Life After The Indian Hunting Ban

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kawshik Rahman, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    After a small interval , l have managed to clear some time on my schedule , to write another article for my dear respected fellow forum members. At the request of gentlemen such as Mark Hunter and Gesch , today l have decided to write an article about life after the Indian hunting ban. Let us commence , dear readers .

    The Liberation War in Bangladesh , which culminated when the West Pakistani army declared armistice on December 16th of 1971 , had left a massive toll on the people of South East Asia .
    Screenshot_20191029-233824_01.png
    Victorious freedom fighters on 16th of December , 1971.

    Any person who has served in the armed forces and seen combat , will know how ugly war is .There are situations where war is justified ( obviously ) , but l do not think that there is a soldier alive , who can ever doubt that war is ugly . Old men start it . Young men fight it . And every man , woman and child caught in between , suffers . Make no mistake . Would l fight in the war again , if l could go back in time ? Without a doubt . I am proud to be a soldier before l am proud to be a hunter . But there is no doubt that war is ugly , although necessary at times.
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    Our Independence is signed

    The worst people to suffer were the soldiers . It must be borne in mind that the freedom fighters of Bangladesh Mukti Bahini ( Freedom Force ) comprised mostly of ordinary young men , who prior to the war , were medical students , business students , art students , law students , banking people or , in my case , professional Shikaris . Infact , barring myself and a few others , there were many young men who had never touched a fire arm prior to the war . For them , having to fight in a nine month long war without rest had taken , not only a physical toll , but a psychological toll as well.

    Even among those , like myself who were very experienced hunters , the experience was gruelling ( to put it lightly ) . Any one here , who has ever had to kill a person knows that pulling a trigger to kill an animal and pulling a trigger to kill a human person , is very different. When you are killing a human being , your are not only removing his existence , but you are also preventing him ( or her ) from becoming everything they could have become , had you not killed them.
    I do not mean to illicit any sympathy for myself . There are people in life who have suffered much greater losses than l ever have . However , when seven people very dear to you lose their lives in a war ( most dying cruel and painful deaths ) , and you suffer a bullet wound , one can safely say that the experience was far from pleasant.
    After the war , readjusting to life was not easy. My fiance , Antora was killed. Many of my friends ( including Mohiyuddin , whom l have written an article about here ) were all dead .
    During this time one needs an outlet to escape . For me , what could be a greater outlet than hunting again ?


    However , it was not to be . In January of 1972 , Indira Gandhi's renegade government passed the Wild Life Protection Act . It was a dastardly , loathsome act that banned hunting in any and all forms . This act was the brain child of the Hindu vegetarians who had begun to plague India and form a strong hold by this time. These people were filth and calling them irrational would not be just , to irrational people. I know that l will not be believed when l say this , but some of these people even drink cow urine , under the belief that it will give them a male child . Aside from hunting , the eating of beef had completely been banned and cattle slaughter ( even on private property ) was prohibited . Restaurants like Imperial Restora and Koshy's , which were renowned for their mutton chops and their steaks , suddenly had to adapt vegetarian menus .
    Poaching increased to rancid levels suddenly. Royal Bengal tigers and leopards were poisoned in large numbers by using Folidol . Male , female and immature animals were shot indiscriminately by using using locally made match lock muzzle loaders. Country bombs were used to blow up entire lakes to harvest fish illegally. However , the news and media kept blaming licensed hunters for all this , even though we had been banned from hunting long before the poaching even started .


