Read-and Find-out Question
1. Who is the Tiger King? Why does he get that name?
Ans. The Maharaja of Pratibandapuram is the Tiger King. He got that name because, at the time of his birth, astrologers predicted that he would die due to a tiger. So when he grew up, he decided to kill all the tigers and was known as The Tiger King. He killed ninety-nine tigers but the hundredth tiger, a wooden one, took his life away.
2. What did the royal infant grow up to be?
Ans. The royal infant grew up into a tall strong young man. He was brought up in the English environment. He drank the milk of a white cow, was taken care of by an English nanny, tutored in English by an Englishman and saw only English films. At the age of twenty, he was declared the king.
3. What will the Maharaja do to find the required number of tigers to kill?
Ans. Within ten years, the Maharaja killed 70 tigers. So thirty more tigers were required to be shot. But there were no more tigers left in the forest of Pratibandapuram. So, the Maharaja decided to marry a girl from a royal family of a state with a large tiger population.
4. How will the Maharaja prepare himself for the hundredth tiger which was supposed to decide his fate?
Ans. The Maharaja had killed all the tigers in his kingdom as well as in his father-in-law’s kingdom. The number reached 99 tigers. Only one more tiger was required to complete the Maharaja’s mission. But by this time, tigers became extinct. In order to search for the last tiger, the Maharaja announced three year’s exemption from all taxes for the village which gave him the news about the probability of a tiger. In his rage, he even doubled the land taxes and gave a warning to the Dewan of losing his job.
5. What will now happen to the astrologer? Do you think the prophecy was indisputably disproved?
Ans. No harm will be done to the astrologer because the astrologer is no more by this time. The king thought he had killed a hundred tigers but he missed the hundredth tiger which was killed by his officers. Therefore, the astrologers’ prophecy was not indisputably disproved.
Reading With Insight
6. The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. How does the author employ the literary device of dramatic irony in the story?
Ans. The Maharaja embodies the concept of a powerful man who tends to defy his fate. He is an autocratic dictator who uses his entire might to fulfil his eccentric mission to kill a hundred tigers. The writer ridicules the ways that the Maharaja uses to fulfil his vow. He even marries a girl for the purpose of killing the tigers. The way taxes and bans are imposed and cancelled is mocking. The irony is that despite the killing a hundred tigers, the cause of his death is nothing else but a tiger made of wood. The very name of the kingdom Pratibandapuram’ is an example of irony as it means a city of restrictions. But, ironically, there is no restriction for anyone. The story ends with a very ironical statement that death can creep from the most harmless quarters.
7. What is the author’s indirect comment on subjecting innocent animals to the wilfulness of human beings?
Ans. The story is a comment on subjecting innocent animals to the wilfulness of human beings. The king killed a hundred tigers just to prove the astrologers wrong. At the time of his birth, the astrologers had predicted that he would meet his death from a tiger. Just to prove himself mightier than the tigers, the Maharaja ruthlessly killed a hundred innocent tigers. It was his pursuit to prove himself the most powerful that he didn’t care about killing innocent animals. He wanted to defy his fate and ultimately his death. But, ironically enough, he met his end from a tiger though it was a wooden one.
8. How would you describe the behaviour of the Maharaja’s minions towards him? Do you find them truly sincere or are they driven by fear when they obey him? Do we find a similarity in today’s political order?
Ans. The Maharaja’s minions were scared of him but had no respect for him. They all obeyed him because they didn’t want to lose their jobs. In fact, they all were sycophants. Just to please him, they supported his plan to kill a hundred tigers. Even the Dewan had no courage to give the right advice to the king rather he made efforts to please the king by bringing an old tiger from a circus from Madras. Moreover, when the Maharaja missed his target, his hunters didn’t tell him for fear of losing their jobs and killed it themselves. So it was only fear and not sincerity towards the king that the minions displayed.
A similar situation prevails in the present political order. No officer wants to go against the boss and be courageous enough to speak the truth. They simply follow the rule “Boss is always Right!”