The Royal Bengal Tiger Which Got A Shikaree Hanged

Major Khan

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Thank you Major.

Question:
Did Rongon get a fair trial?
With an true judge on an fair court?
Or made the police the decision?
I do not believe that l am qualified to answer that question with 100 % accuracy , Bull Hunter .
Both Tobin and l were away in West Bengal , at the time of this occurrence . We were assigned to dispose of that man eating royal Bengal tiger and by the time we had returned to Nagpur , Rongon Daas had already been hung to death . Kawshik Rahman is actually more qualified to answer this question , since he was actually present at the trial when Rongon had been sentenced to death . Kawshik always was of view that Rongon had been tried unfairly , but then again Kawshik is a soft hearted human being who has always seen nothing , but the good in people . Kawshik’s deceased partner , Karim Chowdhury always believed that Rongon really did murder that American client indirectly .
Personally speaking , l would not put it past Rongon to push a client to the ground in order to escape a charging royal Bengal tiger . Out of decency , Kawshik will never admit it , but Rongon basically left Kawshik and another client to die once , when a royal Bengal tiger had charged their shikar party. He was holding the client’s loaded 9.3 x 74 Rimmed calibre double barreled side by side rifle , loaded with 286 grain RWS soft nose cartridges at the time . Instead of opening fire at the royal Bengal tiger or even tossing the gun to the client , Rongon basically left them for dead . The only reason why both Kawshik and the client survived was because Kawshik shot the royal Bengal tiger at point blank range with both barrels of his Indian Ordinance Factories 12 Bore shot gun , which was loaded with SG cartridges ( each cartridge held 12 copper plated pellets ) . Against all odds , those 2 buck shot cartridges successfully killed the 500 pound royal Bengal tiger . This is also , to my knowledge the only time a fully grown charging male royal Bengal tiger was successfully killed with buck shot of ANY size . I think that a man who can leave his comrade and co worker to die without any remorse whatsoever , is also capable of leaving a total stranger to die , in order to escape a royal Bengal tiger’s wrath .
That said , l should not make any remarks about Rongon’s trial , because l was not present that day at the trial . Regardless of whether or not Rongon was actually guilty , l do believe that the Nilgiri Wild Life Association’s main motivation for having Rongon executed , was to make a public statement that they did not take the deaths of our foreign clients lightly . This is because , as l have mentioned in the story itself , the revenue earned from foreign clients coming to India for shikar used to contribute greatly to India’s economy back in those days.
 

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I was slow to find this article, but it proved well worth the wait and the read.
Once again, The Major does not disappoint!

Several thoughts occurred to me, 1. The fact that the pre-64 Win used by the client was a CRF did not save him, 2. Whether or not the PH fired his .315 will forever remain a mystery, and 3. Whenever you attack a large cat, be prepared for the consequence.......Thank you Poton, for a fine, if sad, glimpse into yesteryear........Bill
 

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I was slow to find this article, but it proved well worth the wait and the read.
Once again, The Major does not disappoint!

Several thoughts occurred to me, 1. The fact that the pre-64 Win used by the client was a CRF did not save him, 2. Whether or not the PH fired his .315 will forever remain a mystery, and 3. Whenever you attack a large cat, be prepared for the consequence.......Thank you Poton, for a fine, if sad, glimpse into yesteryear........Bill
Thank you so much , Bill. I am really glad that you enjoyed this reminiscence so much. Fortunately , in modern times ... common sense has finally prevailed . No hunter these days ( hopefully ) will ever look at a .220 Swift calibre rifle and rationalize that it would make a good choice for dispatching a 500 pound male royal Bengal tiger.
 

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Yes, Poton.....so true......I actually owned a 220 Swift as my first varmint rifle. It was a single shot Ruger No. 1 and reasonably accurate. Never shot anything larger than a rock chuck with it, but the results were spectacular. I traded this rifle for two rifles: a .223 and a .243 both in bolts. After shooting the 220, my father commented "I think it would kill anything". I'm glad we didn't test his theory........Bill
 

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Major Kahn, Sir:
For your statement Nr. 61
- Was it in an open trail
- Did poor Rongon had an defence / an lawer
- Are they any witness of the "accident / murder" case
- Articels of the newspaper in these days
- Was it normal to get the death penatly in These days for murder
- Was it murder first or second degree
- Was he hanged in public

- Are they and other cases for an shikari in these day, to get hanged (or to go in prison) then they did not protect the clint
- Any news from our forum-friend Kawshik Rahman

???????
:)

Kawshik Rahman is actually more qualified to answer this question , since he was actually present at the trial when Rongon had been sentenced to death .
Maybe he can make an statement
 