    To make matters worse , meat eating itself started getting considered taboo . While , on paper , one could still eat chicken or mutton , you had mobs of people called Shakahari Shena ( animal police ) . These brigands were not police in the slightest sense , but merely a group of so - called intellectuals , who would go to butcher shops , beat up the employees and set chickens and sheep free from their cages . On more than a dozen incidents , the butcher or a shop worker was killed , yet the police took no action .
    Western cinema and music were also banned . Even dancing was banned and juke boxes were destroyed and removed from cafes . Imported liquor was heavily restricted , as well. Infact , now that l think of it , there was not one thing which l enjoyed doing , that existed in India anymore. Home was home , but only in name .
    The last straw was when the government declared that all imported fire arms in civilian possession must be confiscated . Indira Gandhi stripped the Maharajas and Royal families of their wealth and power . Dozens , if not hundreds of fine English fire arms from the colonial era were confiscated from the local Zamindaars and these were reduced to scrap metal . Hundreds , if not thousands of privately owned English fire arms were confiscated from citizens and destroyed , for " Public protection " .


    Then , one day , they went too far. A group of these " intellectuals " broke into my family house where my aged father and mother were ( l was watching my father's shop at the time ) . They took everything we held dear . I had two skins from two Royal Bengal tigers , a skull of a Gaur with massive horns and two carpets made from the skin of Asian sloth bears. Also , was my father's prized I Hollis 12 bore side by side shot-gun with 65 millimeter cartridge chambers . They took everything . That shot-gun was reduced to scrap metal and those Puroshkaar ( trophies ) were taken ( and knowing the corruption of the Indian government , in all probability , sold to some amoral dealer ) . At this time , the few British people who were still living in India after the 1947 Independence , were having all of their property confiscated in the name of the " Indian people " .
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    Father teaching me to shoot the I Hollis 12 bore side by side shot-gun when l was a child. This was the first time in my life when l had fired a fire arm.


    This had gone too far. I knew that l had to leave India with my parents. I could not live there any longer. There was nothing left for me there. Not one thing. My mental state was already miserable after the war and being deprived of everything that brought peace to me , was too much to bear.
    As l had fought in the Bangladesh Liberation War , l knew that l could live as a citizen there , with ease , especially since l had all my papers and documentation . Many of my surviving friends who had fought in the Bangladesh Liberation War had already moved there after India began to pass these Draconian laws . After a little discussion with my parents , it was decided .

    My good friend , Captain Newaz ( whom l have dedicated an article to , here ) was the greatest person , to influence me . Not only did he manage to hide his John Dickson and Son 12 bore side by side shot-gun in the water tank of his house , when the police were searching his house , but he had also managed to bring the gun to Bangladesh and resume hunting . Slowly , we began to transfer all of our family property to Bangladesh and by 1979 , we were in Bangladesh to start a new life. We never liked being in the city and so purchased a beautiful house in the Sylhet tea gardens area and a new life awaited my parents and l ( my younger sister moved to the United States of America ) .
    In Bangladesh , after the liberation war , the very first rifled bore fire arms being imported from 1972 onwards , were .22 Long Rifle calibre rifles ( bolt operation and auto loader ) , revolvers and pistols , and .32 bore revolvers and pistols. Ammunition for these fire arms were also available widely . Among smooth bore shot-guns , 12 bore shot-guns ( over - under , pump operation and auto loaders ) were imported .. 12 bore shot-gun cartridges were also being imported.

    Seeing the scope to purchase imported arms for myself , for the first time , l immediately purchased a Belgian .22 Long Rifle calibre auto loading rifle and numerous boxes of cartridges .
    I also became a founder member of Bangladesh Shooting Federation in 1979 and a part time instructor for youth shooters . I began to re -unite with many of my friends . At the same time , l made many new ones . And hunting was finally a possibility once more .
    IMG_20171013_174025.jpg
    Indoor air rifle shooting range for children at Bangladesh Shooting Federation


