Famed wildlife conservationist Dr Ullas Karanth applauded the herculean task by Joshua Mathew and his team for documenting the riches-to-rags story of hunter Donald Anderson, fondly called Don, and his wild times. Interestingly, Don has a Bengaluru connection as the sidecar bike used in the film ‘Sholay’ belonged to him.
He was speaking after releasing the book ‘Koneya Bili Betegara’ — a Kannada translation by L G Meera of Joshua Mathew’s biography of Donald Anderson, ‘The Last White Hunter’ —at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the city on Saturday.“Don Anderson eclipses his father Kenneth as he is honest in his narration, even about his flaws,” said Ullas, who is the son of legendary Kannada writer and Jnanpith Awardee Shivarama Karanth.
Making it explicitly clear that he, as an environmentalist, doesn’t share any sympathies with the white hunters who mercilessly shot and killed dozens of tigers and Cheetahs, Ullas said the book was important for the objective documentation of wildlife during the independence era and for throwing light on why wild animals disappeared at the time. “I tried to get the Kannada version published through those close to me but could not as they termed it an anti-conservationist act,” he said.
Kalimullah — a Kannada professor passionate about wildlife photography — said the book serves as a historical document since it covers Bengaluru from the days when it was a hunting ground.
Stating that he was pained to see the pointless animal killing, he felt the arrogance and unrestricted power of these white hunters were primarily responsible for the tragedy.
“Legendary hunter Kenneth Anderson taught his son hunting but asked him to relinquish hunting and smoking as a dying wish,” Kalimullah reminisced.
(Published 11 November 2023, 20:25 IST)