Today India is home to about 1,500 tigers. A century ago, sportsmen killed that many every year. One Rajput, Fateh Singh, bagged 375 himself, not to mention 991 leopards, over his hunting career. The populations, conditions, and cultural meanings of wildlife in India have changed fundamentally since the heyday of the Raj.
There has been a raging debate on the nature and scope of doing anthropology in contemporary times. The debate is more precisely about the politics and poetics inherent in the practice of ethnography contributed by the likes of Clifford Geertz, James Clifford, George Marcus among others. It has posed an imperative for anthropologists in the contemporary world to explore new methods and new sights with a fair sensibility toward the politics of writing culture.
It is difficult to pigeonhole this book as a ‘philosophical tract’, a ‘prophetic discourse’, a ‘journey into the human mind’, a ‘guide for human survival’, a ‘spiritual treatise’. It is an amalgam of all these and more. Embellished with profuse quotations from various sources, modern and traditional, spiritual and scientific, the volume reaches out to those who are already uneasy about the way we on this earth are progressing. C.B. Rao as he is fondly called, an Indian Administrative Service Officer, has not allowed the iron of long years in the bureaucracy to enter his soul or stifle creative thinking. If this sounds like high praise from a fellow bureaucrat, let the discerning reader decide if he is correct in the use of such adjectives!