The Tiger King The Tiger King

Welcome to English Chatterbox! The Tiger King is a chapter rife with humor and Kalki has used humor to bring forth the way ruling classes behave and conduct themselves. They are reckless and unmindful of everyone around them.

This chapter is a glaring example of bathos which means it firstly takes the king to exalted heights and then literally throws him down and brings his end in the most cowardly manner possible.

In his attempt to show him as a king of high stature the author says that the king could be given titles such as Jamedar-General, Khiledar-Major and many more such names, though he is referring to his shortened name “The Tiger King”.

Kalki even tells the reader that after reading about the tiger king, you might feel an urge to meet him but that won't be possible as he is dead. As in the story of Ramayana, Bharata had told Dasaratha about the death of Dasaratha likewise he is telling you that the tiger king is dead.

Birth of The Tiger King

When the tiger king was born the astrologers had said that he would be die. They had said that he would be valiant and strong but, and then they lingered and didn't disclose the manner of his death. At that moment, the ten-day old baby spoke up intelligently. He said that there was nothing great in predicting that he would die as all have to die at some point but if they could tell the manner of death then it would make sense. Everyone told that the child is born in the hour of the bull and tiger are enemies so death will come from a tiger. But the baby wasn't scared; he rather warned the tiger.

Childhood of the tiger king

In his childhood, he was brought up like any other crown prince, as all were copying the Britishers and were being taught English. They saw English movies and drank the milk of an English cow. Kalki tells all this to ridicule the blind aping of the British ways by the ruling class. When he reached the age of twenty, he became the king.

Killing of tigers immediately after becoming the king/meeting the astrologer

Since all were talking about the astrologer's prophecy about the king's death by a tiger, so the Maharaja decided to kill the tigers. He justified it by saying that if one could kill a sacred animal like a cow in self-defense so killing a tiger cannot be even questioned since he was killing it only to save himself. After killing the first tiger, he called the astrologer to brag about his achievement, but the astrologer warned him that he could kill ninety-nine tigers in the same manner, but he could never kill the 100th tiger. He even said that he could bet on it and was even willing to cut off his tuft and even become an insurance agent.

Hunting Begins

  1. State banned the hunting of the tiger by anyone except the king and if anyone broke the rule, his property was to be confiscated
  2. All state related matters were to be attended later.
  3. The king faced dangers, even fought barehanded, but never gave up.

British Officer and The Rings

A British officer came to his kingdom and wanted to hunt, but Maharaja refused. The officer expressed his desire to only be photographed with the dead body of the tiger but that also the king refused. Now that meant he could lose his kingdom so his Dewan suggested that the king should please the British officer's wife. In order to achieve that, he ordered some rings from a jeweler in Calcutta. The jeweler sent some fifty rings, so the king sent them to the duraisani so that she could select one or two rings but and sent a thank you note. It cost the king three lakhs but at least he could save his kingdom.

Hurdle after killing 70 tigers and Solution

After killing 70 tigers, the king couldn't find any tigers in his kingdom, so he asked his Dewan to draw statistics of the tiger population in the neighboring states and then find a royal family in the state which had the maximum tiger population. Arrangements were made and every time he visited his father-in-law's kingdom, he killed five or six tigers.

Search for the last tiger

After killing ninety-nine tigers, there was no tiger left in his father-in-law's kingdom as well. It seemed pretty tough. In fact, Kalki has used satire hence by referring to the fact that finding tiger's milk was easier. Then the king got to know that there was a village where goats were disappearing. He decided to go there to hunt and he was so happy, that he exempted the villagers from all taxes for 3 years.

Jobs at risk and Dewan's solution

But the Maharaja couldn't find the tiger so he kept getting angry. He fired many officers from their jobs. He even ordered the Dewan to double land tax. The Dewan warned him that they might lose their state to Britishers or to INC if they did any such thing. The king was furious and asked the Dewan to resign. Dewan realised things could really go bad so he decided to sacrifice his own tiger which he had brought from the people's park in Madras. He drove the tiger to the place where the king had camped. The tiger was very old, firstly he refused to come out of the car and when he came out, he went to the king. The king shot him but he missed hitting it though the tiger fainted because of the shock. The king thought he had killed him, so he asked his people to bring the tiger in a procession. After the king left, the hunters realised that the tiger was alive but they didn't want to displease the king so they shot it themselves and took him in a procession.