Major Khan

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Major Kahn, Sir:
For your statement Nr. 61
- Was it in an open trail
- Did poor Rongon had an defence / an lawer
- Are they any witness of the "accident / murder" case
- Articels of the newspaper in these days
- Was it normal to get the death penatly in These days for murder
- Was it murder first or second degree
- Was he hanged in public

- Are they and other cases for an shikari in these day, to get hanged (or to go in prison) then they did not protect the clint
- Any news from our forum-friend Kawshik Rahman

???????
:)


Maybe he can make an statement
Those are some quite intriguing questions , Bull Hunter . Please , allow me to answer all of them with thoroughness.
> The trial of Rongon Daas was a small trial , because the Nilgiri Wild Life Association wanted to attract as less attention as possible to this event . As it was ... a foreign client had already been killed and the Nilgiri Wild Life Association Desiree to end this matter as quickly as possible.
> Rongon did have a defense lawyer . However , the lawyer did not really much incentive to defend Rongon , because Rongon did not pay the lawyer to represent him . The lawyer was appointed to represent Rongon .
> Rongon’s tracker did , in fact give a testimony in the court . It was that 1 single testimony which provided the last nail on the coffin , for Rongon . The tracker claimed that Rongon actually PUSHED that American client to the ground , in order to escape . However , it is also a widely known fact that the tracker and Rongon were not on the best of terms at the time of this incident ( Rongon often used to beat up that tracker for the slightest of errors . ) .
> This incident did feature on a newspaper published in Darjeeling in 1965 . However , it was in Bengali . If you would like .... I can try asking Kawshik ( who has some distant relatives who still live in Darjeeling . ) to source the news paper clipping for you . Then , I can post it on African Hunting Forums with an English translation.
> Back in those days , it was the standard practice to hang some one who had been convicted of murder . This is still the law in India and Bangladesh today . However , we also use the firing squad on some occasions .
> Rongon was hanged in public , from the " Phashi Gaach " ( Hanging Tree ) located on the out skirts of Darjeeling. This tree was ( and probably still is ) a massive Banyan tree which local Indian authorities would use to hang people from , for hundreds of years. It was reported to be 1 of the oldest trees in Darjeeling and the legends claim that more than 15,000 people have been hung to death from this very tree in the last 6 centuries .
> There were a few other cases of professional shikarees getting hung to death , if their international clients got killed , during a shikar . However , all of these incidents occurred BEFORE I commenced my career , as a professional shikaree in 1961 . During the time of my career ( 1961 to 1970 ) , the case of Rongon Daas was the most high profile .

Should you wish to enquire about anything else , please do not hesitate to ask .
 

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Dear Major,

thank you for this infos.
Hard to read....

(We had and "soft lock down" in Germany for the Corona-Illness, so sorry for my late answere).

To your statement:
- Then he had not an motivated and "good trained" lawer, he was at the looser place from the beginning
- It is allways important to have an good connetion to the man you are in the field. If he tread his trackers liek shit, and then he come in this situation..., he had lock for this before. (I had know this leasson and the I was in Afghanistan, I did this.)
- Of course if the only witness sayed, he pushed the clint...
- Yes, it will be great, if you can lock for the old newspapers of this days
- To hang a man on an tree is the un-professional method of the "short drop", this is painfull
- "I would choose" (if im in sutch an situation) the firing squad, this is an ethical soldiers-dead
- There are more other cases? I never heard (or read about it in old books) about it. Even in Africa

Thank you for your help, Major.

Best wishes.
F.
 

Corey0372

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Awesome story. Was it hard to convince the villagers to act as beaters, or was this considered a necessary community duty only cowards would shirk?
 

Major Khan

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Awesome story. Was it hard to convince the villagers to act as beaters, or was this considered a necessary community duty only cowards would shirk?
It was extremely difficult to convince villagers to act as beaters , Corey0372. You had to take the precautionary measure of paying them half of their wages AFTER the shikar was over , so that no body got too clever and conveniently " Disappeared " from the village after receiving their remuneration , without assisting in carrying out the beat.
 

Corey0372

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M
It was extremely difficult to convince villagers to act as beaters , Corey0372. You had to take the precautionary measure of paying them half of their wages AFTER the shikar was over , so that no body got too clever and conveniently " Disappeared " from the village after receiving their remuneration , without assisting in carrying out the beat.
Makes sense.
 

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Another great story Major Khan. Thank you for sharing. Have you considered writing a book? You do have some fascinating stories. Again, thank you sir for sharing with us.
 