    I do not think that l can ever describe the joy l felt , to be hunting again after seven long and painful years ( to say nothing of enjoying steaks and mutton chops again ) . Anti hunting people will always say that hunters only think about killing animals. This is not true , even in the slightest. We are the real lovers of nature , and we want to conserve nature genuinely , so that our future generations can enjoy it. We enjoy walking through the forest , getting lost in the scenery. We enjoy the thrill of the hunt in and of itself and not just the killing. That little .22 bore rifle helped lay low a good deal of animals for our table. The first animal l shot in Bangladesh were hares . Mother and father were most pleased to see Wild game on the family table once more. I then expanded my list of quarry , to include birds , such as wild pigeons and cranes which were not flying . The little .22 bore rifle was certainly more than capable enough of putting down hares , pigeons and cranes with shots to the head. It certainly was nothing as exciting like the old days , when l was pursuing Royal Bengal tigers , leopards and Gaurs on a weekly basis. But be be hunting again and eating game meat , was a blessing in and of itself and l thanked the Lord for putting me back in my natural element.
    IMG_20190920_113418_01.jpg
    .22 Long Rifle cartridges from the 1970s decade. This box , l have still not opened .

    Sambhar deer and Chital deer were legally available for hunting annually , as were boars . However , to attempt to shoot these animals with a .22 bore rifle is utter folly , due to the unnecessary suffering that they would cause . Indeed , a friend of mine once took six bullets from a .22 bore rifle to kill a single Sambhar deer .
    Crocodiles which were occasionally causing problems in villages and bears were occasionally getting into private land from Maulvibazaar and they could be shot . Indeed , many of my friends were shooting them with 12 bore shot-guns , loaded with rifled slug bullets . My recently deceased friend , Dr. Shahjahan Haque purchased a beautiful 12 bore side by side shot-gun made by the Belgian firm , August Francotte from foreign country in 1977 . This beautiful shot-gun had a quarter choke in one barrel and a half choke in the other barrel. It had 70 millimeter chambers and Shahjahan used it to good effect , loaded with German slug type bullets made by the firm , Brenekke. Not only did he shoot Sambhar deers and Chital deers with it , but he also shot five bears over the years near the Sylhet tea gardens which would come into his land from Maulvibazaar . Those 12 bore rifled slug bullets certainly stopped those bears .
    My other friend , Major Jaber Sakir also owned a 12 bore side by side shot-gun , made in Belgium . It was built by the firm , Masquelier and had 70 millimeter chambers . The left barrel was a half choke and the right barrel was a quarter choke. Using German slug type bullets , he shot numerous Sambhar and Chital deer and also boars which would break into tea gardens and menace workers ( I am pleased to say that he is alive and healthy and continues his practices to this day ).
    And then , there was Captain Newaz who was still shooting problem causing Chita Baagh panthers with his John Dickson and Son 12 bore side by side shot-gun , loaded with Eley Alphamax LG cartridges .
    received_531068654383343.jpeg
    Captain Newaz being praised by a Bengali news paper in 1984 . By this time , he had killed his 73rd Chita Baagh panther .

    I decided , that l needed a shot-gun . Even though l knew how to operate all configurations , my preference lies with a double barrel shot-gun , as two chokes were always revered by me . I decided to get myself , an over under shot-gun . In 1990 , l had acquired my license for a shot-gun and paid a visit to Ahmed Hossain Arms ( the oldest arms shop in Bangladesh ) , where l saw many new over under shot-guns :
    There was the Japanese Miroku , the Belgian Browning and the Italian Beretta . I was really taken by a beautiful 12 bore Beretta over-under , a model s686 Special with 70 millimeter chambers . The upper barrel was a full choke and the lower barrel was a half choke. It had to be mine . I purchased it and it became my companion for hunting all manners of birds and deer , crocodiles and bears ( and problem causing boars near the tea gardens ) . Loaded with an SG cartridge in the lower barrel , it helped me lay low numerous Sambhar deer and Chital deer over the years for the table . It also helped dispatch a bear or two and a crocodile . Never could l be happier . What an improvement from the old , inferior Ishapore Arms Factory 12 bore side by side shot-gun which l had been forced to use , during my career as a professional Shikari from 1962 to 1970
    .
    IMG_20190920_113834.jpg
    The Beretta 12 bore over under which brought me great joy and continues to do so.
    IMG_20191023_145356_01.jpg
    Successful goose and crane hunt with friends in 1990 . I am wearing the black vest and half sleeve shirt and cap.





