There are those of us who let our advanced age slow us down. I consider myself lucky that at the age of 77 , l do not need spectacles , a walking came , medicines or any sort of assistance . I maintain a very active life style hunting and fishing multiple times of the year and instructing young men and women how to fire shot-guns at Bangladesh Shooting Federation. However , l had retired from the art of dangerous animals shooting , at the age of 54 , after l had shot my last man eating leopard near the Sundarban forests in 1995. I decided that this was a young man's game for those who had the agility of youth .
However , there are those gentlemen who are the ideal role models to follow for shooting dangerous animals even at 72 years of age. Today , l am going to tell all my fellow forum members the story of the gentle man who has shot the most amount of panthers in India and Bangladesh in recent times . A man who's feats reached such celebrity status that he has been featured in local newspapers and even on television. This is the story of my friend , Captain Kareem Hossain Newaz ( Retd ) . The man who has slain 81 Chita Bagh ( Indian panther) and will happily shoot another if it is causing problems in any part of Bangladesh.
As he is my friend , l am allowed a modicum of informality by calling him Newaz.
Newaz was born on February of 1947 in Kuch Bihar ; the son of a wealthy jute mill owner . His father ( much like my father ) was the one who introduced him to shooting . The mill owned by Newaz's father used to be originally owned by a British gentleman who Newaz's father used to work . When India became independent and all the British people were leaving back to England , this British gentleman gave Newaz's father ( his favorite employee ) two things of great value . The first was the jute mill itself. The second was a shot-gun. However , it was not just any shot-gun . It was an English 12 bore side by side box lock shot-gun made by the firm , John Dickson and Son of Edinburgh. It was for the 70 millimeter cartridge and had half chokes in both barrels.
The 12 bore shot-gun from Dickson and Son which killed 81 Chita Baagh panthers
Newaz's father was also given a large quantity of cartridges made by the firm , Eley , for use with this fire arm by the kind English gentleman. Young Newaz had many excellent memories of hunting birds , ducks , geese and deer with his father , who also taught him how to shoot ,at a very young age . Unfortunately , young Newaz would be orphaned during an unfortunate auto mobile accident , where both his parents had met their maker . Newaz was only 13 years of age at the time.
The family car which would eventually lead to the demise of Newaz's parents.
Newaz's paternal aunt had taken responsibility over both him and the mill. Recognizing her nephew's passion for hunting and shooting , she decided to let her nephew have her deceased brother's 12 bore shot-gun. The boy would spend his weekends shooting quails and pigeons with number 6 cartridges , Geese with BB cartridges , mouse deer with AAA cartridges and deer (of Sambhar and barking variety ) with LG cartridges. His stock of his father's Eley cartridges would last him for some time.
Kuch Bihar used to be a wild place , back in those days ( infact , most rural parts of India were ) and
Chita Baagh were viewed as vermin , because of the way they used to kill goats and live stock and even kill children from time to time. One such Chita Baagh had been causing problems for several weeks. It had eaten a child of a maid servant and had repeatedly been killing live stock for a month. One day , out of sheer desire for adventure , Newaz decided to try and put an end to this animal . He purchased a goat from a nearby farmer and tied it to a tree in order to act as bait. This was done in one of the Chita Baagh's most frequented haunts . Clutching his father's 12 bore side by side shot-gun loaded with an LG cartridge from Eley , in each barrel , Newaz was waiting inside a hole which he had dug in the ground nearby , covered with foliage and tree branches. After a long wait , that Chita Baagh had finally arrived . After patiently waiting for it to approach the goat , Newaz shot it in the neck region with a barrel's worth of LG shot ( eight pellets ) . One can attribute it to Shikari's beginning luck or pure skill , but that panther was dead. It was 1963 and that first panther awoke an immense passion in 16 year old Newaz for hunting these troublesome creatures. He was an avid fan of literature and pursued a degree of English literature in Murshidabaad University. Alongside this , he would go on to shoot Chita Baagh panthers which were causing problems in local areas. He was not a professional Shikari like Karim or myself , nor did he work in the forest department like Mohiyuddin. No , this was merely a young man with a passion for what he did. However , he did profit from what he was doing. People could contact him through the Nilgiri Wildlife Association , if they needed him to dispose of any problem causing Chita Baagh panthers and he would be there. I would first meet Newaz in 1965 , during an event hosted by Sundar Raj Shikar in Darjeeling where we immediately became fast friends. I envied him for owning a fine English side by side shot-gun while l had to make do , with a loathsome Ishapore Arms Factory shot-gun. However, this was a friendly , brotherly envy.
