The hunters on horse back with their spears
Each hunter on horseback carried a 6' spear which was grasped near the butt-end and used overhand, driven down at close quarters into the hog. Umpires supervised the hunt and the first rider to hold up a bloodied spear progressed to the next round in the competition.
The most famous winner (in 1883) of the Kadir Cup was Sir Robert Baden-Powell who wrote a book on the sport called Pig-Sticking or Hog-Hunting: A Complete Account for Sportsmen - And Others, published in 1924. Lord Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army in India and Africa, and was the founder of the Scout Movement in 1906. People took notice of his opinions.
One of his chapters was titled Pig-Sticking’s Value to the Indian Civil Service. Here the author suggested that the sport offered a model of the panacea that the Raj might need, for on the pig-sticking field it could be shown that the white man and the Indian can be mutually good friends and comrades where they have a sport in common. The Indians could learn about teamwork, authority, planning and responsibility. The Indians, in return, could share their knowledge of local geography and of local wildlife.
The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum noted that the sport was associated with the higher echelons of the military and colonial administration, and was seen as an ideal pastime to aid in the improvement of the colonial classes. In colonial India, in particular, young officers out of Britain had to get accustomed to the heat. Pig sticking discouraged young men from the "morally deleterious escape to higher altitudes" in the hot season, so that the long, hot nightmare season became instead the healthiest and happiest part of the year. And this sport took the young civilian out into his district, allowing him to enter into ‘friendship with his headmen, which cannot be got through official correspondence and chuprassies’.
The grand prize, Kadir Cup, with a wild boar on the cover
Wonderful photos of the post-hunt moment are available in Africa Hunting. The men are beautifully groomed, fully dressed and lined up in proud rows. The vanquished animals lie in a row in the front of each photo, trophies from a very successful day out. So which was the most important moment of the entire day - the preparations, the event's starting horn, the frantic chase or the first kill? I would suggest the post-hunt photos, complete with trophies.
I found this post difficult to write because I do not even eat meat, let alone spear wild boar for sport. Yet it is important for us to understand the practice. And its meaning in colonial India.
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Baden-Powell