The Man Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag
by Jim Corbett
Complete Questions and Answers for the Jim Corbett masterpiece. Go through it to enhance your understanding of the text.
1. What was the procedure laid down by the government to report a case of the death of a human by a man-eating animal?
Answer – The government had laid down some rules for recording killing of humans by animals. Whenever the death of a human being occurred due to leopard attack, the friends or relatives of the dead man were asked to approach the patwari at the earliest to report the incident.
2. How did the patwari ascertain the nature of death? Whom did he report the incident?
Answer – After the report of a death of a human being reached the patwari, he would undertake a visit to the site of the death to conduct an inquiry. If the dead body was not found, he would ask a few people to fan out to locate the dead body. If he felt that it was not a murder but a genuine ‘kill’ by a leopard, he would permit cremation of the dead body by his relatives. The ‘kill’ was entered in a register, and the full report was sent to the Deputy Commissioner who also documented it formally. If the remains of the dead man were not traced, the case was subjected to more inquiry. The ‘kill’ was not assigned to the leopard.
3. Why does the author feel it necessary to vividly describe the fright and panic caused by the man-eating leopard?
Answer – The leopard had appeared to be a very real danger to the inhabitants of Garwhal, because of the impunity with which it went on killing human beings. No effort to counter him had succeeded. For the forty thousand inhabitants and fifty thousand pilgrims of the place, the leopard was an awe-inspiring messenger of death. They lived in great awe of the animal. Since the word ‘terror’ is used too frequently, the author felt the need to describe the horrific details of the animal’s attacks, so that the readers could appreciate the ‘terror’ the leopard had caused.
4. Describe the activities people of Rudraprayag indulged in during the day time.
Answer – Life went on in normal pace during the day time. People ventured out to bazaars in long distances, and far off villages to meet relatives, women went to mountain sides to cut and fetch grass, children went to schools. In summer time, pilgrims walked along roads leading to and from Badrinth and Kedarnath. On the whole, no abnormality of life was observed.
5. How did the activities change as evening approached?
Answer – As the Sun dipped to the west, and shadows lengthened, life began to slow down. A strange sense of inhibition gripped those outside their homes. All appeared to hasten to reach their homes. Anxious mothers went out to look for their returning kids. Pilgrims scampered to the safety of the shelters.
6. Describe the situation in Rudraprayag at night.
Answer – As the night fell, life tended to come to an abrupt halt. There was no movement, and total silence prevailed. People locked themselves securely behind doors. Pilgrims huddled together in shelters. No one wanted to do anything that could attract the attention of the man-eater on the prowl.
7. Describe the room where the forty goats and the boy who took them out during the day slept.
Answer – The room had no windows and just one door. Quite obviously, it was stuffy and suffocating. The door was wooden, and was secured by a hasp which after being put in position was secured with a wooden stick. The boy slept in a fenced-off corner in the farthest end of the room. The room was in the ground floor, just below the room of the owner of the goats.
8. Describe the historical significance of Shreenagar.
Answer – Shreenagar had been the capital of Garhwal for centuries. It was a thriving trade and commerce city, besides being the citadel of power of Garhwal kings. The martial Garhwalis had fought gallantly in the two great wars. However, they found the Gurkhas too strong for them in a later encounter. The city and even its two majestic royal palaces were swept away by the gushing water that came from the collapsed Gohna Lake. It left the Garwalis heart-broken.
9. Where did the leopard take the boy after attacking it and killing it?
Answer – The leopard must have killed the defenseless boy with very little effort. After that, it left the place dragging the dead body down the steep hill side. It crossed a terraced field to reach a boulder-strewn ravine. It was a long trail that was discovered late next morning.
10. What was so strange about the killing incident?
Answer – The killing took place at night, and the gruesome incident went totally undetected. The boy perhaps was fast asleep when the leopard made its noisy attempt to open the door with its claws. Even when the leopard came in, the hustle and bustle of the goats didn’t wake him up. His last-minute scream was inaudible and too feeble to wake up the people upstairs.
11. Describe how the man described the sudden disappearance of his hookah-smoking friend.
Answer – The house was located in an area where the leopard had not made its foray earlier, so people were generally relaxed. On the fateful night a neighbor had come in to have a hookah session with his friend. Their s room was L-shaped. As a result, the entrance door was not visible to the duo. When the host was handing over the hookah to the guest, the latter inadvertently dropped the ash and embers on the blanket on which they sat. He hurriedly bent over to collect the ashes and embers from the floor. His eyes fell on the door from this position. To his utter horror, he found the leopard almost soundlessly dragging away the body of his friend. He had become the latest prey to the leopard. The swiftness of the attack and the silence that prevailed made the attack so vicious.
1. Why do Hindus go to Kedarnth and Badrinath?
Answer – Kedarnath and Badrinath are two prominent places of pilgrimage of Hindus. Pilgrims go there in thousands to perform religious rituals, so that they escape the curses of the gods for the sins committed in life.
2. Why do people take a dip in Har-ki-pauri?
Answer – Hari-Ki pauri is a ghat on the banks f the Ganges. It is considered very sacred by Hindus. Taking a dip and throwing a coin in its water is believed to free the person of the curses.
3. Describe the palms of the lepers who wait outside the shrines.
Answer – The palms of the lepers have fingers eaten away by wounds caused by leprosy. These festering wounds constantly ooze blood, and pus. They look very nasty.
