Kenneth Anderson (writer)
|Subjects||Wildlife, big game hunting, Southern India|
Kenneth Anderson hailed from a Scottish family settled in India for six generations. His father (Douglas Stewart Anderson) was superintendent of the F.C.M.A. in Poona, Maharastra and dealt with the salaries paid to military personnel, having an honorary rank of captain. His father also had a rifle and often hunted for waterfowl. Even though his father was not a hunter of man eating carnivores, he was the person who had the most influence on Anderson's decision to become a hunter.
Anderson did his schooling from Bishop Cotton Boys' School and studied in St. Joseph's College, Bangalore. He was employed by the British Aircraft Factory in Bangalore (HAL Later) in the rank of Factory Manager for Planning. He owned nearly 200 acres of land across Karnataka, Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu as stated in his books. He had a daughter June (born 1930) who now resides in Western Australia and also a son Donald Anderson (born 1937) who was also an avid hunter and resides in Bangalore, India.
His love for the inhabitants of the Indian jungle led him to big game hunting and eventually to writing real-life adventure stories. He would often go into the jungle alone and unarmed to meditate and enjoy the beauty of untouched nature. As a hunter, he tracked down man-eating tigers and leopards to eliminate the threat they posed to villages. Some of his most notable kills include the Sloth bear of Mysore, the Leopard of Gummalapur, the Leopard of the Yellagiri Hills, the Tigress of Jowlagiri, the Tiger of Segur and the Tiger of Mundachipallam.
He is officially recorded as having shot 8-man-eating leopards (7 males and 1 female) and 7 tigers (5 males and 2 females) on the Government records from 1939 to 1966 though he is rumored to have unofficially shot over 18–20-man eating panthers and over 15–20-man eating tigers. He also shot a few rogue elephants.
His style of writing is unassuming, descriptive and engaging as he talks about his adventures with many wild animals. While most stories are about hunting tigers and panthers (or leopards) – particularly those that were man-eaters – he also includes chapters on his first-hand encounters with dangerous elephants, bison, and bears. There are also stories about the less 'popular' creatures like Indian wild dogs, hyenas, and snakes. He takes pains to explain the habits and personalities of these animals.
Anderson also gives valuable insights into the people of the Indian jungles of his time, with their lush green woods teeming with wildlife and local inhabitants having to contend with poor quality roads, communication and health facilities. His books delve into the habits of the jungle tribes, their survival tactics, and their day-to-day lives.
Besides focusing on Indian wildlife, he also explores the subject of the occult and writes about his live experiences with unusual phenomena (for which he has no explanation). He was a personal friend and devotee of the Satya Sai Baba, whom he had known since childhood and always carried a talisman produced by the Baba with him for his protection. Anderson helped save the jungle dwelling tribes from the horrors of man-eaters in many villages in the south Indian states. He also was well versed in speaking Kannada, the language of his home town Bangalore, and also spoke Tamil, the language spoken in the neighboring states to some extent. He had a Studebaker car and usually used a .405 Winchester Model 1895 rifle for hunting. In addition to his reputation as a hunter, he was a pioneer of wildlife conservation in southern India, and spent his later years "shooting" with a camera.
In addition to the themes of adventure and survival, Anderson also expounds on his love for India, its people, and its jungles. He was a firm believer in the power of alternative medicine and always carried a box containing various kinds of natural herbs from the jungle with him. He refused most treatments based on Western medicine and died of prostate cancer at the age of 64 on 30 August 1974. (However, when he was mauled once by a man-eating tiger, he writes that he had taken a shot of penicillin to counter the possible infection.). This incident is described in his book "Man Eaters and Jungle Killers" in the chapter entitled "The Maurauder of Kempekarai". His last book, Jungles Long Ago, was published posthumously.He also wrote a novel called the "Fires of Passion" which highlighted the situation of the Scottish people in South India".
In his introduction to Tales from the Indian Jungle, Anderson writes: “He [Anderson] appears to be of the jungle himself, and we get the impression that he belongs there. This is the home for him and here is the place he would want to die; the jungle is his birthplace, his heaven and his resting place when the end comes."
Kenneth Anderson became well acquainted with many jungle folk from various aborigine tribes; Byra the Poojare from the poojaree tribe, Ranga a petty shikari who also occasionally took poaching, and Rachen from the Sholaga tribe. Some of his friends such as Hughie Hailstone also had estates in South India and he also tells us about Eric Newcombe, his friend from his young days who used to get into a lot of trouble.
- Nine Maneaters And One Rogue (1954)
- Man Eaters and Jungle Killers (1957)
- The Black Panther of Sivanipalli and Other Adventures of the Indian Jungle (1959)
- The Call of the Man Eater (1961)
- This is the Jungle (1964)
- The Tiger Roars (1967)
- Tales from the Indian Jungle (1970)
- Jungles Long Ago (1976)
- The Fires of Passion (1969)
- Jungles Tales for Children (1971)
Kenneth Anderson Omnibus Vol. 1
Kenneth Anderson Omnibus Vol.2
- The Black Panther of Sivanipalli and Other Adventures of the Indian Jungle
- The Tiger Roars
- Jungles Long Ago
- Anderson, Kenneth "Man Eaters and Jungle Killers", Swapna Printing Works
- Hunters Tales, Frontline Onnet
- The definitive online resource for Kenneth Anderson fans
- Nine man-eaters and one rogue 1955
- The Black Panther Of Sivanipalli 1959
- Some controversies – "Hunter's Tales" in Frontline, Mar 2010 (last accessed 26-Sep-11)
- Hunting Tales of Kenneth Anderson in Urdu-Part 01-شکاریات-منتخب کردہ دلچسپ کہانیاں-حصہ اول-راشد اشرف
- A picture of Kenneth Anderson's grave can be viewed here.