Like the poetry of earth, the mosaic of Indian game hunting history never ceases to cast a mesmerising spell and enthrall the human mind, Germinating in the Stone Age, the art of Indian hunting went down from one millennium to another exhibiting different characteristics and facets. The odyssey that continued along the Aryan civilisation, subsequently trickled down through the monumental monarchies of the Mauryas, Guptas, Rajputs, Moghuls and finally the British Raj. in different moulds shaped in the sands of time. Thus, the history of Indian game hunting cruised a long distance meandering through the most momentous occasions of the country’s trials and tribulations, its triumphs and tragedies. From being a source for food to feed the hungry during pre-historic days, to becoming a magnet for money later, game hunting also evolved as a symbol of pride, valour and luxury for kings and connoisseurs.
History and Heritage of Hunting in India is a voyage that is more of an experience than expression. In essence, this story is a humble attempt to encapsulate the magic moments of Indian game hunting, punctuated by a tribute to the propounders of that art whose momentous labour of love have been completely lost in the passage of time.
Sudipta Mitra is an aficionado of Indian wildlife and an avid wildlife photographer working with nature for the last twenty years. A doctor by profession, the author is a regular visitor and a keen observer of Indian wilderness. He is a regular columnist on wildlife and nature and is also associated with many NGOs. His commitment to acquire first-hand and authentic knowledge on Indian Shikar history down the ages has evolved a remarkable facet, which was never discussed before. His other book, Gir Forest and the Saga of Asiatic Lion is a highly informative and useful guide for all wildlife enthusiasts.
Indian history is essentially a fascinating montage about the expressions of life and living, endowed with a magical power that emanates pleasure in perpetuity. A clip of this composition is the captivating canvass of game hunting chronicles, which, like the poetry of earth, never ceases to enthrall the mind.
The genesis of Indian game-hunting has been traced back to the Stone Age and the art, like a rolling stone, has meandered down the ages, exhibiting a myriad of colours and shades, pregnant with seductive beauty and charm. Dancing down the relics of pre-historic days, game hunting had its different moulds shaped in the sands of time, as it cruised along civilisations and reverberated through the monarchies of Mauryas, Guptas, Rajputs, Mughals and finally the Britishers, witnessing the most momentous occasions of the country’s trials and tribulations, its triumphs and tragedies.
Being a source for food to feed the hungry during the prehistoric days, game hunting, in subsequent ages, also triggered business besides being exemplified as a symbol of pride, valour and luxury for kings and connoisseurs. While modernity boasts of enacting conservation laws to protect and preserve wildlife, unfortunately, efforts only went in vain as piggy-riding the process, ‘poaching’ made its entry. The discerning ethos has been drowned in the world of felony, as poachers, driven by the lure of lucre, are out for a mindless kill with the law being no real deterrent.
And as poaching perched in, the art of game hunting died its natural death.
Words, at times, become inadequate to express some journeys in history. The annals of Indian game hunting, is one such voyage that is more of fan experience than expression. This story, then, is an attempt to offer a humble tribute to the art of Indian game hunting and its propounders whose love’s labour has now been completely lost.
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