'Just think of it. One single man, who was pursued by 1,700 policemen of four states for 15 years in an area of approximately 8,000 square miles. He was the victor of over 80 encounters with the police. And the cost of the operations, that eventually led to his death, was one and a half crores of rupees. In figures, this reads as Rs 1,50,00,000. Or, if you Should prefer to write it in another way, Rs 15,000,000. Fifteen million rupees! About one and one-eight millions of pounds sterling spent on the elimination of just one man!
Here is a complete and thrilling account of Raja Man Singh and the legends about him that you will remember for long.'
Kenneth Anderson (1910-74) was a hunter, nature enthusiast and an adventure-seeker. His love for the denizens of the jungle led to some of the best literature on wildlife and his books are acclaimed as classics. He wrote about eight books and sixty short stories which recount many of his real-life adventures and hunting exploits in the jungles of South India.
Anderson belonged to a Scottish family settled in India for six generations. He spent most of his life in Bengaluru, where he was employed with an aeronautics company. His invaluable contribution to the shikar literature in India continues to inspire scores of wildlife lovers.
The young men and women of free India are indeed fortunate in many ways. They have a beautiful country as their homeland, second to none in the world. A country where they can find every type of geography and scenery that is to be found anywhere else. Some of the highest mountains in the world; wide, rolling plains; marsh land; desert land; magnificent rivers and beautiful sea beaches. They can have any climate; from the freezing cold of snowy Kashmir, to the burning, unrivalled heat of some of the central districts. They have a Venice in Kashmir, lagoons and waterways in Malabar, glorious forests where the King of the Jungle-the tiger-still roams at liberty; picturesque waterfalls; and ancient cities, rich in folklore and history.
The pages of Indian history are generously page anted by unique personalities. They range from the very bad, like Timur the Lame, to the very good, like Akbar the Great. There are warriors who carved their names forever in the memories of the living, such as Shivaji, the Maratha, and Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore; there are apostles of peace who shook the world with their doctrines of love, such as Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi; and there are martyrs who shed their blood for India, in ancient times and modern, including that Joan of Arc of the East, the Rani of Jhansi.
These figures of Indian history, both good and bad, have one attribute in common. As personalities, they are unmatched, unparalleled, unique. No boy or girl in India who has the ability to read need seek for adventure stories abroad, for his and her own land abounds in them. The stage is set, teeming with heroes and heroines and in deeds that thrill and chill the blood; requiring but more writers to record them, and the youth of the country to read.
Such a unique personality was Man Singh, King of Dacoits. A man possessing diametrically opposing attributes, he was at once a murderer and thief, generous benefactor and upholder of the poor. Cruel, cunning and sly, he was brave with the heart of a lion. A fugitive from justice for years, he exhibited attributes of true equity to those who followed in his band.
In no way are these stories intended to glorify or even commend Man Singh and his ideals. They are merely yarns of adventure which I truly hope will afford a degree of pleasure to those who read them. That pleasure will be my reward.
Sit with me, then, in your imagination, around the flickering light of a campfire and hearken to the tales I have to tell you. The smoke curls upwards to the twinkling stars, floating in the unlimited space above. At times the fire erupts with a shower of sparks and then dies down again.
Throw on a fresh log of wood, friend. For outside the narrow circle of light is utter darkness, punctuated by the distant chirrup of crickets and the nearer croaking of a bullfrog.
It is dangerous to be left in the darkness, friend. For mysterious and unknown things lurk there, unseen in the Stygian gloom.
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