Major Khan

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Another great story Major Khan. Thank you for sharing. Have you considered writing a book? You do have some fascinating stories. Again, thank you sir for sharing with us.
Thank you so much for enjoying my article , PARA45. I actually have written a book , which is scheduled to be published in December of this year. It is titled , “ Man Eater : Descent In To Depravity “ . It revolves around all of the 21 man eating forest panthers which I have shot , along side the best armaments for tackling panthers and a chapter dedicated to why panthers in India are much more likely to develop a palate for the flesh of man than their African cousins ( the African Leopard ) .
 

PARA45

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Very nice sir, looking forward to getting once it's published.
 
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The next day , Tobin and l took the noon train to Darjeeling . Tobin took his Fabrique Nationale .423 calibre Mauser bolt rifle and 50 RWS 347 grain solid metal covered cartridges . I took my trusty 12 Bore Belgian double barreled side by side shot gun and 40 rounds of 2.5 inch Eley Grand Prix Lethal Ball cartridges , along with 1 dozen rounds of 2.75 inch Eley Alphamax Triple A cartridges and 1 dozen rounds of 2.75 inch Eley Alphamax # 6 cartridges. After we landed in Darjeeling, the very 1st thing which we did was to make our way to the forest department’s office to collect our licenses as verification that we were actually authorized to hunt down the man eating royal Bengal tiger .
After that , we headed to Sundar Raj Shikar Limited and conversed with Ajay Abhijeet Raj , the elder son of Mr. Sundar Raj . We wanted to get a more clear idea of exactly what had happened to Rongon Daas’s client . Abhijeet had gotten his information from the Garo tracker who had accompanied Rongon Daas and his client to the shikar for the royal Bengal tiger . The Garo tracker’s account of events was as follows :
They had been following the tracks of the brute for 6 hours when they came across the royal Bengal tiger feeding upon a sambhur deer which it had hunted . The client took aim at the royal Bengal tiger and fired at it’s head , at a distance of less than 30 yards . Upon receiving the shot , the brute charged at Rongon , the tracker and the client . Rongon pushed the client to the ground and fled the area as fast as his legs could carry him , while the royal Bengal tiger began to devour the unfortunate client . The tracker escaped the forest on his own and made his way back to Sundar Raj Shikar Limited .
“ Where is the client’s rifle ? “ Tobin asked Abhijeet . Abhijeet opened a cabinet and took out the client’s rifle for us to examine . It was a pre 64 Winchester Model 70 bolt rifle. True enough , it was chambered in .220 Swift. Abhijeet took out a box full of 48 grain soft point cartridges from the cabinet as well , which had been recovered from the corpse of the client . I took 1 of the cartridges in the palm of my hand , and examined it curiously . I asked Abhijeet , “ Now , why would anyone look at a cartridge like this , and think that it is a good idea to use 1 on a royal Bengal tiger ? “ . Abhijeet explained that this American client was a very prominent fire arms writer in his own country and that he was testing a theory . The client had a theory that a light weight bullet driven at extremely high velocities with pin point accuracy , was capable of slaying even the largest of beasts with a shot placed in the vital organs. He had specifically come to Darjeeling to test this theory out on a royal Bengal tiger .
Unfortunately ... his attempt to test out this theory not only cost him his life , but it also unleashed a man eater upon the citizens of Darjeeling and Siliguri .
Hearing this , Tobin said “ Why can’t these bloody gun writers test their little theories on something that can’t bite back ?! The .220 Swift is for prairie dogs and wood chucks . Not the king of cats . “

Below , is a photograph taken from the internet of a .220 Swift cartridge . Tell me 1 thing , dear readers. Exactly how much cocaine or heroine would someone have to consume to look at a cartridge like this , and rationalize that it is an adequate choice for a royal Bengal tiger weighing 500 pounds ?
View attachment 330356


Abhijeet then presented us with Rongon Daas’s police statement of the way the events had transpired that day according to him . Rongon’s account of events was as follows :
When the royal Bengal tiger had charged at the client , Rongon had fired 2 shots at it with his Indian Ordinance Factories .315 calibre bolt rifle , which had certainly hit the brute , but failed to stop it from reaching the client . It then mauled the client to death while Rongon fired 2 more shots at it , which drove the injured royal Bengal tiger away from the client’s corpse .

