Kenneth Anderson (writer)
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8 March 1910|
British India (now India)
30 August 1974 (aged 64)|
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
|Subject||Wildlife, big game hunting, Southern India|
|Children||June Anderson, Donald Anderson|
Kenneth Anderson was born at [Bolarum] and came from a Scottish family that settled in India for six generations. His father Douglas Stewart Anderson was superintendent of the F.C.M.A. in Poona, Maharashtra and dealt with the salaries paid to military personnel, having an honorary rank of captain. His mother Lucy Ann née Taylor was the grand-daughter of John Taylor who, for his services, had been gifted land in Bangalore by Sir Mark Cubbon. Douglas like most British soldiers took an interest in sport hunting and influenced Anderson's interest in the outdoors and hunting.
Anderson went to Bishop Cotton Boys' School and also studied at St. Joseph's College, Bangalore. He was sent to study law at Edinburgh but he quit studies and returned to India. He worked for fifteen years in the posts and telegraph department and later worked at the British Aircraft Factory in Bangalore (later HAL) in the rank of Factory Manager for Planning. He owned nearly 200 acres of land across Karnataka, Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu. In 1972 he was diagnosed with cancer from which he died in 1974. He was buried at the Hosur road cemetery.
Anderson met Blossom Hyacinth Minnette née Fleming who came from Sri Lanka (her mother Millicient Toussaint was a Burgher while her father Clifford Fleming was from Australia) at Bowring Club in Bangalore and married her in April 1929 at Sorkalpet, Cuddalore. They had a daughter June born 19 June 1930 and Donald (18 February 1934 - 12 July 2014) who also took an interest in hunting. The couple separated in later life and with Kenneth Anderson moving to living in Whitefield while Blossom stayed on at Prospect House, their home on Sydney Road (now Kasturba Road). Blossom died on 11 March 1987. Their son Donald moved to live on 10 Serpentine Street.
Outdoors and writings
His love for the inhabitants of the Indian jungle led him to big game hunting and to writing real-life adventure stories. He often went 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. His 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 man eating panthers and over 15–20-man eating tigers. He also shot a few rogue elephants.
Anderson's style of writing is descriptive, as he talks about his adventures with wild animals. While most stories are about hunting tigers and leopards – particularly man-eaters – he includes chapters on his first-hand encounters with elephants, bison, and bears. There are stories about the less 'popular' creatures like Indian wild dogs, hyenas, and snakes. He explains the habits and personalities of these animals.
Anderson gives insights into the people of the Indian jungles of his time, with woods full of 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 skills, and their day-to-day lives.
He also explored the occult, and wrote about his experiences for which he had no explanation. Anderson was often sought to shoot man-eaters in villages in southern India. He spoke Kannada, the language of his home town Bangalore, and Tamil, a language of the neighboring states. He had a Studebaker car and usually hunted with a .405 Winchester Model 1895 rifle. He was a pioneer of wildlife conservation in southern India, and spent his later years "shooting" with a camera.
Anderson expounds his love for India, its people, and its jungles. He believed in the power of alternative medicine and carried a box containing natural herbs from the jungle. He refused most treatments based on Western medicine and died of prostate cancer. (However, when he was mauled by a man-eating tiger, he took 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 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 to 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)
- Tales of Man Singh: King of Indian Dacoits (1961)
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, Donald; Mathew, Joshua (2018). The Last White Hunter. Reminiscences of a Colonial Shikari. Indus Source Books. pp. 205–236.
- Anderson, Kenneth "Man Eaters and Jungle Killers", Swapna Printing Works
- Hunters Tales, Frontline Onnet
- A picture of Kenneth Anderson's grave can be viewed here.
- The definitive online resource for Kenneth Anderson fans
- Biography of Donald Anderson, Kenneth's son
- 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