Elephants have played a significant part in the everyday rituals of the temples since ancient days. Many elephants in the temple were donated by the devotees as they are considered as an embodiment of the Gods. There was a time when proficiency in Gajashastram (the science of the study of elephants) was the pride of Malayalis. A time when the most expert treatment modality for elephants was available only in Kerala. A time when Keralites had the infrastructure, facilities and knowledge for providing the elephants with utmost efficient care.
As in the case of any indigenous knowledge system of the Indic civilisation, we have destroyed our expertise in the elephant science by neglecting the need for ensuring quality and care in the field. The secular government run Devaswom boards function with all the ills a bureaucratic white elephant set up has. Politics play a greater role than the welfare of the tuskers and the sanctity of the rituals. Most of the jumbos who passed away recently are victims of the wrong diagnosis and lapsed care due to the bureaucratic negligence.
An elephant named Thriprayar Ramachandran, under the ownership of Cochin Devaswom Board, tethered at “Kokkarni Parambu” near the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala is terminally ill. The elephant has been suffering from foot rot, and we are to understand that the 2 nails of left forelimb have been decayed beyond recognition and have a hole now. The elephant who was healthy until about two years ago is visibly very weak. The body condition of the animal seems to be extremely poor, with even the buccal cavities sunken in. This appears to indicate extreme malnutrition, and the animal also has bed sores. In recent past, we have had at least half a dozen cases where animals have succumbed to similar symptoms.
An elephant Thriprayar Ramachandran, owned by Cochin Devaswom Board, tethered at “Kokkarni Parambu” near Vadakkunnathan Temple is ill. pic.twitter.com/A527BwBcdA
— Gajendramoksham (@gajendramoksha) June 29, 2017
The elephant must be in his 50’s and is certainly not old but in his prime. We fear his days are being counted and that Cochin Devaswom Board, the panel of vets, and the mahouts are not taking adequate care and are not serious about the condition of the animal. This is getting incredibly frustrating as on 27-06-2017, we lost a tusker named Narayanan of the same Devaswom board, due to utter neglect and wrong diagnosis by the so-called expert vets. We request the Devaswom Board to bring in better veterinarians from Kerala and other States, who has expertise in treating elephants and give the best care available for Ramachandran and save him from dying a painful and agonising death.
The temple elephants in Kerala are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On one side the ‘Breaking India’ forces aligned with the animal rights NGOs are seeking a total ban on the practice of keeping elephants in the temple, by exaggerating trivial incidents into atrocity literature. On the other hand, the secular government and Devaswom, who live in denial and try to portray only the glossy picture of goodness. Both the parties ignore genuine issues faced by the elephant management system of Kerala and peddle their version of stories with exaggerated and one-sided facts.
(This article has been contributed by @gajendramoksha , Hindu Post thanks him for bringing this issue to light).
(Featured Image Credit : Hindu Human Rights)