So , there we had it : 2 very different contradictory accounts of what had happened that day . I should add , however that when the Darjeeling police were called to the scene of the incident to recover the client's corpse ... they found no empty .315 calibre cartridge cases whatsoever .
Personally ( and l know that Kawshik will probably not take kindly to me speaking ill of his dearly deceased friend , but he will also forgive me for being brutally honest . ) , l never really liked Rongon Daas 1 bit. Rongon had no experience with hunting anything more dangerous than a sambhur deer ever in his life , but he had used his family connections to become Sundar Raj Shikar Limited's head shikaree . He was what an American gentleman may refer to , as an " ass kisser " of clients who always sang praises about clients in front of them , while he really should have been advising them about what to do and what not to do in the shikar field . Rongon's approach to the profession was , " Buy a cheap gun and a few cartridges and practice shooting at a few bottles. Walk behind the client and pump him full of flattering comments . Get him close enough to the animal and the client will do all of the shooting . Then pump the client with a little bit more flattering and collect all the generous tips . "
It goes without saying that l was vehemently opposed to Rongon's views . Being a professional shikaree was no laughing matter. It was serious business . It was imperative that each of us possess the skills , proper armaments and experience to protect our client at all costs , while they were under our charge. These clients were our responsibility and if need be , it was our obligation to put ourselves directly between the client and the brute , should a wounded dangerous animal charge towards the client . We chose this life and the responsibility that came with it . Even before 1965 , l always knew that someday Rongon would get into an immense amount of trouble for being unable to protect other members of the shikar party and it had finally happened. In fact , the biggest incident which made Kawshik a celebrity among the professional shikarees of West Bengal ( stopping a charging 500 pound royal Bengal tiger from reaching his client , by killing it with 2 SG buck shot cartridges in 1964 . ) would NEVER have occurred in the 1st place ... had Rongon not abandoned the shikar party that day and left Kawshik and the client to fend for themselves . However , that story is Kawshik's to tell and not mine .

But enough talking about Rongon Daas . Tobin and I had a grave task at hand , under the direct orders from Mr . Vidya C Shukla himself . We had to track down a vicious man eating royal Bengal tiger and put an end to it's killing spree.

In the next portion of this story , l shall relate the actual shikar for the vicious man eater .
Friend Ponton
From reading your description of Rongon SaaS he sounds like a a complete buffoon that should never have been in the field. He didn't have the knowledge to bamboozle with science on hunting so he fill the clients with bullshit in the hope of more money for himself at the cost of his clients.
Your friend
Bob
 

flatwater bill

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Poton..............I visited the Darjeeling area last month. I wish I had read this article first. I would have looked for said tree! I feel fortunate to have not been trapped in India with the pandemic scare....returning home just in time...........................Bill
 

Major Khan

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Friend Ponton
From reading your description of Rongon SaaS he sounds like a a complete buffoon that should never have been in the field. He didn't have the knowledge to bamboozle with science on hunting so he fill the clients with bullshit in the hope of more money for himself at the cost of his clients.
Your friend
Bob
You and I think exactly alike , Bob ( like always ) . I personally never really liked Rongon Daas, even 1 bit for all of these reasons . Being a professional shikaree was no laughing matter . It was a serious business. It was our responsibility to ensure the client's safety at all costs , come what may. This applied in all aspects of our duties , especially as far as dangerous game was concerned .
 
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Thank you so much for enjoying my article , PARA45. I actually have written a book , which is scheduled to be published in December of this year. It is titled , “ Man Eater : Descent In To Depravity “ . It revolves around all of the 21 man eating forest panthers which I have shot , along side the best armaments for tackling panthers and a chapter dedicated to why panthers in India are much more likely to develop a palate for the flesh of man than their African cousins ( the African Leopard ) .
Friend Ponton
I eagerly await your book, it will make for great reading that can be passed onto many generations to enjoy.
Your friend Bob.
 

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Poton..............I visited the Darjeeling area last month. I wish I had read this article first. I would have looked for said tree! I feel fortunate to have not been trapped in India with the pandemic scare....returning home just in time...........................Bill
You should have definitely told me , Bill ! I would have highly recommended you to visit quite a few places , such as the tea gardens and Glenary Bakery ( Darjeeling's oldest bakery ) . West Bengal is unrivalled with scenic beauty... Is it not ?
 
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You and I think exactly alike , Bob ( like always ) . I personally never really liked Rongon Daas, even 1 bit for all of these reasons . Being a professional shikaree was no laughing matter . It was a serious business. It was our responsibility to ensure the client's safety at all costs , come what may. This applied in all aspects of our duties , especially as far as dangerous game was concerned .
Friend Ponton
It would have been a real privilege to have hunted with you, Sgt Kawshick Rahman and Panther Shooter. It would have made for some very interesting and enlightening conversations around the campfire. I don't think much hunting would have been done due to the amount of talking.
Cheers my Friend Bob
 

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