Donald Anderson: India’s last colonial hunter

Joshua Mathew


Joshua Mathew is a first-time author, occasional photographer and enjoys reading about colonial history.

When the British ruled India, for many British men, especially those who lived in proximity to forests, hunting was not just recreation, but also a rite of passage. Conservation was unheard of, and tigers, panthers, bears and other mega fauna were often considered vermin, and hunters were rewarded for their destruction. However, the early hunters all hunted for sport, and not until Jim Corbett's book Man-eaters of Kumaon in 1944, did the colonial shikari's tales garner mass appeal.

Corbett was born in India, and, while a pucca sahib at heart, his love for India and the people were genuine, and there was a certain Indian-ness that transpired in his books.

Kenneth Anderson was his equivalent in south India. His ancestors arrived in India in the early 1800s from Glasgow. His father, who worked for the Army, settled down in Bangalore. Kenneth wrote eight books, that were not about hunting for sport like the early settlers, but putting an end to man eating tigers and panthers that were a menace to society.

After India's independence in 1947, Kenneth decided to stay on, a strange decision considering most of his peers decided to migrate, either fearing retribution or seeking greener pastures in the UK and Australia. He passed away in 1974, content to have lived in the country he was born in.

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