The Tiger King
Welcome to English Chatterbox! The Tiger King is a chapter rife with humor and Kalki has used humor to bring forth the way ruling classes behave and conduct themselves. They are reckless and unmindful of everyone around them.
This chapter is a glaring example of bathos which means it firstly takes the king to exalted heights and then literally throws him down and brings his end in the most cowardly manner possible.
In his attempt to show him as a king of high stature the author says that the king could be given titles such as Jamedar-General, Khiledar-Major and many more such names, though he is referring to his shortened name “The Tiger King”.
Kalki even tells the reader that after reading about the tiger king, you might feel an urge to meet him but that won't be possible as he is dead. As in the story of Ramayana, Bharata had told Dasaratha about the death of Dasaratha likewise he is telling you that the tiger king is dead.
Birth of The Tiger King
When the tiger king was born the astrologers had said that he would be die. They had said that he would be valiant and strong but, and then they lingered and didn't disclose the manner of his death. At that moment, the ten-day old baby spoke up intelligently. He said that there was nothing great in predicting that he would die as all have to die at some point but if they could tell the manner of death then it would make sense. Everyone told that the child is born in the hour of the bull and tiger are enemies so death will come from a tiger. But the baby wasn't scared; he rather warned the tiger.
Childhood of the tiger king
In his childhood, he was brought up like any other crown prince, as all were copying the Britishers and were being taught English. They saw English movies and drank the milk of an English cow. Kalki tells all this to ridicule the blind aping of the British ways by the ruling class. When he reached the age of twenty, he became the king.
Killing of tigers immediately after becoming the king/meeting the astrologer
Since all were talking about the astrologer's prophecy about the king's death by a tiger, so the Maharaja decided to kill the tigers. He justified it by saying that if one could kill a sacred animal like a cow in self-defense so killing a tiger cannot be even questioned since he was killing it only to save himself. After killing the first tiger, he called the astrologer to brag about his achievement, but the astrologer warned him that he could kill ninety-nine tigers in the same manner, but he could never kill the 100th tiger. He even said that he could bet on it and was even willing to cut off his tuft and even become an insurance agent.
- State banned the hunting of the tiger by anyone except the king and if anyone broke the rule, his property was to be confiscated
- All state related matters were to be attended later.
- The king faced dangers, even fought barehanded, but never gave up.
British Officer and The Rings
A British officer came to his kingdom and wanted to hunt, but Maharaja refused. The officer expressed his desire to only be photographed with the dead body of the tiger but that also the king refused. Now that meant he could lose his kingdom so his Dewan suggested that the king should please the British officer's wife. In order to achieve that, he ordered some rings from a jeweler in Calcutta. The jeweler sent some fifty rings, so the king sent them to the duraisani so that she could select one or two rings but and sent a thank you note. It cost the king three lakhs but at least he could save his kingdom.
Hurdle after killing 70 tigers and Solution
After killing 70 tigers, the king couldn't find any tigers in his kingdom, so he asked his Dewan to draw statistics of the tiger population in the neighboring states and then find a royal family in the state which had the maximum tiger population. Arrangements were made and every time he visited his father-in-law's kingdom, he killed five or six tigers.
Search for the last tiger
After killing ninety-nine tigers, there was no tiger left in his father-in-law's kingdom as well. It seemed pretty tough. In fact, Kalki has used satire hence by referring to the fact that finding tiger's milk was easier. Then the king got to know that there was a village where goats were disappearing. He decided to go there to hunt and he was so happy, that he exempted the villagers from all taxes for 3 years.
Jobs at risk and Dewan's solution
But the Maharaja couldn't find the tiger so he kept getting angry. He fired many officers from their jobs. He even ordered the Dewan to double land tax. The Dewan warned him that they might lose their state to Britishers or to INC if they did any such thing. The king was furious and asked the Dewan to resign. Dewan realised things could really go bad so he decided to sacrifice his own tiger which he had brought from the people's park in Madras. He drove the tiger to the place where the king had camped. The tiger was very old, firstly he refused to come out of the car and when he came out, he went to the king. The king shot him but he missed hitting it though the tiger fainted because of the shock. The king thought he had killed him, so he asked his people to bring the tiger in a procession. After the king left, the hunters realised that the tiger was alive but they didn't want to displease the king so they shot it themselves and took him in a procession.
Gift for the prince and the tiger king's death
The king was happy to have achieved what he desired so he decided to spend some time with his son whose third birthday was about to come. He bought a badly crafted tiger for him. When he was playing with his son, a sliver of the wood pierced his hand. He took it out but it caused a suppurating sore. The doctors were called but he couldn't be saved. So all those efforts of the king to change his destiny didn't yield any result.
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