Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jim Corbett - "Carpet Sahib"

A hot Sunday afternoon, I was browsing through my small book collection when my eyes fell on my beloved hardbound "The Jim Corbett Omnibus"

Ahh! I still remember reading it in my 8th standard at a friend's house. The hours of joy and wonder at the style of writing coupled with the interesting content had me immersed in the book when all my other friends were playing.

I still feel the same stirrings in my heart when I read this book. For me, it rates as being one of those timeless works, on the lines of Pride and Prejudice.

I recently read Corbett's biography and some other real-life anecdotes somewhere. I was saddened when I found that Corbett left India during Independence, believing that Indians would consider him a "foreigner" and that he would not be welcome. I guess he made his only mistake - unfortunately, we have lost much.

If Corbett were still alive when the following happened, he would have understood that his love of India and her people was unmatched and those people revered him almost like a God. Now to the incident:
A group of people were doing a short video on Corbett near Kumaon. An old, old man came to the shooting and asked to meet "Carpet Sahib." He had walked non-stop for days to this place and was taken to the actor who was playing the role of Corbett. He fell at the actor's feet and said that he had never believed in the story that Corbett had left India and died in Africa!

Great is the reverence one feels after reading him. Consider how people who knew him felt about him. It is indeed fitting that India's premier wildlife park is named after the man who has fired the imagination of thousands like me.

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