Gift for the prince and the tiger king's death

The king was happy to have achieved what he desired so he decided to spend some time with his son whose third birthday was about to come. He bought a badly crafted tiger for him. When he was playing with his son, a sliver of the wood pierced his hand. He took it out but it caused a suppurating sore. The doctors were called but he couldn't be saved. So all those efforts of the king to change his destiny didn't yield any result.

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The real name of the Maharaja was:
Who was the Tiger King? Why did he get that name?
Tiger King was the name given to the King of Pratibandapuram. He got his name for varied reasons firstly, he was robust and sturdy as is well expounded by the way he fought the tigers without any arms. Secondly he killed ninety nine tigers which earned this title for him.
Why, do you think the author goes into detailed identification of the Tiger King through a variety of titles? Does he really mean to honour him?
Why does the author introduce the supernatural element in the story and makes a child of ten days to speak?
Why does the ten day old prince Jung Jung Bahadur utter the word ‘Let tigers beware!”?
Do you think the author of the story ‘The Tiger King’ has faith in astrology? Give reasons in support of your answer.
What is the significance of child’s utterance ‘Let’s tigers beware!”? Do you find some oddity here?
Was there any justification in the killing of so many tigers by the Maharaja? What should he have done?
How was the Tiger king brought up?
What is the underlying idea behind the author’s detailed description of the bringing up of the Tiger King?
Do you agree with the Maharaja’s statement, “You may kill even a cow in self defense?” Did the king kill tigers purely in self defense?
What did the state astrologer say he would do ‘if the hundredth tiger were also killed’?
Do you find any moral lesson in the warning given by the astrologer against killing the hundredth tiger?
Do you find any element of irony in the statement, ‘It was celebration for all the tigers inhabiting Pratibandapuram’?
Comment briefly on the relations between the king and his subjects citing instances from the story ‘The Tiger King’.
What did the high ranking British officer wish to do? Was his wish fulfilled?
What proposal did the British Officer’s secretary give to the Maharaja? Did the Maharaja agree to his proposal? Why/why not?
Why did Maharaja and his dewan of the State decide to send gifts of expensive diamond rings to the duraisani?
How did the ‘duraisani’ behave on receiving the gifts? What idea do you form about her from her behaviour?
Why did Maharaja’s tiger killing mission come to a sudden standstill?
When the tiger King broaches the topic of marriage, what does the dewan mean to convey by saying that the king’s ‘ancestors were married to the sword’?
Why did the Maharaja suddenly decide to marry? Whom did he wish to marry?
Why was the Maharaja sunk in deep gloom?
Explain: ‘It seemed easier to find tiger’s milk than a live tiger’.
What were the two restricting outside forces that checked the kings in those days from doing exactly what they wished?
What is the significance of the improbable incident narrated by the author that Khader Mian Saheb or Virasami Naicker, every inch human beings, were ‘both famed for their ability to swallow sheep whole’?
Why did Maharaja order the dewan to double the land tax? How did the dewan respond to this order?
Why does the author choose to present a weakling and an apology for a tiger to act as the king’s hundredth victim?
Why and how did the dewan take the tiger into the forest?
Do you think the prediction made by the State astrologer ‘was indisputably disproved’? Give reasons in support your answer.
Why does the king think of giving up tiger hunting after his hundredth victim?
How did the Maharaja feel on killing the hundredth tiger? How did he decide to celebrate it?
What did the hunters decide to do when they realized that the tiger was not dead and why?
Why did the king go to a shopping centre in Pratibandapuram? What did he buy there?
How did King’s arm become seriously infected?
The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. How does the author employ the literacy device of dramatic irony in the story?
What is the author’s indirect comment on subjecting innocent animals to the willingness of human beings?
What are you comments about the life led by the minions? Were they loyal to their king or they just feigned to be so? Can a parallel be drawn between them and the state of affairs in the modern Indian political set up?
‘The king was Capricious, arbitrary and whimsical. Do you agree give a reasoned answer with illustrations to prove your observation.
Bring out the humour in the story ‘The Tiger King’.
What danger loomed over the Maharaja’s throne? How did he dispel it?
Give an account of Maharaja’s effort to prove the astrologer wrong? Did he succeed? Give reasons.

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