02 August, 2021

All Shikaris Get Hunted Down

Demystified, Hulson Sahib emerges less of a romantic and more a hunter who feasted on Garhwal's bounty

R. Prasad
All Shikaris Get Hunted Down
Writing a biography of an obscure individual some 150 years after his death is no mean feat. Works of reference are few; documents and records have perished or lie scattered; descendants have vanished or cannot be traced. In spite of these drawbacks, D.C. Kala, a veteran journalist, has produced a readable and fairly entertaining account of the life and times of Frederick Wilson (1816-83)—shikari, taxidermist, timber contractor, merchant adventurer—whose unconventional lifestyle kept the gossips busy in 19th century British India and made him something of a legend in the hills of Garhwal.

So potent was the legend that over the years it became distorted and magnified, so that it became difficult for an interested observer to separate the man from the myth. Kala set about to do just this. He spent several years on the trail of Wilson, and his research was carried out without funds, grants or sponsorships—without which modern researchers find it so difficult to work. Kala was the old-fashioned sort who used his own limited resources to...

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