    In 1995 , l killed my final man eating leopard , which was causing problem in the villagers near the Sundarban forests by using this beautiful over under and an SG cartridge upon orders from officials . At the age of 54 , l decided that this was my final leopard , as l was getting old and had taken to wearing spectacles at the time . This was a young man's game and l did not wish to keep doing this , until a leopard finally made a meal out of me .
    ( Fortunately , l have had successful cataract surgery done to both my eyes and now l do not need spectacles anymore , by the grace of God )


    Around this time , my loneliness increased . Father passed away in 1984 and Mother , in 1990 . I was all alone again .


    However , around this time , my sister and her husband had a daughter named Fabliha , and they started visiting me in Bangladesh once every three months . I raised her like my own daughter and took her shooting , fishing and hunting with me from a very early age . For her , l purchased a Brno bolt operation rifle in .22 Long Rifle calibre and she would use it to hunt hares and pigeons on her visits .
    IMG_20190920_114723.jpg
    Brno .22 Long Rifle bolt operation rifle owned by Fabliha , purchased by me when she was not of legal age to purchase fire arms.

    When , she was 18 years of age , she killed her first deer with that rifle and a single bullet . It had gotten into the tea gardens and she managed to shoot it through the ear hole from the roof of our out house . I could never be more proud . That deer skin still adorns this proud uncle's sofa to this date .
    IMG_20190920_143758.jpg
    The deer killed by 18 year old Fabliha

    IMG_20191002_033105.jpg
    Chital deer shot by my niece's boyfriend , Daniel using a model 1897 shot-gun from Winchester , loaded with a Remington LG cartridge .



    In 2015 , Bangladesh Shooting Federation authorized the import of magnum .22 bore rides and pistols and revolvers . The magnum .22 bore rifle which was ( and still is ) being imported was a bolt operation rifle , made by the Austrian Firm , ISSC and it had a magazine holding 10 cartridges . I immediately purchased one and l saw that l could use it to hunt Sambhar and Chital deer if my aim was correctly placed I their neck region .
    Now currently , l alternate between using the Beretta 12 bore over under loaded with an SG cartridge and the magnum .22 bore ISSC bolt operation rifle , for my deer hunts.
    Screenshot_20191030-043202_01_01.png



    Very recently , l acquired a 12 bore side by side shot-gun made by the English firm , Westley Richards in 1929 , which l will use for pigeons and quails and hares with number 6 cartridges ( Game bore ) . It was available for sale from Columbia fire arms Company in Bangladesh .
    Screenshot_20191030-043344_01_01.png



    That is what my hunting life is , now .
    No where near the grand Shikars of my youth , where l was guiding foreign clients after Royal Bengal tigers , leopards and Gaur . I now hunt two deers annually ( one of the Sambhar variety and one of the Chital variety ) , about a dozen cranes and two dozen ducks and geese in a year . This of course , does not include the pigeons , quails , hares and deer which can be hunted in private land , or the very occasional bear , or the problem causing boars which try menacing tea garden workers . You also cannot hunt in forested area without permission from the police DC overseeing the local area where you are going to hunt ( although , they are very considerate people and do not give hunters a difficult time )
    However , l am content . Compared to what India has become , l am proud to say that Bangladesh has at least taken steps in the right direction . In 2023 , .3006 caliber rifles , 20 bore shot-guns and .45 Automatic Colt Pistol calibre pistols will also be imported into the country. For a third world country , which had it's Independence less than five decades ago , l would think we are doing alright. Also , given that most people here are either supportive or indifferent to hunting , if they are not hunting themselves , we also do not have to worry about media demonizing us .
    Some times in life , you lose things which can never be recovered once lost. However , maybe you can find something else that brings happiness to you .
    I would like to conclude this article by saying that this is my 20 - th and final article on these forums . Over the course of the last six weeks , my dear respected forum members have been most supportive and kind to me . I have provided accounts of hunting Royal Bengal tigers , leopards , Gaurs , Asian sloth bears , Boars and crocodiles and l am touched by the positive support that l have gotten from every one here.
    If you are interested in reading more of my accounts , please purchase the upcoming book " A hobby called Hunting " written by the respected forum member , Hoss Santiago Delgado ( who is called Hoss Delgado , here ) . I have contributed to chapter six and seven of that book which deals with hunting in India from 1950 to 1970 and current shooting sports in Bangladesh . It contains 20 personally taken photographs of my Shikar experiences . I am of course , still going to be regularly contributing on these forums and if anyone ever wants me to write any article about any particular hunting topic here , based on my experiences , l will happily oblige.
    I hope all my dear forum members have enjoyed the last 20 accounts given by this old man of days lost forever.
    And remember , the owner of this site , Mr. Jerome is a most noble genlteman fighting to ensure that hunting and true conservation remain intact in Africa for future generations . Support the community . Do not let Africa ever fall like India . You will not know what it feels like , until it is taken from you. I know what it feels like from personal experience .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2019

