Book Reviews
Jim Corbett
Writer: Dolly Pahlajani
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Everyone remembers Jim Corbett as the legendary British hunter, whose courage and prowess with the gun freed several villages in Kumaon, Nainital, from the terror of man-eating tigers and leopards. ‘Friend of the Wild’ may then be a curious tagline for a book based on him. However, in its true spirit, Amar Chitra Katha takes us on a journey of discovery that reveals the man behind the hunter.

We’re led back to pre-independence India and introduced to a six-year-old Jim Corbett getting his first taste of handling a gun. Even as he hunts to put food on the table for his family, love for the wild takes root in his heart and becomes stronger as Jim grows. A person who respects nature cannot help but love her human children. Jim’s kindness toward known and unknown people alike wins hearts everywhere. And it is his kind nature that makes him sensitive to the plight of people whose villages are being haunted by man-eaters. The desire to end their suffering becomes a driving force behind Jim’s hunting expeditions. Yet, every time he shoots a tiger, he feels its pain and mourns the loss of such a magnificent beast. No wonder, then, that Jim takes it upon himself to help conserve the forests, with all their glorious birds and beasts. He takes to photography, documenting animals, their behaviour and eccentricities. But when people call upon him for help, he sheds his naturalist avatar and takes up the gun once more…

Few have had as exciting a life as Jim Corbett and Amar Chitra Katha has done a wonderful job presenting it in the comics form, with captivating illustrations that make us feel like we’re witnessing every event firsthand. And if the prospect of revisiting history is not enough to make you want to read this book, let me tempt you by saying that the depiction of the hunting scenes lends pure thrill and delight to the account. So, what are you waiting for? Go, befriend the wild!

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