Elephant abuse / Elephant polo
- A division Jaipur bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari on Friday directed the state authorities to use the guidelines issued by principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan as a norm for housing and upkeep of elephants in the state. The court banned the use of sharp-edged iron ankushes to control elephants.
The directives of the high court came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by Naresh Kumar Kadyan, chairman of the People for Animals (PFA) Haryana filed in 2006 calling attention to the cruelties committed on elephants by the mahouts during pregnancy such as running them on hard surfaces, using sharp edged 'ankush' to control elephants. The court has then asked the state government about the death of elephants, action taken for the health and safety of elephants, atrocities committed on them, and the use of sharp-edged iron weapons called ankush.
"The court order was passed because there is no legislation on the upkeep of elephants and the only available material was the detailed guidelines which have been directed by the court to be used as a strict rule to be followed religiously by the mahouts," said Ajay Kumar Jain, counsel for the petitioner.
Therefore, now the mahouts will be allowed to use only wooden ankushes to control elephants in emergencies. Also they will now not
use the female elephants which are in their 12th month of pregnancy for safaris.
Further, no elephant having a suckling calf below the age of six months be put to work.
Abhishek Kadyan, Media Adviser to the International Organisation for Animal Protection - OIPA in India.
- Dear Mr Kadyan,
Congratulations and keep the good work. Please
convey my regards to Abhishek.
Maybe you will be interested in the following article published in Times of
India on 27th February, 2010 :
elephant and India: Tusker talesPraveen Dass, TNN, Feb 27, 2010, 06.17am IST
Halid haathivala is used to curious onlookers, as are his wards. Basking in
the winter sunshine by the Yamuna, recovering from a long night of
ceremonial work at Delhi weddings, his three elephants are being gawked at
by children from a nearby school. Minders warn them to behave, as Khalid and
his colleagues go about feeding the beasts.
A special sight for most Indians still, these majestic animals appear to
have fallen out of favour in more elite circles. Many critics now routinely
carp at India being commonly characterized as a 'lumbering elephant'.
This label may be traced to media reports from the late 1970s, when several
South East Asian nations began rapidly industrializing, and China began its
ascent to economic superstardom. Experts soon began conjuring up an entire
menagerie of beast metaphors.
Booming East Asian 'tiger economies' were contrasted with a 'slow' Indian
'elephant', hobbled by its infamous 'Hindu rate of growth'. Thirty years
later, much is now made of competition between a roaring Indian economy and
the mighty Chinese 'dragon'. Many feel a tiger would now be a better symbol
for a new India.
Such angst is misplaced. For a nation vast in every way, the elephant
metaphor is apt. Besides, while the elephant is a substantial reality, the
dragon is a mythical creature � an appropriate comment on some of China's
Unlike the larger African elephant, fiercer and notoriously untamable, the
Indian elephant (elephas maximus indicus) � distinguished by its smaller
ears and prominent forehead � has always been easier to domesticate. That's
largely why it has had a special hold on the subcontinent's collective
imagination. Mythology, religious tradition and history here positively
abound with distinctive elephant motifs � usually representing divinity,
strength and fortitude.
One strain of divinity leads to Ganesha, elephant-headed destroyer of
obstacles and lord of good beginnings. Pot-bellied with a taste for sweets,
and granted a rat as vahana, Ganesha's symbolism is as diverse as his many
depictions. The elephant and the rat denote the overcoming of opposites � a
richly meaningful theme in Hindu tradition. Not surprisingly, Ganapati is
one of India's most popular deities.
Elephants are everywhere in other Hindu myths too. Lakshmi is often depicted
with elephants, hence Gajalakshmi. Airavat, Indra's winged white,
four-tusked vahana, was one of eight ashtadikpalakas created by Brahma from
a ball of mud to guard various celestial realms. In one account, crimes of
passion � involving the usual mix of comely apsaras, angry sages and guilty
gods � led to a fall and the elephant's arrival on earthly planes.
The Mahabharata, greatest of Indian epics, is stuffed with the elephant
motif. Ganesha, legend holds, played scribe to Vyasa � using a pen fashioned
from his tusk. Mighty Bheema's strength is often compared to many elephants.
And, in Indian literature's most infamous instance of distortion of fact, it
is the death of an elephant named Ashvathama that enables the slaying of
Dronacharya, leaving an indelible blot on Yudhishtira's legendary
Buddhism greatly reveres the elephant too. Tradition has it that the Buddha
was conceived in a dream in which his mother was pierced by a white elephant
with six tusks. Previous incarnations of the Bodhisattva were also born as
elephants � a major reason Buddhist literature and art frequently depict
elephants as symbolizing wisdom, steadfastness and strength. Grey elephants
are said to symbolize an aspect of the untrained mind, unfocused and quick
to anger; focused minds, trained in the dhammic tradition, are akin to white
Worship has also made special place for elephants throughout much recorded
history. Temple elephants are an old tradition in South India, where they've
long been an integral part of everyday life. They may still be spotted on
occasion, gently walking down old city lanes, offering blessings and
receiving alms. In Kerala, annual displays of gloriously bedecked temple
elephants are now a prominent tourist event. Mysore's famous Dasara
procession invokes a lineage that stretches back to the heyday of
In addition to all the heavy lifting, elephants were also put to more
martial work. Suited equally to the hunt and to most forms of warfare, they
famously served virtually every major Indian ruler.
