Edward james corbett [1875-1955]was born in Naini tal, and lived and worked in india until 1947.he worked for twenty years for the indian railways,he became a business man,served in both world’s wars but whenever he [jim corbett] could went back to the jungles he loved and the wild life he wrote about.this selection carries the very distinict flavour of time and place largly the jungles of kumaon in the foothills of the himalayans. as well as the simple impression of a remarkably brave man .the stiries of the tracking and shooting of the persistant man eaters are here ,the accounts of the kill and courage that saved human beings from the mukteshawar man eaters. but corbett also wrote about the india he knew and loved and of the indians he worked with,and volumes contains vivid and evocative passage about the people ,about the country side and about its wildlife and about half selection also contains two unfamiliar pieces one never published before, ‘the other only privately goongi tells of the mysterious and tragic appearance of an alleged wolf child in kumaon and wild life in the village is a convicing appeal for the conservation wildlife.’. corbett was a naturalist with a gun.the stories and extracts have selected by R.E.hawkins who was corbett’s publisher and editor,and who provides an introduction on the man,his and his work.
Jim corbett published only six books given bwlow .
- The first,
- Man eaters of kumaon was followed ten years later by the temple tiger and more man eaters of kumaon
- The autobiographical my india and
- Jungle lore
- There are three extracts from his longest story.
- The maneating leopard ogf rudraprayagwhich many people find the most enthralling of all.
Map – regions of working area of Jim Corbett.
- Review of Corbett’s Work.
- written twenty years after the chase described it provides ample evidence of corbett’s story telling skill and exceptional power of recall.his last book tree tops which was published just after his death at the age of eighty in and which recounts the night he spent on guard over the princess who became queen elizabeth ,later.
- After leaving school at 17 Jim went to work as a railway fuel inspector on a salary of rs.100 a month his father had died when he was 6 and his mother had been left with nine children to bring up and when he was 20 he took on the contract from the railways for handling the transshipment of goods across the ganges,described in mokeameh ghat .he was considered too old to join the army inbut in 1917 was given the rank of captain to take a labour force of 500 kumaonis to france.He proudly brought back 499.Thereafter he saw fighting in the third afgan war and about 1920 at the age of 45,setteled down at naini tal to look after his mother,his sister maggie, and his step sister mary doyle his mother died in 1924and mary in1940.In1922 he took a share with Percy Wyndham in a coffee estate on the slpoes of mount kilimanjaro and used to go to it for about three months each year.
- Jim was a member of the naini tal municipal board from 1920 to 1944. He was a pioneer conservationist and one of the editors of a short lived journal called indian wild life.A contribution which he made to the review of the week of 31august 1932 appears as wild life in the village in this selection. At this period also he began to give lectures to local schools and societies to stimulate awareness of the natural beauty surrounding them and the need to conserve the forests and their wild life.’a girl who was at wellesley school, naini tal in the early 1930s describes his annual visits as one of the hightlights of my child hood.there were no slides or films, but jim would imitate the warning calls of monkeys ,birds and deer and end up ,with the room in darkness,with terrifying tiger noises.his fluency in animal languages was demonstrated to more critical audiences.When he used them to call up a man eater or to drown the whirr of his camera when filming tigrs.’
Way of expression in his writings:-
Corbett’s book on tigers and leopards are not conventional shikar books from india.They are as much natural history and anthropology .Apart from that he was a very good story teller.The narrative of his pursuit of the all places is very fine.His books also contain extraordinarily evocative descriptions of the landscape of the sub himalayan region . Jim corbett’s stories of tiger hunting are among the classics of adventure.His career as a hunter of man eaters whether leopard or tiger streched from nineteen hundred seven to nineteen hundred thirty nine and the books in which he described both these expeditionsans his daily life in the northern india of those years were bestseller. his writings[man eaters of kumaon ,my india and jungle lore],which will introduce jim corbett to a new audience, as well as give renewed pleasure to his old one.
Time change,but human nature changes very much more slowly,and jim corbett will long be admired as hunter,story teller,and christian gentleman.if he were still alive,he would repeat the dedication which appeared in his third book ,my india to my friends,the poor of india’.
By R.Gomathi Sridevi, Thoothukkudi