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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, June 18, 2002

The Tiger Picture Story

The Story Behind the Picture

In 1943, my family lived in the small town of Hirekerur, then in the Dharwad district of Mysore state, where my father was a postmaster. We three siblings were very young. A tiger was eating away cattle in the outskirts of the town and Dodda-adaveppa, a landlord of Hirekerur, who had a licensed gun, shot down the tiger. In those days tiger killing was encouraged by the British government as they posed danger to domesticated animals and men.

A photographer was brought from Gadag, the nearest city, to document the great event. My mother, who was a good friend of the two wives (yes, two; living in the same house) of the landlord was invited with us kids for the group photograph. Soon after this incident, my mother passed away by typhoid, and we left the place.

In 1972, after I got my doctorate in History, my husband (late Dr. K. L. Kamat) took me touring the historical temples of Ballegavi and I told him about our days in Hirekerur, which was nearby and we visited the town.

It was thirty years since I had left the town, and Dodda-adiveppa was dead. But both his wives were living. His son (extreme left in the picture), a father of six children was now the master of the house. They were all extremely happy to see the daughter of their old friend, who had died thirty years ago. The old photograph was brought out at my request, which my husband faithfully re-photographed.

When the Tiger was killed ...
When the Tiger was Killed
My mother (in center) with two wives of the landlord. Third from right is me.

The photograph (shown above) is a prized posession of Kamat photo archives. Thirty more years have passed by since its restoration!
There are no more tigers round about the towns, and tiger shooting is a crime now in India.

See Also:
• Kamat PhotoQuilt of Bengal Tiger
• Kamat Family Album
• Stories Behind the Stories

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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