Notes on Indian Archery
From: The Archer's Register for 1903-1904, pp. 261-269.
Part 1 of 4
Some of us see with regret wild nature in every part of the world being brought gradually under the dominion of civilisation. Railways, and other inventions of the white man, continue to de-romanticise wild life. Fire-arms of increased range and power are fast extirpating game from places where a few years ago it abounded. The poor savages who still use the bow are being influenced rightly or wrongly by the trader, the missionary, and the collector. The cheap bird-gun supersedes the bow and arrow; and in a few, a very few years, except those which survive on the shelves of our museums, genuine specimens of savage archery implements will be unprocurable. This makes me think that notes, however scrappy, possess a present interest, and may have a future value. In India the average cold weather tourist is rarely out of touch with those desirable adjuncts to travel in a tropical land—sleeping-cars and iced drinks—but when we leave the vicinity of railroads and plunge into the remote hills and jungles, we are confronted with more primitive conditions. Missionaries and forest officers can tell of tribes whose habits are still those of the age-of-stone savages—going almost naked, and subsisting on the fruits of the earth and on game killed in the chase. The corrosive action of our western civilisation has not yet touched them, they have not yet "progressed" to the stage of Babudom, that strange hybrid type which is neither Indian nor English. Assuredly some of the romance and interest of life will have departed when all the savages are clothed in trousers and patent boots, and carry an umbrella instead of a bow; when the beasts of the chase are exterminated, and the jungles once their home are fenced off into "desirable plots," in which no animal more dangerous than a cow is likely to be encountered!