JAIPUR: The horrific death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala has shaken mahouts and elephant owners in Jaipur. A special tribute was paid to the dead jumbo and its unborn calf by elephants and mahouts at ‘Hathi Gaon’ or Elephant Village on the outskirts of Jaipur on Thursday.
The elephants and their mahouts offered flower petals and garlanded a picture of ‘Soumya, the female elephant who was killed brutally by explosives planted in a pineapple.
After the unique tribute, the president of the Hathi Gaon Vikas Samiti, Babu Khan said, “The merciless way in which the pregnant elephant was killed has shocked all mahouts here. For generations, we have taken care of elephants like our family members. These jumbos are very innocent animals and we feed our families through them. All of us have a lot of respect for elephants. Till now we have seen people only showering affection on these massive animals but now it seems the attitude of people in our society towards these Jumbos has also changed.”
For centuries, elephants have been a part of Jaipur’s royal history and in recent decades, elephant rides at the historic Amber Fort have been a prime tourist attraction of the Pink City. Despite losing all their income due to the lockdown over the corona pandemic, mahouts here have taken special care of the 103 elephants at Amber. They say that with no earnings in the past three months, it was tough to feed the Jumbos. On many days they ate only one meal but ensured that the jumbos were adequately fed.
An elderly mahout Aziz Khan remarked: “The tragedy in Kerala has shamed the humanity. The way this royal animal was killed has shaken all of us in Jaipur. Whoever has committed this terrible crime should be punished so severely that nobody will ever ill-treat these friendly animals ever again.”
Meanwhile, former CM Vasundhara Raje took to Twitter to express her shock and sadness at the brutal incident in Kerala. Raje tweeted, “The horrific incident involving a pregnant Elephant in Kerala has left me deeply disturbed. Majestic & sacred, Elephants are held to be the reincarnation of Lord Ganesha. Symbolic of strength & determination, the treatment meted out to them by some unkind souls is shameful. The perpetrators deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of law.” Raje had played a key role in setting up the Hathi Gaon or Elephant Village near the Amber Fort in Jaipur
Traditionally, India has been a nation that worships many animals, with the elephant in the form of Lord Ganesh being one of the most prominent Gods. But India has also seen numerous incidents that reflect a lack of compassion towards animals. However, the unique tribute from mahouts and elephant owners in Jaipur over the elephant tragedy in Kerala provides a ray of hope that humans can provide better treatment to animals.