Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change during a visit to the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand last week remarked that the park be renamed to Ramganga National Park. According to media reports, the MoS wrote about it in the museum guest book, giving a hint that the government was indeed looking to implement the name change.
Uttarakhand | Union Forest and Environment Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey who visited Jim Corbett National Park on October 3 said that the name of this national park will be changed to Ramganga National Park: Director of Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
— ANI (@ANI) October 6, 2021
Ramganga National Park, the earlier name of the forest park
It is pertinent to note that the national park was not always called ‘Jim Corbett National Park’. Set up in 1936, the park, spread across an area of 521 km, was initially named Hailey National Park after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the governor of the United Province.
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However, after Independence, the park was renamed to Ramganga National Park in 1954–55, named after the river that flows through it. Soon thereafter, in 1955–56, it was renamed to Corbett National Park after Jim Corbett, the hunter and book writer.
Jim Corbett was a killer
There are conflicting accounts of what a man Jim Corbett was. While some believe that he was merely a hunter that killed man-eater leopards and tigers, after reading his self-pandering books, others believe that he was a blood-hungry hunter, who derived pleasure from hurting animals.
For example, some partisan historians claim that Jim Corbett did not hunt tigers until he believed that the tiger was actually a human eater. However, he hunted a huge Bengal tiger, named ‘Bachelor of Powalgarh’; it was a little more massive than other Bengal tigers, and it had no prior history of attacking any human, but Jim Corbett left no stone unturned in stalking and hunting it down.
Even after lodging a bullet in the tiger’s head days ago, upon his final meeting with the tiger, Jim Corbett, in a disdainful way, pumped two more bullets in the tiger, withering in pain and killing him in the process. It is said that throughout his career, Jim Corbett butchered 33 tigers.
Looking down upon the Indians
Apart from this, Jim Corbett also looked down upon Indians, which is clearly visible in his books and writings. He routinely termed Indians as ‘poor and hungry people’ and addressed the same in his book ‘My India’.
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For him, India was a ‘poverty porn’ subject, and he, the benevolent, aristocratic British Sir, bestowed with the responsibility to chronicle their plight and make a profit out of it.
Renaming the national park to Ramganga National Park will help hit two targets with one stone. Not only will the regional culture be respected, but the colonial mindset that has been deeply ingrained in our minds be erased. Ramganga is a tributary of the Ganges River which flows through the forest Park. Naming it after the river would make much more sense than naming it after a glorified hunter who had no qualms in shooting tigers and encouraging the ‘trophy’ culture.
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