The Great Indian Elephant Book
"I have often heard people talk of elephant shooting as cruel and unsportsmanlike; for what reason I cannot imagine... it is a great shame to slaughter numbers of female elephants, which might be caught and made useful, but if the sportsman confines himself to old males he will not do much harm, while he will enjoy one of the most exciting sports in the world. Unfortunately there are few parts of India where elephant-shooting is now permitted."
Assertions like this one by A.A.A. Kinloch in 1892, and details of elephant shoots will greet the reader throughout The Great Indian Elephant Book. While hunting and elephant capture is a central theme, the writings in the book also capture the spirit of a bygone age, the changing perceptions about elephants, their behaviour, habitat and anatomy. Elephant lore, as the book says, dates back to the Rigveda (1500 BC). Set in the days of the Raj when elephants were hunted and captured, the writings reveal the sportsman’s fascination for the elephant. Illustrated with drawings, photographs and maps, the accounts include encounters with wild elephants in India, Ceylon and Burma by a whole range of writers including noted elephant men such as Champion, Sanderson and Samuel Baker.
Hunters have made some of the most accurate observations of wildlife and this volume is an interesting collection of writings that will nudge readers towards a better understanding of how elephants were perceived in the nineteenth century.
Edited by Dhriti K. Lahiri-Choudhury, Published by: Oxford University Press, Hardcover; Price: Rs. 595/-