Edward Prince of Wales in Bhopal. Circa 1921

In 1921 the Prince of Wales did an extensive tour of India. The future King Edward VIII was on a royal visit to India. He travelled to Bhopal in the private train of the Viceroy. He was met at the station by Prince Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal.

Bhopal State elephants welcoming the Prince to the city.

They got on well and went on duck shoots in the many creeks that fed the lakes of Bhopal. The royal entourage spent days together hunting big game on elephant back.

A durbar was held in Bhopal honouring the Prince but that was after he had spent enough time at Chiklod the private hunting lodge of the family.

I do not hunt for i believe there is a time and place for everything. In my growing years that time was over. A conservation Law should have been introduced in India post 1947 and hunting banned immediately after independence. Sadly that didn’t happen and the wildlife of India was devastated in the 1950’s. Many believe we lost over 90% of our wildlife in that one decade alone. I was but a child but i could see the destruction all round. Pre-Independence, the rulers controlled who shot what and where. They knew about carrying capacity and severely restricted killing of any wild animal. Arms licenses were only given to a few and hunting was reserved for the royalty. Even the nobles would need a royal decree to hunt. Post independence in India, with fire arms being made available to all and sundry, with hunting blocks springing up everywhere, those that could afford to hunt in their quest to emulate their royalty, without any comprehension of carrying capacity, went out and decimated our wildlife till hunting was banned in 1972. Till date we in India do not have a stand alone and comprehensive ‘Conservation Law’. We have a protection law instead. ‘Protection is required when all efforts of conservation fail’ the sarakar fails to understand this basic assumption of conservation and has instead chosen to give India a draconian Protection Law, leading to severe conflict.