In search of Jim Corbett's India, a land of pink gin and man-eating tigers.
Mrs Singh emerged from her house brandishing a gun. She raised the rifle, held it against her sari and took aim across the fields. All for dramatic effect. The gun wasn’t actually loaded, she told us as she brought it down. The rifle was used in the past to scare away wild elephants, but it hadn’t been deployed for years – with increasing traffic there were now very few animal incursions, she explained. Besides, she added, the gun was a treasured object. She held it out for us to try.
That was an enormous honour. The rifle once belonged to Jim Corbett, hunter of man-eating tigers, pioneering conservationist and author of compelling jungle tales.
Jim Corbett has killed tens of tigers and more than 1200 people.
Despite these horrible numbers Corbett is honored as the person that has put wildlife conservation on the map in India. Not only that, the Indians named a nature park after him. International authorities even named a tiger sub-species after him (Panthere tigris corbetti – commonly known as the Indochinese tiger).
It seems that doing one good thing in life covers all the worse things.