Quotes | Jim Corbett's image
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Quotes | Jim Corbett

Jim CorbettJim Corbett
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  • “Tigers, except when wounded or when man-eaters, are on the whole very good-tempered...Occassionally a tiger will object to too close an approach to its cubs or to a kill that it is guarding. The objection invariably takes the form of growling, and if this does not prove effective itis followed by short rushes accompanied by terrifying roars. If these warnings are disregarded, the blame for any injury inflicted rests entirely with the intruder"- Jim Corbett”
  • “The book of nature has no beginning, as it has no end. Open this book where you will, and at any period of your life, and if you have the desire to acquire knowledge you will find it of intense interest, and no matter how long or how intently you study the pages, your interest will not flag, for in nature there is no finality.”
  • “Those who have never seen a leopard under favourable conditions in his natural surroundings can have no conception of the grace of movement, and beauty of colouring, of this the most gracefuL and the most beautiful of all animales in our Indian jungles.”
  • “I had spent many nights in the jungle looking for game, but this was the first time I had ever spent a night looking for a man-eater. The length of road immediately in front of me was brilliantly lit by the moon, but to right and left the overhanging trees cast dark shadows, and when the night wind agitated the branches and the shadows moved, I saw a dozen tigers advancing on me, and bitterly regretted the impulse that had induced me to place myself at the man-eater's mercy. I lacked the courage to return to the village and admit I was too frightened to carry out my self-imposed task, and with teeth chattering, as much from fear as from cold, I sat out the long night. As the grey dawn was lighting up the snowy range which I
    was facing, I rested my head on my drawn-up knees, and it was in this position my men an hour later found me fast asleep; of the tiger I had neither heard nor seen anything.”
  • “There are events in one's life which, no matter how remote, never fade from memory”
  • “There is no universal language in the jungles; each species has its own language, and though the vocabulary of some is limited, as in the case of porcupines and vultures, the language of each species is understood by all the jungle-folk.”
  • “The time I spent in the jungles held unalloyed happiness for me, and that happiness I would now gladly share. My happiness, I believe, resulted from the fact that all wildlife is happy in its natural surroundings. In nature there is no sorrow, and no repining. A bird from a flock, or an animal from a herd, is taken by hawk or carnivorous beast and those that are left rejoice that their time had not come today, and have no thought of tomorrow.”
  • “In India, where there are no passports or identity discs, and where religions counts for so much- except among those few who have crossed the 'black water' - I believe that a man wearing a saffron robe, or carrying a beggar's bowl , or with silver crosses on his headgear and chest, could walk from Khyber Pass to Cape Comorin without once being questioned about his destination, or the object of his journey,”
  • “Hundreds of false rumors of alleged attacks by the man-eater were brought to us, entailing endless miles of walking, but this was only to be expected, for in an area in which an established man-eater is operating everyone suspects their own shadows, and every sound heard at night is attributed to the man-eater.”
  • “It was as though the man-eater - for no other leopard would have killed the goat and laid it on the track- had said, 'Here, if you want your goat so badly, take it; and as it is now dark and you have a long way to go, we will see which of you lives to reach the village.”
  • “A cripple, on the threshold of manhood, returning from the wars with a broken body, with no thought of telling of brave deeds done, but only eager to tell his father that with his own eyes he had seen the man who years ago he had not had the opportunity of seeing, a man whose only claim to remembrance was that he had fired one accurate shot.
  • A typical son of Garhwal, of that simple and hardy hill-folk; and of that greater India, whose sons only those few who live among them are privileged to know. It is these big-hearted sons of the soil, no matter what their caste or creed, who will one day weld the contending factions into a composite whole, and make of India a great nation.”
  • “No mention is made in government records of man-eaters prior to the year 1905 and it would appear that until the advent of the Champawat tiger and the Panar leopard, man-eaters were unknown in Kumaon. When”
  • “Minutes passed, each pulling my hopes down a little lower from the heights to which they had soared, and then, when tension on my nerves and the weight of the heavy rifle were becoming unbearable, I heard a stick snap at the upper end of the thicket. Here was an example of how a tiger can move through the jungle. From the sound she had made I knew her exact position, had kept my eyes fixed on the spot, and yet she had come, seen me, stayed some time watching me, and then gone away without my having seen a leaf or a blade of grass move.”
  • “The word 'Terror' is so generally and universally used in connection with everyday trivial matters that it is apt to fail to convey, when intended to do so, its real meaning.”
  • “A leopard, on the other hand, even after it has killed scores of human beings, never loses its fear of man; and, as it is unwilling to face human beings in daylight, it secures its victims when they are moving about at night or by breaking into their houses at night. Owing”
  • “However much I doubted the man's ability to accomplish the task he had set himself, I could not help admiring his faith and his industry.”
  • “No matter how often we fail in any endeavor, we never get used to the feeling of depression that assails us after each successive failure.”
  • “In my study, next to my desk, is a locked bookcase that contains a collection of volumes I value more than any of the hundreds of other books that fill a multitude of shelves in our home. Of these precious publications, the most prized and well-guarded is a slim first edition of 104 pages, simply titled Jungle Stories by Jim Corbett. The cover is of plain brown paper, with no illustrations or colouring. This thin little book was privately printed by Corbett, for family and friends, at the London Press in Nainital in 1935. Only a hundred copies were produced, of which very few remain. My copy came to me through my parents. They were given it by friends, who had once been Corbett’s neighbours in Nainital. By the time I received it, the book had been covered with a protective sleeve of clear plastic. The title page is signed by Jim Corbett, in a neat, fastidious hand. Several years after Jungle Stories was published, Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India from 1936-43, requested a copy. He had met Corbett, who assisted in organizing viceregal shoots in the terai and was already regarded as a legendary shikari and raconteur. After reading the book, Linlithgow recommended that it be published by the Oxford University Press in Bombay. Jungle Stories is, essentially, the first draft of Man-eaters of Kumaon. Several of the chapters are identical, including stories of ‘The Pipal Pani Tiger’ and ‘The Chowgarh Tigers’, as well as an angling interlude, ‘The Fish of My Dreams.’ Corbett expanded this book into its present form by adding six more tales, including an account of the first man-eater he killed in 1907, near Champawat. This tigress was responsible for the deaths of 436 victims and her destruction helped cement Corbett’s reputation as a hunter. In recognition of his success, Sir J. P. Hewett, Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces, presented him with a .275 Rigby-Mauser rifle. An engraved citation on a silver plaque was fixed to the stock. Corbett later bequeathed this weapon to the Oxford University Press, who sent it to their head offices in England. Eventually, the gun was confiscated by the police in Oxford because the publishers didn’t have a licence. For a number of years, John Rigby & Co., gunsmiths, displayed the rifle at their showroom in London, along with a copy of Jungle Stories. In February 2016, Corbett’s rifle was purchased at auction by an American hunter for $250,000. Following this, the rifle was brought to India for a week and briefly displayed at Corbett Tiger Reserve, as part of a promotional event. The editor at OUP, who shepherded Man-eaters of Kumaon to publication, was R. E. ‘Hawk’ Hawkins, himself a legend, who contributed greatly to India’s canon of nature writing. In his introduction to a collection of Corbett’s stories, Hawkins describes how this book came into his hands:”

  • “Our failure to bag the man-eater up to that date was not due to our having done anything we should not have done, or left undone anything we should have done.It could only be attributed to sheer bad luck.”

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