Travel, Sport And Hunting In India And Central America
The author, an accomplished hunter and an Army Officer has recorded the reminiscence of his adventurous life in India and later in Central America during the sixties of the 19th Century. He combines in him the rare qualities of a daring soldier, an accomplished hunter and a keen sportsman and to these traits he combines another quality – a rare one viz. of seasoned writer which makes it an excitingly readable book. He divides the story of his reminiscences into two parts. Part I is exclusively devoted to India where he had enormous opportunities both for sports and hunting. “I doubt if there is any other country in the world where sport flourishes to the extent that it does in India. Whether it be hunting, shooting, racing, cricket or whatever else may occur to the mind one has only to arrive in what is known as the ‘Gorgeous East’ at the proper season, to find each and everyone in full operation. Certainly so far as races is concerned, India is a veritable nursery garden……”. The book starts with the author’s memorable run with the PVH (Peshawar vale Hounds) and the various hunting expeditions in the wild country around, his trip to the dense jungles of the then Nainital and Almora where he had plenty of games shooting, his sports among the snipe and his active participation in the polo and cricket matches have been graphically described. After shooting his first tiger and subsequent hunting trips to Sunderbans (which he describes as the Sunderbands), he describes his narrow escape from death when he suddenly sank into the treacherous mud upto neck, had providential escape when he was spotted in time and was pulled up by a rope extended to him by a native Shikarie and his friends. After taking leave of the ‘Gorgeous East’, he left for England where he stayed for a year or so. But then ‘the spirit of travel and adventure attacked him badly’ and he left for Central America where he had bought a share in a coffee plantation. He managed to get two companions Halifax and Royal whom he persuaded to accompany him to Gautemala.On reaching Central America his first shoot was a large opposum which had been the despoiler of the hen roots of the estate where they stopped before arriving in the city of Guatemala. The brute was skinned there and then, its skin was taken and preserved by the author as a memento. He also describes various hunting expeditions including shooting of jaguars and sharks. Author also describes the scene of battles between the Gautemattecan forces and the army of San Salvador. Here he had to leave on a ‘forced march’ during which he and his companion had to fight some desperate robbers for their lives because he had accidentally killed their leader.The author’s hunting jaunt was cut short because he received urgent summons to England which made him take the decision to leave for home. About his experiences of Central America, the author says, “Personally I cannot truly say that I consider Central America a good field for sport. There are wild animals there in plenty, no doubt, but the virgin forest is too big a business to beat successfully and it is a pure matter of chance”. From all accounts it is a unique book, replete with thrilling accounts of sports, hunting and travel and should be in the bookshelves of all libraries and of those interested in these kinds of manly sports and travels.
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