4. How do they trouble the pilgrims?
Answer – If any pilgrim ignores the lepers sitting by the road side and does not give him any coin, the angry leper heaps very unpleasant curses on the visitor.
5. Are the lepers really poor? Where do they hide their wealth?
Answer -The lepers are very rich. They hide their wealth obtained through begging in the caves where they use their dirty clothes to cover them.
6. Who are the Kala Kamli Wallahas? How did they get their names?
Answer – Kala Kamli Wallahas cover themselves with black blankets all the time. They get their name from this practice. They also beg from the pilgrims, but not in a vulgar way as the lepers.
7. What is the good thing about these people?
Answer – The Kala Kamli Wallahs are known for their benevolent deeds. They run dispensaries, schools, shelters etc. with the money they get by begging.
8. Describe the geographical character of Rudraprayag. (First para)
Answer – ‘Prayag’ means confluence. down from Badrinath. Rudraprayag is the place where Alaknanda and Mandakini merge. The river Mandakini flows down from Kedarnath and Alaknanda from Badrinath. The combined waters of the two form Ganga. OR The waters of the two combine to form the Ganga Mai and for the rest of the world, it is known as the Ganges.
9. How does a man-eater gets its name? Does the name accurately describe where the man-eater killed its first human prey? (Second para)
Answer – A leopard or a tiger gets the name of a place attached to it as a matter of practice when it is found that the man-eating generally picks up prey from there. However, it is not always the case. The place of its first eating a prey may not be the name attached to it.
10. Why do leopards kill humans? (Para 3)
Answer – Leopards do not prey as a matter of habit. When they are very hungry and don’t find meat to eat, they feed on carcasses.
11. What sort of terror the 50,000 inhabitants living in 500 square miles of Garhwal experience? (First and second para)
Answer – The leopard was just an animal. Unlike the police or the army, it had no power to make people of the area obey its orders or fear it. Yet, for the 50,000 population of Gharwal, the leopard meant bone-chilling fear. They never dared to come near it or challenge its authority. The leopard struck absolute terror in the minds of the people. Even the most oppressive British ruler could equal the leopard’s ability to create fear.
12. Describe the pace of life during hours of bright sunlight. (3rd para, page 8)
Answer – During the day time, life went on normally in the area. Farmers, readers, students, cow herd boys, all went about their work with no anxiety or fear. Thus, the effect of the leopard was never felt.
13. How did life change with onset of evening?(4th para page 9)
Answer – As the sun began to set, it gradually became darker. The fear of the leopard walking about in the area began to enter the minds of people. So, they began to curb going out. Thus, life became slower.
14. How were the night hours lived by the people? Describe their feelings. (5th para, page 9)
Answer – After it became dark, the fear of the leopard gripped the minds of people. They bolted themselves in their homes stopping all activities. Life came to a standstill.
15. In which cases, a death, although caused by an animal, was not ascribed to the man-eater?
Answer – In case a person was brutally injured by the leopard, and succumbed to the injury later, the leopard didn’t get the credit.
16. What you conclude about the preying skill of the leopard?
Answer – The leopard was undoubtedly a very agile and expert hunter. His tricks were surreptitious, and he could launch his attacks catching his prey totally off guard.
17. Describe the possible efforts the leopard must have made to break open the door and enter inside.
Answer – The leopard used its sharp claws to break open the door. It made repeated attempts to jolt the door. The flimsy hasp failed after some time, and the wooden stick fell off. The door opened as a result.
18. Why do the pilgrims use the Laxman Jhula?
Answer – Laxman Jhula is a suspension bridge that allows pilgrims coming from the direction of Rikikesh to cross the Ganges from the right to the left bank of the river. It’s an iconic landmark of north India.
19. Describe the dangers they face while crossing the Laxman Jhula?
Answer – Laxaman Jhula is awash with belligerent red monkeys who intimidate the pilgrims to extort small portions of sweets and roasted Chana from the vulnerable visitors.
20. Describe the location of Shreenagar.
Answer – Sreenagar is a vibrant urban center sitting in the lap of its surrounding mountains. The place is scenic and capitivating for the visitors.
21. What special quality makes the Garhwalis famous?
Answer – The Garhwalis are a martial race known for their gallantry.
22. Describe the battle in which they were defeated by the Gukha invaders.
Answer – The Gurha invaders emerged victorious after their deadly encounter with the brave Garhwalis who fought their foes to the last breath.
23. Describe how the pilgrim shelters of Golabari are built.
Answer – Golabari has the one-roomed stone houses having grass-thatched roofing. The facilities is rudimentary providing very basic comforts to the tourists. There is a water trough that provides water for the visitors’ drinking and other needs. The trough gets its supply from mountain streams.
24. How the inmates of the shelter get their supplies of drinking water?
Answer – The only and the perennial source of water for the visitors is the trough that seldom goes dry.
25. Who is the owner of the shelter house? Where does he live?
Answer – The owner of the shelter facility is a Pudit who lives in a two-story stone house, just yards away from the tourist cottages. Amango tree stands nearby.
26. Describe the road that goes to Kedarnath via the left bank of the Mandakini river across Alaknanda. Why is the journey along this road so difficult. (Answers in the beginning of the last paragraph in Page 3.)
Answer – The road along the left bank of Mendakini to Kedarnath is too steep and rough. Trodding on it proves to be exhausting. Walking along the road not only saps the lungs, but also scars the legs of the visitors.