Book Review: Jungle Lore (Jim Corbett)
Book Courtesy: Universal Book Club
When you hear the name “Jim Corbett” first thing comes in mind is ‘Man-Eater Tigers” and why shouldn’t it come when a great person like Corbett devoted his whole life to save the hills and villages from the terror of these treacherous creatures. Last week I got to read his lesser known book (at least in my circle) “Jungle Lore” which has introduction chapter by Martin Booth who made a documentary on Corbett. It’s not a review of the legendary Corbett’s book; I am just saying what I felt during and after reading the book.
Firstly it’s not Corbett’s autobiography but Jungle Lore is considered as Closest to his biography that makes it interesting read. If you know about Corbett, you will expect stories of Hunting and man eaters, but Jungle Lore is more like his personal diary that you found in a cottage, situated in Shivalik Hills, and now you are reading it with most pleasant weather you can ever imagine. The book holds Corbett’s love towards nature and India that is overflowing in every page of it.
Secondly, if you don’t know much about wildlife, you might find trouble in maintaining the flow because names of specific birds and trees often directed me to “Google God”. But it helped in enriching the information. Also if you have little urban upbringing, there are many stories waiting for you that are often considered as “myths” to other side of the world. Yes the haunting Stories of jungle are there. And if you ever had any such experience, the detailed description is enough to send a shiver in your spine.
During the read I was amazed with the detailing of jungle he wrote, about plants, about animals, even the sound that birds make, was explained. I always considered Jim Corbett as a hunter but after Jungle Lore, my perception changed. Now I consider him as a naturalist who actually learned everything about nature by living closest possible to it. And if you look jungle from Corbett’s eyes, you will find it alive and breathing.
In every chapter you will get amazed by the observations of Corbett that he wrote flawlessly. However book seems little slow while reading. Some may consider it boring, just because the minute level of Jungle is really unknown for people like us. But if you want to know the jungle and the nature, Trust me, Jungle Lore won’t let you down.
Book is full of many small and big incidents that happened with him in his young age. You can read how he learned to shoot, and how he felt when he first hunted down an animal. Corbett always said about his sixth sense that he called as “jungle sensitiveness” that was developed after his close association with jungle for almost all of his life. And after reading it, I can say Jim Corbett was one of the first person to realize that the jungle with all its beauty is an aesthetic element which needs to be preserved in its natural wild form and the heart of ’Jungle Lore’ echoes a deep cry that tell we have lost the respect for Mother Nature.
Now very less of the forests are left, once where Corbett roamed with his gun hanging on shoulder, has been destroyed. The majestic tigers that once ruled the jungles are now struggling to save their existence and the graceful leopards are now only remained a shadow of their past existence. For me ’Jungle Lore’ is one of the best attempts by the author to reunite man with Nature again.