Brutal domestication: Incredible elephantine tolerance

Sep 26, 2022

The human beings savagely torture the elephant, the largest animal, until it goes berserk. In the process of domestication, the wild animal puts up with brutality worse than the Jewish people suffered in Nazi concentration camps. The clever human domination over the most powerful animal on earth has been possible only because it is a herbivore.   

An elephant weighs the equivalent of well over 100 humans. It can lift as many as nine tones and pick up single grain from the surface showing its sensitivity to handling big and small objects. It is the largest land animal, more sensitive than humans and, of course, a wild animal. But elephant toes to the atrocious human direction. So firmly footed on earth, its feet never leave the ground for even a fraction of a second at a time.

The animal with strange features has many distinct capabilities, which include its huge memory base, high degree of intelligence and unbelievable seismic sensory; yet not as clever as humans. Elephants can pick up sounds through their ears and rumblings with their feet. And with its feet, it can communicate with its fellow beings. The domesticated elephants also follow verbal communication of their mahouts. It is the only animal other than a human being that can recognize its impression on a mirror. But it falls into the human trap. After it falls into the human trap no training can change its DNA.

Even after domesticating an elephant, it carries the ineradicable DNA of a wild animal as we cannot alter the order of nature. By mere human training, it cannot be our subservient as we wrongly construe that it could be so. What limited knowledge the human world has gained is not the ultimate truth. We carry the wrong notion about many things. Our knowledge of elephants is one of the best examples. Of course, there is something beyond that we do not seem to bother.

The fact is that neither the elephant knows its strength nor the human beings who enslave it know many things about it. However, the animal is unnaturally tolerant of the savage treatment meted out on it by a much smaller being. Humans treat an animal that maintains a culture of family bonding without ascertaining its emotional complexities. Humans catch the wild one from its domain and domesticate it through a long spate of cruelty that even the brutal Nazis never had perpetrated on the innocent Jews in the infamous Auschwitz. Elephant trainers savagely torture the elephant in chains and iron cages virtually teaching it a lesson as if in revenge and denying it all its natural rights for self-interest.

Humans deny the domesticated elephant its natural right of procreation because of the commercial non-viability and possibility of calves becoming unafraid of humans. Twenty-two months-long gestation period is too long a period for its holders to take care of necessary foods. Still, it shows an unnaturally cool relationship with human beings. We have a court of law to prevent cruelty to animals. We also have animal lovers to make occasional commotions. The animal, by nature, has a low vision, which trainers and caretakers further ruin to bring it under control. The appalling cruelty and corporal punishment meted out of this dumb and vision-blurry animal escape every law. The law never guarantees its right to procreate as its natural right. When an elephant becomes aggressive or kills someone it becomes big news. But no one delves into what made the elephant go berserk. A domesticated elephant never responds until it faces something unbearable or someone provokes it.

In India elephants, as it is revered, are closely linked with religious beliefs. Hardly is there a big temple festival without its picture or engraving on walls. There are elephant figurines at our houses inside showcases and on table tops. Every famous temple festival becomes grandeur as we see elephants in a majestic caparison. A festival can become opulent only with the presence of caparisoned elephants. Deities are carried on the elephant’s back to show our mighty reverence for God. Royals used to have an elephant to show their opulence. Yet, the elephant with too many nasty bruises on its body is in a chain and made it toe the line of cruel mahouts. The ankus in the hand of the mahout is the elephant’s fear. The high decibel trumpet and percussion of Chenda insanely disturb the elephant. Parading it at temple festivals gives it a crueller experience.

Animals do not worship any God, nor do they have any transaction with God. For that reason, animals do not need any God to solve their problems like humans seek to solve problems. However, in temple festivals by parading elephants, we make them show their prayer. There was a time the godly elephant was used for timber handling and heavy transport where heavy vehicles couldn’t reach, thanks to the new earth-moving machines giving some relief to the domesticated elephants.

As contradiction is inherent in every human action, our high degree of ignorance keeps up the bogey of contradictions in our dealing with the land’s most powerful animal. We are unbelievably cruel with this strongest animal, which goes rampant only when we burden it with commotion and corporal savagery. Its ear and the pachydermatous skin with a thickness of 2.5 cm, help it dispel body heat. It takes a mud bath as a prevention against the heat. Elephants do not have a sweat gland, but with the permeability of the pachyderms, it is capable of staying cool without water. It takes a mud bath also to stay cool and seal porosity on its skin. But mahouts and helpers work hard to rub out the mud in the name of giving it a cooling bath thereby denying it another natural right to living without heat disturbance. Still, an elephant does not respond to serving with inadequate food and poor care from its holders. Human beings kill elephants to make money by smuggling their trunks and precious parts. On the other side, elephants, which keep eating for as long as over a quarter of a day, are cared for poorly to save on the margin. The animal lover and worshippers wanted it to parade at a cheap rate and its holders wanted it to limit the hole in their pockets.

The biggest land animal is destined to live in captivity because it is no more clever despite being more intelligent and endowed with many superior capabilities. Indeed, it is never cleverer than humans to make themselves live in slavery. An elephant never forgets while it forgives all human cruelties. When it goes berserk out of the insanity it is trapped we make its chain around its feet stronger and the ankus sharper. Can the brutal bruise on the already rotting bruise that the mahouts inflict on the godly animal tranquillize it? Humans’ act of unsaid brutality on the land’s largest animal is another example of the barbarism trapped in human beings. Though we are yet to learn the mysteries of many lives, we act on our limited knowledge. An elephant lover can do justice to the elephant by unchaining it to live freely and leaving it in its natural abode of a forest.