Page No 8:
Who is the Tiger King? Why does he get that name?
Jilani Jung Jung Bahadur, the king of Pratibandapuram, is known as the Tiger King. Ten days after his birth, a renowned astrologer prophesised that his â€œdeath comes from the Tiger.â€ After he became the king of Pratibandapuram and got to know of the prediction about his death, he went on a tiger killing spree. He killed about seventy tigers within ten years. He was so caught up with reaching his target of killing one hundred tigers, to disprove the prophecy, that all other matters took a back-seat. This was how he got to be known as the Tiger King.
What is the general attitude of human beings towards wild animals?
Generally, people fear the wild animals because of their ferociousness and tendency to harm humans. But some people exploit them by caging or hunting them for the sadistic pleasure they derive from their â€˜featsâ€™, or kill them to earn money from their hides etc. Yet, there are people who understand the importance of sustaining ecological balance, preserving the beauty of nature and believe in every creatureâ€™s right to its existence. They spread awareness about the importance of wild-life and the necessity of saving them from extinction.
Page No 10:
What did the royal infant grow up to be?
The royal infant grew up to be the king of Pratibandapuram who was obsessed with the idea of killing one hundred tigers. He wanted to do so to disprove the prophecy which said that his death would come from the hundredth tiger. This made him kill all tigers of Pratibandapuram. He even married for the sake of this ambition. He came to be known as the Tiger King.
Page No 13:
What will the Maharaja do to find the required number of tigers to kill?
To get the required number of tigers to kill, the Maharaja asked his dewan to find a suitable girl for him to marry. A suitable girl for matrimonial alliance would be one who would not only come from a royal family but also belong to a state with a large tiger population. As Pratibandapuram had no more tigers left, a province that belonged to his father-in-law would certainly provide him with an opportunity to kill more tigers and reach his aim of killing one hundred tigers.
Page No 14:
How will the Maharaja prepare himself for the hundredth tiger which was supposed to decide his fate?
The Maharaja wanted to be extremely careful while dealing with the hundredth tiger which was supposed to be the reason for his death. On encountering the hundredth one, he took a careful aim at the tiger and shot it. When it fell in a crumpled heap, he was overcome with joy and left the place hastily.
Page No 15:
What will now happen to the astrologer? Do you think the prophecy was indisputably disproved?
The astrologer dies before the king of Pratibandapuram gets an opportunity to kill one hundred tigers. Disproving his prophecy seems to be the sole reason for the king’s existence. Except for killing hundred tigers, everything else takes a back-seat for the king.
The prophecy cannot to be indisputably disproved as the king was ultimately killed by a tiger, though neither by a real one nor by the hundredth one. Looking at the weak, old and almost lifeless tiger that was the hundredth one, no one would have thought that it would escape the kingâ€™s bullet by fainting at the shock of the bullet whizzing past. It was the â€œtiny little wooden tigerâ€ from the toy shop that caused the death of Tiger King.
Page No 17:
The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. How does the author employ the literary device of dramatic irony in the story?
Answer:[â€˜Conceitâ€™ means an extremely favourable and high opinion of oneâ€™s own abilities and worth, while â€˜satireâ€™ refers to the use of irony, humour, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize stupidity and vices of people in a particular context or situation.]
The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. The king is known to be an extremely conceited person right from the beginning. As a ten-day-old infant, he pronounced the words, â€œLet tigers beware!â€ By challenging the astrologerâ€™s prediction, he also challenges his death. Moreover, killing seventy tigers within a period of ten years and bringing the entire species close to extinction, marrying for the convenience of killing more tigers, exercising his authority to punish or tax people according to his whims and fancies, flaunting his power and richness in sending about fifty rings to the British officerâ€™s lady or paying a bill of three lakh rupees, having a temper that would make other people lose their job or even life etc., are all part of this conceit. He does nothing for the sake of his people in the capacity of a king. All this has been highlighted in the story using humour, irony and exaggeration.
Death is an inevitable phenomenon associated to life itself. Challenging death on the basis of prediction by astrologers is as good as a wasted effort. Even after the monumental task of killing ninety-nine tigers, the hundredth tiger escaped being shot by the kingâ€™s gun. Unaware of this, he dies merely because of a â€œtiny little wooden tigerâ€ and not by any ferocious living creature like tiger. Thus, the dramatic irony surfaces strongly at the end of the story when the readers realise what the king never does.
