Kenneth Anderson (1910–1974)
Kenneth Anderson (1910–1974)
Kenneth Anderson was an Indian writer and hunter who wrote many books about his adventures in the jungles of South 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 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 son Donald Anderson (1937 - Present) who was also an avid hunter.
Career as a Hunter
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.
Kenneth Anderson with Man-Eater of Jowlagiri
Man-Eater of Segur
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.
Man-Eater of Yellagiris
Kenneth Anderson Son with Panther
Unlike Jim Corbett, who hunted in North India - from the foothills of the Himalayas, the Sivaliks, Garhwal, Kumaon to Northern MP - Anderson hunted in South India - Andhrapradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Northern Malabar and (Kerala) (then Madras Presidency, Mysore State and Hyderabad Principality).
He had a dog Nipper, a mongrel acquired on one of his hunting trips. In his books he writes he was fond of smoking a pipe on many occasions.
Ken with a mongrel that saved his life, Nipper
His books are hailed as classics of jungle lore. 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 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.
Anderson's books are fairly popular, and recently two omnibuses of his work have been published. The following is a list of the books written by him:
• Nine Man-Eaters And One Rogue (1954)
• The Black Panther of Sivanipalli and Other Adventures of the Indian Jungle (1959)
• Jungles Long Ago
• Man Eaters and Jungle Killers
• Tiger Roars
• Tales from the Indian Jungle
• This is the Jungle
• The Call of the Man Eater
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 treatments based on Western medicine and died of cancer at the age of 64 in August 1974. His last book, Jungles Long Ago, was published posthumously.