The Other Indian...2

This time I shall harp on another aspect of the other Indian that has fascinated me since my childhood. Not about my estranged friend that I told you earlier about. But a feature of the santhal community on the whole.

The sight of a hunted swine hung upside down on a bamboo stick stretching on the shoulders of two dark men has always grabbed my attention. The mark of the pierced arrow still there on the body of the animal. At times, the arrow too keeps slinging from its original place, where the beast was hit by these primitive hunters.

The spectacle carries me straight to the hills, into the hunting expedition of my fellow friends. I too begin to imagine myself as one of the hunters bravely chasing the animals, bow and arrow in hand. My hunting dogs backing me up to find the animals.

These are the real hunters I feel, unlike the nawabs or Bollywood actors who often get penalized for their love for the game. Hunting, unlike these natives is not their need. It is only for amusement that they hunt. Safely mounted on their jeep and armed with guns.

There are however only few such spectacles now. Most of the natives have given up the sport. They work as labourers now and get Rs 60 or 70 for a day’s work. Owing to large scale unscrupulous felling the region once known for its thick and extensive forests is now bereft of much of its jungle wealth. The number of boars in the depreciated jungle has also come down considerably.