Arattupuzha village, about 15 km from the town of Thrissur, is renowned for the annual festival called Arattupuzha Pooram. The Sree Sastha Temple of Lord Ayyappa is the venue for the festivities. Thrissur Pooram was the brain-child of Raja Rama Varma or famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805).
It is seven-day long festival and display of Caparisons is a part of the ceremony. The golden elephant caparison (Nettipattam), elephant accouterments (Chamayam), ornamental fan made of peacock feathers (Aalavattom), royal fan (Venchamarom), sacred bells and decorative umbrellas are prepared and showcased.
It is loud massive scale festival attended by people from across the globe. However there is a gloomy side of this dazzling event; The Elephants. Elephants are used, abused and enslaved for the show. This is one such account of a poor elephant.
Sally Kannan, the founder of Save A Life, accounts the tale of an elephant on her facebook wall:
“So many people argue that there is no abuse of elephants and that they are looked after like children and that Programs cannot take place without elephants. They say it is a tradition and a cultural heritage.
Here are pictures of Thiruvambady Ramabhadran, a star elephant of the temple Dewaswom who was paraded for the Pooram festival last year in spite of his wounds and a paralyzed trunk. He is more than 60 years old and has been a vital ‘cash making machine’ for the Dewaswom board ever since he was brought here in 1984. His trunk has been paralyzed for more than 7 years now.
Black paint and ash are used in most cases to cover up wounds. Take a look and make your own opinion on whether we need to go on with such cruel traditions. Elephants are wild animals and they belong in the wild with their own families and not to be wounded and suffered like this among ‘we crazy’ humans.
Pics were taken by me during an inspection some months back. In spite of instructions to either euthanize or shift the elephant to rehab, he still continues to be standing in the same condition suffering and in pain. What each and every one of you can do to prevent such things from happening is to raise your voice and protest against the use of elephants and not visit or take part in any festival using them.”
The world is showing us up with their progressive, compassionate policies and around 17 countries have put a complete ban on animals in the circus to stop animal cruelty; India is a place where there have been traditions of worshiping animals especially elephant, the cruelty is being practiced.
In the Bhagavata Purana, one of the most sacred books in Hinduism there is a story where Lord Vishnu came down to earth to protect Gajendra, the elephant, from the clutches of Makara, the Crocodile.
Now; who will come to protect this Gajendra and many such Gajendras.
It is the time we rethink our traditions and match them with our innate values. Compassion is the best form of service to any deity. Let us build our traditions with compassion.
The Logical Indian appeals Ministry of Environment and Forests to look into such issue seriously. And we request Menaka Gandhi; a prominent voice for animal rights; to kindly come forward on this issue.