Shooting Tigers in Early 20th-Century India

Bengal Tiger, Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter.

Rajarshi Mitra
Indian Institute of Information Technology

During my trip to Exeter to attend the Britain and the World Conference earlier this year, I discovered that the Royal Bengal Tiger on display in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) was a gift from King George V (1865 – 1936). Exeter’s Bengal tiger was one of 39 tigers the King had killed during his hunting excursion in Nepalese Terai in 1911 – the year of his grand Coronation Durbar in India. The accompanying plaque states that the King presented tiger skins to British museums so that visitors who have never seen a tiger could meet one face-to-face. Like any responsible museum, RAMM’s curators have taken care to send a nuanced message through its natural history exhibits. They raise our environmental guilt, they remind us of nature’s destruction in the hands of man. Tiger hunts in India have a rich history of their own, and that Exeter has somehow been made part of that history had me intrigued.   Continue reading “Shooting Tigers in Early 20th-Century India”