Mowgli's Pench Connection

Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book” & it’s Pench connection Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Madhya Pradesh is a land that abounds in physical beauty, cultural heritage, tradition and historical background. It is a harmonious amalgamation of everything that is needed in life- spirituality, serenity, animalistic nature with a touch of history. The history of Madhya Pradesh is still astounding for the visitors; the famous Khajuraho temples is an excellent specimen of art and architecture and so is the Sanchi Stupa, Omkareshwar Temple, the town of Orccha, Gwalior and others seem to still dwell in the erstwhile times.

The bygone times seem to still hover over the entire state of Madhya Pradesh. One such person who has left his footprints in the sands of time is Major General Sir William Henry Sleeman (8 August 1788 – 10 February 1856)

Major General Sir William Henry Sleeman was a British soldier and a subsequent administrator in British India. He is best known for his work from the 1830s in suppressing the organized criminal gangs known as “Thuggee”.

Born in Stratton, Cornwall, he joined the Bengal Army and later served in the Nepal War between 1814–1816.

In 1822, his first posting in Central India was as in charge of Narsinghpur District.

He was subsequently elevated to the rank of Captain in 1825, and in 1828 assumed charge of Jubbulpore District ( now Jabalpur ).

Sleeman became the earliest discoverer of dinosaur fossils in Asia when in 1828, serving as a Captain in the Narmada valley region, he noticed several basaltic formations which he identified as having been “raised above the waters”. By digging around in the Bara Simla Hills, part of the Lameta formation near Jabalpur, he unearthed several petrified trees, as well as some fragmentary dinosaur fossil specimens. Also, the village Sleemanabad in Madhya Pradesh, India was named in his honour.

Sleeman wrote about wild children who had been raised by wolves with his notes on six cases. This was first published in the first volume of his “Journey through the kingdom of Oude” in 1848-1850 (1858) and reprinted in 1852 as “An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens”, by an Indian Official and in “The Zoologist” (1888). This caught the imagination of many and ultimately inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli character.

Rudyard Kipling
                                Rudyard Kipling

Interestingly, the Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh has been the source of inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’. Almost everyone has seen this fantastic movie; what makes this movie memorable is the animals. The bear(Baloo), tiger(Shere Khan), Panther(Bagheera) and the wolves(Akela and Raksha), in reality also inhabits the Pench National Park. Located in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara, this park is named after River Pence, a pristine river that flows through the park.

The Park allows its visitors to daze and interact with the wild animals and one could do so by consulting any renowned travel agent in Madhya Pradesh. Numerous animals like Royal Bengal Tiger, wild boar, Indian leopard, fox, striped hyena, barking deer and other captivating creatures are found in this Park. In addition, it is also home to more than 285 species of birds. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, visiting the Pench National Park is a must; if you want to witness the harmonious union of humans and animals, visiting this Park would be the right choice. You can also go for boat rides from Pench to the nearby islands and enjoy the time in the midst of Mother Nature.

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