Event at Sundar Raj Shikar. Newaz is to my left.
When Newaz’s aunty passed away , he became the owner of the jute mill. He managed his affairs properly. With his education complete , Newaz divided his time between running his business and hunting. It is interesting to note that while Newaz has shot large varieties of birds , water fowl and deer for the pot ,the only dangerous animal which he was ever shot is the Chita Baagh panther. However , for hunting this one animal , he is unrivalled. As the years went by , he began to refine his methods and understood the nature of these panthers better. He would purchase a goat from nearby live stock owners and tie them to a tree. Then , he would hang kerosine lamp from the tree to illuminate the animal better.He would dig a hole in the ground , for himself to wait in. As the panther would come , the goat would start braying loudly. When the panther would get close , Newaz would put a barrel’s worth of LG shot into the area where the panther’s neck met the shoulder. However , there were times when this was not enough and the panther needed to be shot a second , or even a third time. By now , Newaz had already exhausted his father’s supply of Eley cartridges and with a lack of imported ammunition across India , he did what any Shikari determined to keep his weapon functioning , would do: He began to reload his own cartridges just like Karim and l used to. Shot ladles were widely available in local shops which would cater to the local villagers and their match lock muzzle loaders. Newaz purchased shot ladles of various sizes and many bars of lead . He also purchased large quantities of cheap , locally made Indian 12 bore cartridges to salvage the percussion priming pins and propellant powders . He would treat his LG pellets with wax from bees by pouring the the hot , melted wax over the shot pellets. Whenever , he would meet me or Karim , we could always provide him with some extra empty cartridge cases for 12 bore.
In 1969 , he would meet a young woman named Farida , whom he would marry in 1973 and who remains his happy wife and mother of his three children to this day. By 1971 , he had already dispatched 43 chita Baagh panthers. During the liberation war , he served as a Captain in the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini and was awarded with the title of Bir Protik ( one of the four highest military awards given to anyone who served in the War of Independence ) with eight confirmed kills and is among the only 130 men to receive this prestigious title on December , 1971 when the Pakistani army had declared an armistice.
Captain Kareem Hossain Newaz , 1971.
It is interesting that while his wife to be did not see direct action , she was among the Bangladesh Nari Chinno Bahini ( female sharp shooters division ) during the war , many of whom had engaged the West Pakistani army with .303 bore Lee Enfield rifles from a distance.
Female sharp shooters , 1971
Newaz was a person who was not fond of carrying out orders which he found unreasonable. During the Liberation war , our officers were issued Soviet pistols called the model TT-33 from Tokarev in the calibre 7.62 millimeter. Our Indian instructors had instructed us to carry such pistols with the chamber empty for safety reasons. However , Newaz had ordered every man in his unit , to carry these pistols with a cartridge in the chamber at all times , during active duty. Despite getting shot in the stomach , he had survived the war with no long term impacts on his health. After the war , in 1972 , Indira Gandhi’s corrupt vegetarian and anti hunting government took their hold over India and began their crack down on licensed fire arms owners , who owned imported fire arms in India and confiscated and destroyed every imported fire arm which they could find. However , they had severely underestimated Newaz’s level of cunning. He had hidden his father prized John Dickson 12 bore shot-gun in the water tank of his house and was able to make sure that it escaped detection , when the police came to his house. His wife to be told them that the shot-gun had been lost during the War of Independence. After they left , Newaz and Farida left India and moved to Bangladesh where he immediately applied for a license to legally own that prized shot-gun. Restarting his jute mill here , he married Farida and started a family. All the while , he continued to hunt. But what about the Chita Baagh panther whom he was fond of hunting the most ? The area of Rajshahi which was near Kuch Bihar had a large quantity of these feral cats which were known to attack livestock and children. Newaz decided that he could make himself useful by volunteering to rid the locals of any of these problem causing panthers. While 12 bore shot-gun cartridges started getting imported into Bangladesh immediately after our mother land’s independence , Newaz’s favorite LG shot size was not available ( the largest being available at the time was American 00 buck shot ) and so he continued to reload his own cartridges.
