A Tiger for Malgudi

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A Tiger for Malgudi
First US edition
AuthorR. K. Narayan
PublisherViking Press (US)
Heinemann (UK)
Publication date
Media typePrint

A Tiger for Malgudi is a 1983 novel by R. K. Narayan told by a tiger in the first person. Deeply moving is the attachment of the tiger to the monk and the monk's care for the tiger. R. K. Narayan consulted with noted tiger expert K. Ullas Karanth on the writing of this novel. Narayan used the myth of Buddha's enlightenment in this particular novel.


The tiger recounts his story of capture by a [circus] owner, but he never tried to escape. He lived freely in the wild jungles of India in his youth. He mates and has a litter with a tigress, and raises a litter until one day he finds that hunters have captured and killed his entire family. He exacts revenge by attacking and eating the cattle and livestock of nearby villages, but is captured by poachers. He is sent to a circus in Malgudi, where a harsh animal trainer known only as "the Captain" starves him and forces him to do tricks in the circus. He lives in captivity successfully for some time, but eventually his wild instincts overcome him and he mauls and kills the Captain. After an extended rampage though town, he is recaptured, but this time voluntarily by a monk/renunciant with whom he befriends and finds peace on the hills. The monk, called the Master, later realizing his own days are coming to an end, donates the elderly tiger to the local zoo, where he is cared for, admired by onlookers, and passes his days.