Agonies Unsaid


We had been to the temple yesterday to give our annual offerings and took a handful of jaggery with us, as we knew very well that our Balakrishnan (Hey! It’s the elephant in our temple) likes jaggery. After the ceremony, as I was about to take the jaggery to give him, a lady (guess she is the sweeper of the temple) came hurriedly and took it away. I told her that it was for the elephant, but she skipped, giving a lame excuse .The jaggery might have been sold for a lesser price than what I indented.

Tears rolled down my eyes as I saw him leaving the temple, in to the hot sun, with his aching legs, and those stout pot bellied priests on his top. His legs were cross chained…

Guys, are gods really adamant that they need an elephant safari, to bless the devotees? Or are the priests enjoying an elephant ride in the name of gods or is it a version of sadism? This is really a perplexing subject that I have been thinking right from my childhood. If gods are not obstinate about the need of an elephant, why should that poor animal be kept chained in temples, to endure all the pains? I write this with much anguish, as I always see the torture that has been inflicted upon the elephant in our temple. He is a true symbol of the endless agonies that the elephants in the temples of Kerala face.

Actually why do these elephants of Kerala go berserk often? Has anyone thought about this? The answer is quite simple. Long & exhausting walks along hot tarred roads or a standstill in the blazing sun for hours, irritating ornamental loads on the trunks along with the idols & priests on top, chains piercing fresh wounds on their feet, no proper food & water & the mahout’s long spike ever set to pierce their raw flesh. Had a human being been put in chains like this, what would have happened? I am sure; he would go berserk killing others. Then why blame an elephant!

Even during the rest period many of them are denied good food, water & medicinal therapy, left to get mutilated in the enclosure of the mad crowd.

… yet they adorn our galas without any protest…

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