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Set them free

Watching a baby elephant playing with his mama elephant in the natural stream water, I wonder how nature mothers these speechless animals. Nature is their freedom, the open sky is their shelter and the forest is their incarnate.

Well, now the world is not the same, the earth is undertaken by materialistic people who are in greed, looking for power and money.

 But why can’t these people play their dirty game within their own species? They stoop to the extent of hurting them to death, in order to satisfy their greed.  What would these magnificent creatures say, if they could speak? Probably they would never want to live with us humans.

Nagraj, a baby jumbo, has been in a state of captivity for more than 19 years. He was brought to a temple in the city of Chennai by illegal means. Poor elephant was separated from his mother in childhood to fulfill the needs of manly desires, citing ‘tradition’ as an excuse. And now, he’s been beaten up by metallic bull-hook or Ankush rods, which hurt a lot, tied with heavy chains for 23 hours a day and made to work even after his retirement time.

This is the plight of elephants in temples of South India. Recently the Madras High Court has ordered the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to present a report on the conditions of elephants all over the state of Tamil Nadu and also asked the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments to take necessary actions to improve the conditions of the captive animals.
Today,In the name of God, these majestic animals are kept to a confined area in the temple and no trained mahouts are assigned to take good care of them. Ironically, elephants are mammals that roam around in large stretch of lands and enjoy sitting on the cool sand, they live in groups, walk together and stay together. It is sad that these temple tuskers have become prey to the religious superficialities and trade &tourism in the country. Today, these tortured animals are only a moment of attraction to the crowd visiting temples. All of these things are wreaking havoc on the conservation of animals.

If I were the one suffering, I would have rebelled and fought for my freedom. Elephants try to do the same, when abused. They often turn violent, particularly when exposed to the crowd and unbearable heat and noise. They try to break shackles and let loose.

Wild life Protection Act does not allow selling of animals for any purpose, but even now these gentle giants are brought into use by illegal means, leading to cruel treatment of animals,’ says  S.Vinod, the secretary of Animal Welfare Board of India.

Though, there are rules on the conduct and maintenance of captive elephants, they are breached more often than not by owners and festival organizers, with the officials concerned turning a blind eye. Elephants are not domesticated in true sense, it takes place by depriving them of food, beating them and making them stand on concrete floors for hours and hours so that their spirits are broken and they start obeying the keepers.

In parts of Kerala, a few temples have decided not to bring out elephants in any of the festivals . The rising number of abused animals, chained in shrines and private properties should strictly be prohibited. The practice of exploiting the elephants in temples of India should be outlawed.  We need to show sensitivity towards our fellow creatures. They cry in pain, SET THEM FREE!


christina george

Written by christina george

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