  2. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow, I really enjoyed this read! Thank you for sharing this with us!!
     
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  3. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.
     

  4. Stephen Ausband

    Stephen Ausband New Member

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    I have enjoyed greatly reading every article you have posted. Thank you for all you have written, and I hope to read more from you in the future.
     
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  5. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Thank you for your kind words and support.
     

  6. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks for all the good reading Mr. Rahman. I have to say I will miss the story’s, but I can read them over again. I am excited to read Hoss’s book.
    I am glad you were able to find joy in hunting again after all those years.
     
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  7. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Wyatt Smith
    I am always here contributing on these forums . Whenever anyone would like me to write any article here on any matter , never hesitate.
     

  8. Mike Van Horn

    Mike Van Horn AH Veteran

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    Very interesting. I am new to this forum and will do a search for your other articles
    Thank you for posting

    Mike
     
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  9. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Thank you for sharing, sorry to see this was the last one. I enjoyed them!
     
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  10. Malambo

    Malambo New Member

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    Great contribution, Thank you
     
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  11. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Fascinating read. Thank you for so many spellbinding adventures. What happened in India sort of sounds like what some idiots here in America are trying to do. Hunting and firearms are under constant attack.
     
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  12. gesch

    gesch AH Veteran

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    Thank you for your gracious attitude and beautiful writing about things that are both joyful and sad. It is impressive to me that you maintain a positive perspective that is always respectful. I have learned a lot about hunting and culture in a part of the world that I know little of. I hope to continue our interactions on this site and perhaps in person some day when you visit! Perhaps we could hunt together. That would be a thrill for me! Your friend, Brian
     
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  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Thank you my friend so much for the gift you have provided all of us over the last few weeks. I am sure they will provide a great reading in Hoss’s book, but I hope that you will seriously consider putting together something of your own. It will be a unique glimpse of a period of history which is all too little known or understood in the West.

    In particular, thank you for reminding us the toll that the sort of war you fought can take on a people. A number of contributors here have seen combat, but few of us have fought for our very existence - our right to exist as a free people.
     
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  14. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    I really hope that this is not your final words here, I have really enjoyed your stories from a time that will soon be forgotten. I like others here hope that you will take the time to write a book on your time as a Hunter and guide in India.
     
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  15. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you for putting effort into educating us! I have appreciated reading your hunting histories.
     
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  16. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I hope that you enjoy the other accounts as well .
     

  17. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Living the Dream
    Do not worry. If any of you gentlemen ever desire me to write about a particular topic , l will happily oblige.
     

  18. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.
     
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  19. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Infact , the reason l ended with this account , is to implore MTL dear readers not to let the United States of America or Africa ever end up like India. The damage is irreversible now.
     

  20. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Fanatic

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    Your appreciation was noticed by me from the very beginning. I am always a regular contributor on these forums and obviously we shall interact whenever you desire. Respect is something which is very important to me . Perhaps , we may hunt one day together . The world is full of endless possibilities. If you ever need me to write some particular article , l will readily do so. Never hesitate.
     

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