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Title: Shooting a tiger : big-game hunting and conservation in colonial India
Author: Mandala, Vijaya Ramadas
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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The thesis studies hunting in colonial India as an integral aspect of colonial governance. My research positions shikar or hunting at the heart of colonial rule by demonstrating that, for the British in India, it served as political, practical and symbolic apparatus in the consolidation of power and rule. What had been set in motion as mere recreational sport in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was later identified as critical to the continuation of colonial commercial and political business and extension of territorial control, particularly evident in the government’s ruthless policy on forest populations and the utilitarian approach to wildlife conservation. In addition, shikar also constituted a site where colonial hunters could exhibit their manly prowess and superior martial and firearm skills, in a deadly display of raw power. As I show, sportly big-game exploits as colonial metaphors of rule were eminently exportable and instrumental in impressing not just local subject populations but also metropolitan audiences back in England. As an exclusive privilege exercised by the ruling classes only, following colonial forest legislation, the Indian princes were privy to such privileges and played a critical role in sustaining the lavish hunts that became the hallmark of the late nineteenth century Raj. Hunting was not, however, just ‘sport’. It was also a way of life in colonial India, undertaken by officials and soldiers alike alongside their everyday routine duties, necessary for their mental sustenance and vital for the smooth operation of the colonial administration. The hunting world was a microcosm of officialdom replicating its strictly graded structure of rank and privilege, and closely watchful of access and social mobility among hunters.
Supervisor: Zacek, Natalie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History