigers (5 males and 2 females) from 1939 to 1966, This is also borne out by Government records. However, he unofficially shot over eigthteen man eating panthers and over fifteen man eating tigers. He also shot a few rogue elephants.
His hunting grounds were in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He had an excellent network of informants among the villagers and tribals who informed him as soon as a maneater came on the scene. He went to the place where they were seen and eliminated them. Thus, south India had fewer kills attributed to animals as compared to the man eaters in north India.
A personal friend of Sai Baba of  Puttaparthi, he was also interest in occult sciences. A majority of his works deal with wildlife, hunting and jungles of South India.
Unfortunately, he is neither as much known as Jim Corbett nor are his books as popular as the Man eater of Kumaon by Jim Corbett. He wrote eight books and 60 stories, most of them dealing with his hunting exploits. Each book is a tale of his adventures with man-eating tigers, leopards and rogue elephants in the jungles of south India. Some of the stories are based on the tribals and their families he knew.
His books are Nine Man eaters and one Rogue (1954), Man Eaters and Jungle Killers (1957), The Black Panther of Sivanipalli and Other Adventures of the Indian Jungle (1959),  The Call of the Man Eater (1961), This is the Jungle (1964),  Tiger Roars (1967),  Tales from the Indian Jungle (1970), Jungles Long Ago (1976) and  Jungles Tales for Children.
The Kenneth Anderson Nature Society was set up a few years ago to further the cause of wildlife conservation in Melagiri in Tamil Nadu.
He died in August 30, 1974 in Bangalore of cancer. He is buried in Bangalore in a simple but marked grave in a cemetery on Hosur Road. He was not as well known in life and this seems to be the case even in death too. What a tragedy. Verily, he was the Jim Corbett of Bangalore.

1 comment:

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