What is the authorâ€™s indirect comment on subjecting innocent animals to the willfulness of human beings?
The author uses satire in his story to talk about the indiscriminate killing of tigers. The entire species of tigers had become extinct at the state of Pratibandapuram and that of his wifeâ€™s native state by the time the king himself dies. What is pointed in a subtle manner is that these killings are a result of mere whims and fancies. They do not have any logical explanation at the face of the inevitable status of death. Moreover, the silence on the death of tigers itself draws a strong co-relation between the life of the king and that of the ninety-nine tigers killed by him.
Besides, no second thought was ever given while killing the tigers. There is also an implicit suggestion of killings for preserving the vain glory of human in the British officerâ€™s request for a photograph with a dead tiger. It is as if these animalsâ€™ existence is at stake for more than one reason and for no fault of their own. The absurdity highlighted in the killings, by the author, also makes the readers wonder if these animals deserve more security than human beings.
How would you describe the behaviour of the Maharajaâ€™s minions towards him? Do you find them truly sincere towards him or are they driven by fear when they obey him? Do we find a similarity in todayâ€™s political order?
Maharaja’s minions were servile towards him primarily because of his fury and obstinacy which might result in either losing their jobs for no apparent fault of theirs or facing unjustified punishments. No one dared to take the risk of explaining the consequences of the killings to the king or give him any right suggestion or advice. No one tried to argue any of his decision â€“ be it annihilation of tigers or marrying for the sake of availing further opportunity for tiger-hunt. No one questioned his neglect of duties towards his people or state. They simply did not wish to interfere and were happy to comply lest they should face the consequences. They merely had to submit to his whims and fancies as they existed purely for that very reason. The simple reasoning was that if they cannot do an assigned job, they did not deserve to be in the job. Even his dewan was asked to resign from his post when he tried to point out the impracticality of doubling the taxes collected from people. All his subordinates lived in a piteous state of constant terror of him so much so that the shopkeeper couldn’t communicate the original price of an item, the hunters couldn’t inform him about the hundredth tiger being alive and even his dewan had to stealthily arrange for a tiger to be brought from Chennai. Their sincerity to him, if any, was always shown overpowered by the fear of their king.
Yes, there are lots of similarities between the Maharaja’s story and the present political order. People are discontented as those in power seem to be indifferent to their welfare and that of the state and ecology. Selfish aims and concerns guide decisions, and mere whims and fancies can change the situation of law and order. Those who try to bring some positive reform may also not be able to do so as they fear losing their jobs or facing other dire consequences. Taxes taken from the public are also constantly misappropriated. Reforms either do not materialise or do so with an extremely slow pace. Yet, the best part is that the real situation is not as bleak as in the story. There are people working for the benefit and welfare of their community and society, and positive changes do happen.
Can you relate instances of game-hunting among the rich and the powerful in the present times that illustrate the callousness of human beings towards wildlife?
There have been some instances of game hunting in the present times. Even the affluent have been involved in instances that illustrate the callousness of human beings towards wildlife.
Salman Khan â€“ Black Buck poaching case.
Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi – Antelope case.
(Pointers have been provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer on their own.)
We need a new system for the age of ecology â€“ a system which is embedded in the care of all people and also in the care of the Earth and all life upon it. Discuss.
A new system, embedded in the care not only of all people but also of the Earth and life upon it, is required to preserve and sustain Natureâ€™s balance at both national and international levels. Formulating rules for the preservation of endangered species or assigning funds for conservation of wild life or imposing ban on hunting and poaching is not enough. People need to be made aware of the repercussions of exploiting nature and its creatures through various awareness campaigns held at schools, colleges and important public gatherings using the media of street-plays, television, films and documentaries etc. People must be made to understand that every creature has a prominent role in the ecological cycle and no one has right to kill other life forms or destroy their habitats. Restoration of Natureâ€™s balance as well as a proper system of sustainable development, therefore, has to be followed without fail or intermittent lapses. All the reasons for ecological imbalance like deforestation, rapid industrialization, soil erosion, etc. need to be addressed before global warming and other climatic hazard or natural calamity takes its toll.
(The above answer is only a sample provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer on their own.)