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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

the head hunters club

The tribe of head hunters is on the increase. They rear their heads from almost every corner and spring out from the most surprising of places to frighten the wits out of you. A net search for ‘the head hunter’ on Google throws up 2.1 million results while that on Yahoo does better at 2.85 million.

Our country is a land of Princes; we boast of zamindars who loved to spend their weekends in the company of close friends and relatives, hunting. They hunted deer, tigers, lions – the stuffed heads of the slain animals adorned the walls of their drawing rooms. They proudly displayed these heads and earned recognition among the nobility. It was a game that came to them naturally, a result of the influence of the British, people might say.

There used to be heads hunters of the terrible kind, reportedly native to the deep African jungles, the preserve of the likes of Phantom. Those who set out to discover new lands were invariably wary of these heads hunters – those who were lucky to return unharmed, narrated their experiences and always found any number of patient audiences who lapped up everything without batting an eyelid.

Those head hunters were cannibals, they loved human meat and treasured the heads – these heads were displayed on top of the entrance to their dens. Something akin to the fighter pilots of the World Wars who loved to keep track of the number of enemy planes they shot down or the cowboys who used to notch up their killings on the butt of their pearl handled Colts. They felt pride in glorifying their deeds and, the more number of heads you had to your credit, the more respect you earned, you acquired an elevated status in your society, others feared your prowess, and you gradually built up a reputation that had to be protected. Civilization has ensured that the rays of the sun filtered down to the dark undergrowth to remove such species from the horizon.

Head hunters today are those who set up offices in posh hotels to wean away employees who mean a lot to a company. They lure away the go-getters with promises of tax free take homes, lucrative incentives and any number of undisclosed perquisites that may include annual fully paid holidays to the Mediterranean! Today, everything goes – it’s a tough world, cut throat competition is the order of the day.

That is why the recent fuss over a person of the nobility, who reportedly shot an animal, is difficult to comprehend. Instead of training guns on someone who has hunting in his blood, why do the authorities not apprehend the poachers who are bent upon destroying the balance of nature by killing animals for monetary gains?

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