1984 news paper article detailing Newaz’s exploits . Unlike Indian media , where hunting was demonized , this newspaper portrays Newaz accurately as a good man who combines his passion for the sport with his desire to help locals . It now hangs on the wall of Bangladesh shooting Federation ‘s office.
By 1984 , Newaz had reach a celebrity status among hunters and local villagers for helping them get rid of these problem causing animals. He had been featured in local newspapers . By this time , he had shot his 73rd Chita Baagh by using his father’s John Dickson 12 bore box lock shot-gun and LG cartridges. It must be remembered that many towns in Bangladesh had just been built and thus Chita Baagh panthers would often frequent these areas killing children or live stock. In 1991 , Newaz was to become an honorary member of Bangladesh shooting federation and in 2009 , he would become the treasurer of Rajdhani Rifle club . As the years went by and the towns became more and more urbanized , the attacks from panthers had reduced and they mostly stayed in the forests . However , even to this day , occasionally a Chita Baagh panther does occasionally cause trouble in rural towns or villagers in the western part of the country and volunteers from Bangladesh Shooting Federation help to get rid of them. In 2002 , Newaz was featured in a talk show called “ Lal Golap “ ( Red Rose ) where he was praised by locals and the talk show hosts for helping to hunt these problem animals when Bangladesh was in it’s infancy.
In 2017 , Newaz shot his 81st and most recent chita Baagh panther near Jessore .
We interact with each other over electronic mail and telephone and we hunt cranes with each other annually. We also meet each other during BSF shooting competitions , albeit as rivals , because the students in his club and the students in my club compete against each other. Despite our friendly rivalry , we are good friends and he is a pleasant gentleman to associate with. Today , his grand children are members of Rajdhani Rifle club and l have no doubt that they will be just as good hunters as their loving grandfather . Newaz brought a good deal of contribution to Bangladesh shooters. It was he in 2015 , who helped the government officials to authorize magnum .22 rifles and cartridges and 89 millimeter chamber 12 bore shot-guns and cartridges , to be imported into the country ( prior to this , only .22 Long rifle fire arms and cartridges and 70 millimeter and 76 millimeter shot-guns and cartridges were commercially imported into the country ). For 2023 , he has helped authorize importing of even more fire arm varieties into Bangladesh. He remains an extremely modest man and whenever l ask him to write a book about his exploits , he laughs and replies “ You first . You were a professional Shikari and killed many more dangerous animals than l killed. I only killed Chita Baaghs and would not survive an encounter with a Royal Bengal tiger “ . He is clearly a person who is modest about his own accomplishments.
When asked if he ever felt scared when he was hunting a panther , Newaz’s reply is always this “ I do not consider the Chita Baagh to be very dangerous at all . “ He then goes on to name other hunters who shot ( what he believes to be ) more dangerous animals. Alongside hunting , he also enjoys fishing , piano ,cinema, gardening , reading and oil painting. He is also very active on electronic mail and exchanges correspondence with anyone who writes to him. He also teaches children how to shoot in Rajdhani Rifle club.
As my learned forum member , Shootist43 notes , being a fire arms instructor is one way for us elderly men to stay in the game.
I would , however , like to point out to my dear readers that despite Newaz’s success with LG cartridges , he himself does not advocate shot of any size for dangerous animals. He , himself acknowledges that the Chita Baagh panther seldom weighs above 119 pounds and are not as resilient as Royal Bengal tigers or Leopards.
Sometimes l do feel that if Newaz can still hunt dangerous animals being only five years younger than l , perhaps l had retired too soon after all. Captain Kareem Hossain Newaz is living proof that even though war and tragedy can break all men , some do rebuild their lives and find happiness again.
Captain Newaz ( Retd ) in the centre , 2019 with the other treasurers of the other national shooting clubs at BSF shooting competition.
some of the cartridges reloaded by Newaz , prior to 1990. These are still in his possession now . Thank you to my good friend , Newaz for providing me with these cartridges to photograph with my touch phone. They are very much similar to the ones Karim and l had to reload