Ah, these old books!

Recently, my Club which is the oldest of its kind in Bangalore where I live had a sale of old books. I was one of those who made a beeline, not quite knowing what to expect. I felt there could be some good books up for sale at extremely low prices. I was not disappointed. Here is one of the “treasures” I picked up:-

“The All-In-One Shikar Book” by Colonel Maurice Tulloch, must have been mandatory reading for gentlemen during the days of the British Raj. The version I found was published by D.B.Taraporevala Sons Co, Ltd. It was priced at all of Rs. 10! Shikar was the term used for big game hunting in those days. In case you are not familiar with the term, here’s an article about how big it was especially amongst the British white sahebs and the Indian Princes.

Interestingly, the year of publication is not mentioned but it entered the Club’s library in July 1948 which makes it even older than me! Col. Tulloch was commissioned into the Indian Cavalry from the British Service in 1916 so one tends to believe he must have written this at the fag-end of his life in India.

This is a delightful book with 89 illustrations by the author himself : of guns, wild game, hunters and everything else you would associate with a book with such a title. I realize that big game hunting has gone in a much earlier era but I loved the sportsmen’s code that was scrupulously followed by the hunters. There is a chapter devoted to this which begins, ” We now come to the code which shall govern your actions as a sportsman: the game laws written and unwritten.”

For those who loved to read about the Raj, this book brings back an era which has gone forever. One in which men worked hard and played hard. Where they enjoyed big game hunting but were at the same time acutely conscious of the need for wild life preservation.

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