10 September 2007

The Tusker and His Love


The word "politics," which originally referred simply to the art and science of government, now commonly connotes devious or underhanded dealings. The Americans were the first to render the word a pejorative, and now this meaning is universal. Another word which is fast losing its original pure meaning is "love." It is the most adored word in all the world's languages. But more and more, we see its use narrowed to refer primarily to relationships between men and women. But animals also love and they never vulgarize the emotion. I have heard that crows, for example, are very chaste in their conjugal relations. The monogamous crow is devoted to its mate and never changes partners. And recently an event confirming the elephant's jumbo capacity for love has created a sensation throughout India. It happened on August 30, 2007. The Olympic Circus team had camped inKumarbazar, a village 175 km from Calcutta and bordering W. Bengal and Jharkhand. The Bengal-Jharkhand border area is habitat for wild elephants, who roam freely about the region. There were four female elephants with the circus, named Savitri, Gayatri, Chanchala and Mala. In the dead of night, at 2.30 am, a wild tusker from Jharkhand, having crossed the river Damodar, approached the circus party and heard the calls of the female elephants in their tent. Their sweet feminine voices aroused the Cupid within him. He forced his way into the tent and ran amok as a fierce knight until he found Savitri his beloved. By the way, the tusker was 26 years old and Savitri was 20. The tusker exhorted Savitri to tear the shackle off her foot and follow him into the jungle. The other three elephants started to trumpet loudly and they too tried tear their shackles. The manager of the circus party, fearing major destruction from the frenzied tusker and mayhem within the tent, ordered his staff to release all four of the elephants. Once freed, the ladies thundered after the tusker into the jungle.
The following morning the manager entreated the forest department to help
him retrieve the elephants; their permanent loss would have been a serious crisis for the circus. The forest ranger succeeded in locating three of the elephants and led them back to their tent. But he failed to find Savitri. Finally after many days' search he spotted Savitri along with the tusker, frolicking in a jungle pond. The forest officials and Kalimuddin Sheikhthe, Savitri's mahout, tried to cajole her back to the circus tent. But Savitri refused. She looped her trunk around the tusker’s leg and instantly the tusker shielded her with his huge torso. The mahout said that he had reared and groomed Savitri from her very childhood and she had never disobeyed him. This was the first time that love got the better of her obedience. The enamored pair continued to roam together throughout the jungle. The forest department deemed it would be unwise to force Savitri back to her tent as the loss of his mate might enrage the tusker. He could become destructive and ravage the nearby villages. So the pair was not disturbed. But they were kept under constant vigil. They were followed by the forest officials, who waited for the mating period to pass. Finally when the tusker was over his initial orgy and Savitri seemed a little weary, the mahout took advantage of Savitri’s loving obedience to him. He cajoled and pleaded for her to return. At last Savitri returned to the tent and resumed performing for the public. Savitri's heart had been divided by having to choose between her mate and the mahout. I think the time has come for a regulation that no animal should be deprived of its natural life impulses. Let them be in their wild habitat to live freely. We cannot expect the government of India to be of any help in this matter. There should be a campaign from all the animal lovers of the world and the WWF.Animals love with as much if not more passion than we humans. Observing their lives and dramas helps us to understand the meaning of love in its purest manifestation. It is an energy that flows throughout mankind, animal-kind and every molecule of creation.