Jungle Lore-In Corbett’s Country

It was after many years that we were going to the Kumaon hills. And the road would take us through Corbett’s very own country-Kaladhungi, Nainital and beyond to Bhowali and Ranikhet. It is only after you reach the forest roads in the terai that some semblance of a jungle is revealed. It is true that, today, Corbett himself would not be able to recognise his own homeland, with his much-loved jungles and their denizens almost wiped out. But compared to the metropolises that we inhabit,  the area still holds many charms. The air is perceptibly cleaner, the roads less travelled, the trees tall and the Himalayan peaks are still the eternal abode of snows. What better occasion to go back to his writings; and in his back yard too?

Corbett is best known for his encounters with man eaters. But those are not the only stories he wrote. He recounts his childhood years in this  book-Jungle Lore. His family had a summer home in Nainital and they walked down fifteen miles to Kaladhungi for the winters. It was here that he absorbed much from the book of nature, which in his own words “has no beginning, as it has no end.” The jungle surrounding their estate, much of it now gone, then teemed with an abundance of birds, animals and crawling creatures. He learnt to recognise them by their tracks, habits and language. Fear taught him to walk stealthily, climb trees, shoot accurately and often enough to pick up his feet and run for dear life! No wonder he says that he came in physical contact with a wild animal only once in his life!

He has an easy conversational style and a keen eye for detail which makes the reader feel as he himself is present in the jungle and participating in the proceedings. His wry sense of humour comes through occasionally and more often than not the joke is on himself only. Though he killed many animals, both for food and sport, he does not come across as a wanton killer. His respect for nature and the part played by each animal in its scheme is all too evident to be ignored. He had realized in his life time only that the jungle and its folk were threatened and he gave up the gun for the pen and the camera. One message that shines through clearly in this book is his love and sensitivity for the natural world and all its residents-winged, bipeds, quadrupeds or crawlers.

Truly, an exciting read and a must for any one even remotely interested in the jungle and the jungle folk.

8 Responses to “Jungle Lore-In Corbett’s Country”

  1. Hi! Enjoyed reading your posts! You obviously have many interests! And speaking of Jim Corbett, we were in Kaziranga yesterday and actually saw a wild tiger! What an experience! Keep writing – look forward to coming back to learn more.

  2. The Unchained Killer Says:

    Liked reading it. Agreed, it’s a must read for any wildlife enthusiast!

  3. nice post.. I have always been fan of Corbett and Anderson.. they are awesome…

  4. My first time here.This book is indeed wonderful.Half my shelf is filled with books about the wild.KA is my fav:)

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