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Monday, November 18, 2019
 
 

TSI

Pray, give us our prey...

 

The days of shikar went away with the British. Salman Khan and the Nawab of Pataudi didn’t think so. Nor do thousands of metropolitan cowboys, who fancy the outdoors for some great ‘games’ still. One of them, Vikram (name changed) tells Indira Parthasarathy, why he could ‘kill’ for his ‘sport’…
TSI | Issue Dated: October 8, 2006
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Pray, give us our prey... “I pity the guy... Salman Khan could have been smarter for a hero, I thought. We’re all innocent until proven guilty, but once caught, there’s no denying it. It’s an irrefutably illegal offence. But then, at the end of it, he gets to walk away with murder. A sport-hunter myself, I say murder, for he aimed at a black buck, an endangered species that would never have been target for the sporting shikaris amongst us.

The Wildlife (Protection) Act transpired in 1972, an incredible work of legislation that rendered ‘hunting’ a punishable offence. Implying, a recreation for generations now to amount to trespassing my own property. Didn’t make sense. Which is why, even today, I drive off to my native village, on the Rajasthan-Punjab border, for every break that I can take from the city grind. And invariably, we (friends) have set off on game-hunting missions, bringing down, on a good day, a wild boar or a blue bull (nilgai), and on others, a spotted deer (cheetal) or one among the birds like the partridges (teetar) or quails (bater). Armed with double barrel twelve-bores and appropriate cartridges (some do it the old-world-way with dogs, still), we go about an hour or two’s business of intense concentrated action; metrosexuality may be in, but the romance of those ‘romps’ in the wild and then the machismo rush in sharing tales by the fireside while digging into the day’s kill, are things we can’t imagine our lifestyles without.

The legal veto notwithstanding, sport-hunting, contrary to what most around think, is distinct from the allowances of the mercenary tribe of poachers. They vandalize, we prune. It is one thing to venture into the wild, valiant and exposed, to gun down quarry and another to stealthily lay snares and traps that couldn’t care less between a hare and a tusker. From Kruger to Kansas, the governments have known better than to disfranchise local sports shikaris, for only they have a stake in conserving a way of life that they were born into, which they’d preserve for future generations. Those who game for sport are, for an un-decreed elementary criterion, reposed with the deepest respect for all of Creation. Only sustainable hunting practices like ours would help to retain ecological balance and a lifestyle in tune with nature. Haven’t we known shikaris turning out be the best conservationists – Billy Arjan Singh, Jim Corbett...”
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017