Once upon a time, there were some hunters from Germany in Sundarbans who were on a hunting expedition with the help of a local guide called Pachabdi Gazi. Gazi was a poor Bangladeshi hunter who had a vast experience in killing man-eater tigers in the region.
As the crew was sailing down a local river which flows through a forest, using a fishing trawler, a man-eater tiger suddenly pounced onto the vessel, leaving everyone shocked and terrified due to the sudden ambush. At this point, if the action was not taken immediately, the crew members could die. Aware of the danger they were facing, the local guide pulled the trigger, killing the predator instantly with a bullet to the head.
There are many legendary hunters whom we rarely hear about. Many of them are as good as the likes of John Hunter and Jim Corbett. They are well-known for several hunting achievements. The primary reason why they are not as famous as their counterparts is their inability to explain their hunting experiences properly. The same applies to Pachabdi Gazi, who was not a good author to tell his story well.
The People and Tigers of Sundarban
Nearly half a century ago, tigers were often hunted with muskets in Sundarban. When a man-eater tiger was spotted somewhere, a local who was experienced in killing this type of tigers would be called to take it out. The hunter would then be paid between 100 and 500 rupees for the job. However, it was illegal to kill tigers that were not man-eaters.
Man-eater tigers have been found to be smarter than tigers that do not eat man flesh. They normally create a trap for humans and kill them. If the hunter is not skilled and experienced enough, they could be killed by the claws instantly.
How an Ordinary Tiger Becomes a Man-Eater Tiger?
Tigers generally do not eat human flesh. Their favorite food is animals like deer, antelope, hare, etc. However, due to an injury, illness or old age, the hunting capabilities of a tiger can be adversely affected, making the predator not able to run fast enough to catch prey. Out of hunger and desperation, the animal may resort to hunting a human being since human beings are not that fast. Once the animal tastes the flesh of a human, it becomes its favorite dish and therefore the tiger begins to focus on humans.
A Brief about Pachabdi Gazi
Pachabdi Gazi was a well-known hunter who specialized in killing the man-eater tigers of Sundarban. The Sundarban tigers have some unique characteristics and habits that distinguish them from other tigers. For example, they tend to lie down on the ground laterally straight when resting or having a nap. Secondly, their sleep is quite deep as well as lengthy when they are extremely full.
Gazi was born to a poor family in 1924 in Gabura Union of Shyamngar Upazila of Satkhira District. His father and grandfather were hunters who were later killed by tigers. At the age of 17 years, he began hunting, using his father’s double barrel muzzle-loading gun. Gazi’s first man-eater target was a notorious tiger known as “The Terror of the Golakhali”, which was responsible for the deaths of his father and grandfather. It is rumored that the boy was forbidden from further killing the tigers, by his father in a dream, after killing 57 tigers, including The Terror of the Golakhali and he obliged.
It is courage, patience, and intelligence that enabled Gazi to be very good at killing the man-eater lions of Sundarban. He later signed up to become a local forest department ranger before becoming deeply involved in forestry in 1955 even as he continued to rise and shine.
“The Terror of Aatharobeki”
In 1966, Pachabdi Gazi was called upon to eliminate a man-eater tiger known as “The terror of Aatharobeki”, after it had killed a local whose body was found severely mutilated. He used the body as bait, knowing that the tiger would return later to finish its meal. When the predator came a few hours later for the unfinished business, Gazi with courage and precision, pulled the trigger instantly killing The terror of Aatharobeki. Later he was recognized and awarded by the government for his heroic act.
Pachabdi Gazi’s Unique Hunting Skills
Pachabdi Gazi could figure out the shape and class of tigers simply by examining the footprints of the animals. With that alone, he could tell whether the tiger was a regular one or a man-eater. The legend could also wrestle with a tiger as documented several times. Additionally, he could draw tigers out of their hideouts by mimicking the sounds of a tigress!
A List of Other Groups of Notorious Sundarbad Tigers Pachabdi Gazi Was Able to Kill
- Human eating tigers of Dublar Char.
- Human eating tigers of Shopoti.
- Human eating tigers of Lotabaki-llshamari.
- Human eating tigers of Lakkhi Khal.
- Human eating tigers of Guali.
- Human eating tigers of Talpatti.
In 1986, Pachabdi Gazi returned to the hunting scene while at the age of 70 years. While he was a great hunter who killed many man-eater tigers and violent crocodiles, earning fame and recognition from the government and the local community, it is quite sad that Gazi never escaped poverty. He passed away in 1997, leaving behind a family that is economically challenged. Much respect and love to the legendary hunter from our hunting community.