The Western world first encountered real war elephants, famously, in 326 BC,
when Alexander of Macedon waded across the Indus to fight Puru at Hydaspes.
Those beasts left quite an impression, even in defeat. The tale goes that
the Greek refusal to march on owed much to the prospect of facing more
elephants in Magadha. The Greeks duly spread the word in Asia Minor and
Indus Valley seals depict elephants, as do the Vedas, in dazzling verse.
Ancient scholars, including Kautilya, wrote about their utility and majesty.
A medical treatise, Palakapya's Hastayayurveda, became a must-have user
manual of sorts for ancient operators. Artists accorded the elephant a
cherished place in Indian iconography, a tradition that continues till
In battle they proved influential until, as with all weapons, technology
overtook them. One skirmish in particular, at Panipat in 1526, brought about
their slow retreat from Indian frontlines. Babur, shrewd general and
ambitious conqueror, faced down a few hundred of Ibrahim Lodi's elephants by
scattering them with new artillery � a tactic he would use repeatedly.
His descendants would do the same, even as they took to these noble animals
and relished sport with them. Akbar so loved one of his pet elephants,
Hiran, that he built for it a monument outside Fatehpur Sikri. Legend has it
that Shah Jahan shifted Mughal India's capital back to Delhi because his
elaborate elephant processions could not wend their way through Agra's
That motif, of the elephant as a symbol of power in India, was an old and
potent one that all invaders cottoned on to pretty quickly. They didn't all
ride elephants just to hunt tigers.
It was a fact carefully noted by diligent English empire builders too. As
one paladin after another swayed down boulevards in newly-built Indian
cities, seated on elephants elaborately caparisoned in the local style, this
motif was made amply clear to Indian masses: the British Raj was the new
power astride the behemoth that was India. It was to be the last time such
symbolism was invoked.
Independent India muted this motif and turned to regarding elephants as
merely lovable beasts. The only major state-sponsored processions that take
place today are at the Republic Day parade in Delhi. Children honoured for
acts of bravery march down Rajpath on elephants, waving away.
The 1980s were a good decade. TV brought wildlife programming into our
living rooms, even if it was on DD. The IAF inducted the giant IL-76
transport aircraft and named it 'Gajraj'. And Appu, a Guruvayur temple
elephant, was chosen mascot for the 1982 Asian Games. His depiction as a
cute dancing figure became a fond memory of that sporting event. Appu died
in 2005, recalled in misty-eyed reports.
Such elaborate symbolism is now in need of being recalled, since much
appears to have been forgotten in western-inspired fussing about 'slow' and
'lumbering'. Praised by Aristotle as "the beast that passeth all others in
wit and mind", a remarkably social animal, and justly venerated for its
utility, the elephant is badly in need of an image makeover. Besides, as
another Greek pointed out, slow and steady may not be such a bad idea in the
Naysayers may also look to this newspaper's crest, where two elephants
gently prop up a shield. The crest, for long, featured a pair of Britannic
lions. Independence called for change. Elephants were probably an easy
Khalid haathivala couldn't agree more. Such symbolism is not lost on him.
"Sabse solid," he smiles. His wards keep munching their fodder, their calm,
stoic gaze firmly focused on the next bale.
On Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM, nareshkadyan <kadyan.ipfa@...> wrote:
> A division Jaipur bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising Chief Justice
> Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari on Friday directed the state
> authorities to use the guidelines issued by principal chief conservator of
> forests and chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan as a norm for housing and
> upkeep of elephants in the state. The court banned the use of sharp-edged
> iron ankushes to control elephants.
> The directives of the high court came on a public interest litigation (PIL)
> by Naresh Kumar Kadyan, chairman of the People for Animals (PFA) Haryana
> filed in 2006 calling attention to the cruelties committed on elephants by
> the mahouts during pregnancy such as running them on hard surfaces, using
> sharp edged 'ankush' to control elephants. The court has then asked the
> state government about the death of elephants, action taken for the health
> and safety of elephants, atrocities committed on them, and the use of
> sharp-edged iron weapons called ankush.
> "The court order was passed because there is no legislation on the upkeep
> of elephants and the only available material was the detailed guidelines
> which have been directed by the court to be used as a strict rule to be
> followed religiously by the mahouts," said Ajay Kumar Jain, counsel for the
> Therefore, now the mahouts will be allowed to use only wooden ankushes to
> control elephants in emergencies. Also they will now not
> use the female elephants which are in their 12th month of pregnancy for
> Further, no elephant having a suckling calf below the age of six months be
> put to work.
> Abhishek Kadyan, Media Adviser to the International Organisation for Animal
> Protection - OIPA in India.
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