In India, hunting is referred to as shikar. Tiger is one of the most ferocious animals with high power and strength. Capturing this prey is not very easy as it sounds, making tiger hunting one of the most thrilling sports involving a lot of risks. Tiger hunting in India can be associated with power and courage. The person who captured the most hunts were declared to be very brave, and it was a matter of pride. The Mughals first introduced shikar or hunting in India. In the 16th century, Jalalud- Din Muhammad Akbar first set out on a tiger hunt capturing more than five tigers. Since then, tiger hunting was considered as the most heroic spot in India. In Museum’s if you notice, Mughal paintings always contained Jawans hunting on an elephant or horse. The person who hunted the maximum tigers was declared the winner and was awarded mightily. This was the start of tiger hunting in India.
The British Rule and Tiger Hunting.
Hunting tiger was regarded as the highest form of bravery. The Maharajas in India set out for hunting in huge numbers. They returned with much pride, showcasing the carcass of over hundreds of tigers. The servants of the Maharaja’s sometimes drugged the tigers before the Jawans set out for hunting. This practice was banned later on. Tiger hunting was officially declared as a sport during the British rule. Tiger hunting, later on, was kept as a competition between states and other Countries. When Kings from other Countries visited India, they set out for tiger hunting competitions. The carcass of the kill was taken back to other Countries if they won the game. The significant hunting setbacks were the extinction of the tiger population. Hunting did not end here. In the year 1911, King George set out for tiger hunting in Nepal. He killed almost 39 tigers in a day. Colonel Geoffrey Nightingale in the same year slaughtered more than 300 tigers. Tiger hunting practices posed a significant threat to the tiger community. In India, many of the Rewa kings, though it was an excellent omen to kill tigers. Every time a princess was born, a tiger would be shot to indicate auspiciousness.
After Independence Scenario.
After independence, more tigers were killed to make tiger pelts to export them abroad. It is known that the Maharaja of Surguja has slain more than 1150 tigers. Maharajas associated with the highest number of kills were awarded trophy as a sign of courage. This practice continued till the rule of Indira Gandhi.
The Indira Gandhi rule.
In 1970’s it was declared that the tiger species was wholly endangered in India. Indira Gandhi is known as the saviour of wildlife. She not only outlawed tiger hunting practices, but she also banned the export of tiger pelt to other Nations. In the 2011 tiger census, more than 3642 tigers were reported to be alive.