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Gazi, Pachabdi


Gazi, Pachabdi (1924-1997) legendary tiger hunter (shikari), was born in a traditional hunting family in the village of Shara in satkhira district. His father, Meher Gazi, his grandfather, Ismail Gazi, as well as two uncles were well-known hunters. He inherited his father's double-barrel muzzle-loading gun and used it for hunting. In 1941 Pachabdi Gazi began his hunting life at the age of only 17 by killing a tiger known as 'the terror of Golkhali' in paikgachha upazila in khulna district.

At first, Pachabdi Gazi assisted a forest department ranger. Gradually his reputation as a hunter spread, and he was appointed as a forest guard. He helped to save the lives of innumerable forest workers and was regarded as the saviour of bawalis, Mawals (honey collectors), boatmen and fishermen. In recognition of his acts of courage, the Pakistan Government awarded him the title of Sanad-i-Khidmat in 1968.

The technique of Pachabdi Gazi in hunting tigers was different from those of other hunters. By studying pug marks, he could guess the size and breed of a tiger and its movements. At times he would spend several days and nights observing pug marks. He is also believed to have fought wild animals with his bare hands. He would imitate different sounds to entice tigers: the tigress' mating call, the noise of trees being felled and of dry leaves being collected. He also used to hunt tigers with traps and from 15-foot high machans (platforms). The full-moon and dark-moon periods of spring and winter are the time when tigers mate. Locally these periods are known as shyandashandir kotal. At this time Pachabdi Gazi used to kill tigers by imitating the tigress' mating call.

Pachabdi Gazi also used other techniques such as gachhal (hunting from tree tops) and mathal (stalking). By killing a tiger with his mathal technique, he won the prize of a double-barrel gun. He killed what was perhaps the largest tiger of the sundarbans - about 12 feet long - at Atharobeki in Satkhira or Buri Goalini forest range. The 57th and last kill of Pachabdi Gazi was a tiger known as the 'terror of Talpatti'. His father had killed 50 tigers; Pachabdi killed seven more than his father had. [Mahmood Nasir Jahangiri]