By Julie E. Hughes
One summer season night in 1918, a leopard wandered into the gardens of an Indian palace. Roused via the alarms of servants, the prince’s eldest son and his entourage rode elephant-back to discover and shoot the intruder. a thrilling yet insignificant vignette of existence less than the British Raj, we might imagine. but to the individuals, the search was once weighted down with symbolism. conscientiously choreographed in response to royal protocols, recorded by way of scribes and venerated by way of court docket artists, it used to be a powerful show of regal dominion over males and beasts alike. Animal Kingdoms uncovers the far-reaching cultural, political, and environmental significance of searching in colonial India.
Julie E. Hughes explores how Indian princes depended on their prowess as hunters to boost own prestige and solidify strength. Believing that males and animals built comparable features by means of inhabiting a shared atmosphere, they sought out quarry―fierce tigers, agile boar―with characteristics they was hoping to domesticate in themselves. mostly debarred from army actions lower than the British, additionally they used the quest to set up significant hyperlinks with the old battlefields and mythical deeds in their ancestors.
Hunting was once not just a method of showing masculinity and heroism, in spite of the fact that. Indian rulers strove to offer an image of privileged ease, perched in luxuriously equipped capturing bins and observed by way of lavish retinues. Their curiosity in being sumptuously sovereign was once the most important to raising the status of prized video game. Animal Kingdoms will tell historians of the subcontinent with new views and captivate readers with descriptions of its extraordinary landscapes and wildlife.
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Extra info for Animal Kingdoms: Hunting, the Environment, and Power in the Indian Princely States
24 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908), 87. D. , 1908), 11. 57â•›â•›Ramusack, Indian Princes, 110–11. 58â•›â•›Ravindra K. Jain, Between History and Legend: Status and Power in Bundelkhand (New Delhi: Orient Longman Private Limited, 2002), 9–10. , 5. G. Beville (PA-Bundelkhand), to V. Gabriel, October 11, 1902, GOI, BA, 42 of 1902, NAI. 30 Animal Kingdoms regional influence, tempered by some uncomfortable episodes. 61 Most jarring was Raja Bir Singh Deo’s 1602 murder of the famed Abu al-Fazl, carried out at the behest of Prince Salim, who later became the emperor Jahangir.
68â•›â•›Charles Eckford Luard, Gazetteer of India Eastern States (Bundelkhand) (Bhopal: Gazetteers Department, Government of India, 1995), 1 and 3. , 32 Animal Kingdoms including blackbuck, chinkara gazelle, and the ubiquitous leopard. Orchha was middling in its landscape as well, lacking the distinction of Mewar’s rugged hills. Riverine islands along the course of the Betwa occasionally offered some satisfactory tiger shooting, but Pratap Singh’s grounds on the whole were undistinguished and best known for small game.
Controlling Environments for Progressive Sport” describes conditions in Bikaner to explore the strategies princes could pursue to physically alter or rhetorically exalt a state’s shooting to compensate for perceived environmental deficiencies. The final two chapters explore themes transcending differences in landscape, game, and status. Adopting a more comparative approach, they draw on evidence from Mewar, Orchha, Bikaner, and other Rajput territories and subordinate noble estates. This produces a broader perspective on the place of shikar and shikargahs in elite Rajput identity, and a better sense of the general difficulties associated with princely sporting practices and policies in the late colonial context.