Jungle Lore by Jim Corbett
What do they know of Jim Corbett, who see the man Indians affectionately called ‘Carpet Sahib’, as a celebrity hunter?
Well, very little. For while there is no doubt that Jim Corbett is best known for his exploits in hunting and tracking down dangerous tigers and leopards, the fact is that Corbett was at heart in fact a naturalist and conservationist. He was a man who was deeply connected to the jungles and the mountains which he made famous with tales of his hunting expeditions. In fact, anyone who has read his books about hunting too will have noticed that they contain as much affection for nature as apprehension about nabbing his quarry.
Jim Corbett was not just a hunter.
Or a natural storyteller with his hand on the pulse of the reader.
He was also a man who loved nature. And India.
Which is why we, at Ponytale Books, have come out with special editions of books that represent this side of Corbett – Jungle Lore and My India. This is not to downplay Corbett the hunter (and he was a magnificent one) but to simply lift the curtain from the man who wielded the gun – what emerges is a portrait of a kind, caring soul, with almost limitless concern for nature and its conservation at a time when such things were not even thought of.
Jungle Lore is perhaps the closest thing we have to an autobiography of the man after whom a National Park in Uttarakhand is named.
In Jungle Lore, Corbett talks of his boyhood; the people he met; the lessons he learnt in absorbing the jungle – it’s flora and fauna; and inhabitants – the birds and animals, the people – who lived in the lush Kumaon Hills that were so beloved to him; his concern for the jungles and the environment, and of course, there are doses of hunting expeditions too. There is even the odd story of detection and of supernatural sightings.
My India is Corbett’s close, almost intimate, look at the country where he spent most of his life. It contains loving descriptions of different places and people that he came across (the constant Kunwar Singh, his friend and mentor, is there too) and how they affected him. Reading it, one is transported back into another age, when life was simpler and values were different. It might have lacked the amenities and facilities of modern India, but Jim Corbett’s India was every bit as beautiful and loveable.
My India reveals the heart of Corbett and Jungle Lore his soul. They show a side of Corbett that we think is far more important than the celebrity hunter whom most of us have heard or read about.
It is our way of saying, ‘Thank you, Carpet Sahib.’
Jungle Lore is the first book anyone should read on Jim Corbett. Simply because it is about Jim Corbett the man who went on to become a famous hunter.