Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wild Elephants run amok in Mysore City!

Morning of June 8, 2011, the news about a few (wild) elephants which had entered the city was spreading like wildfire all over.  Our mobile phone received a call too. Those who had cable TV network were watching live coverage of the 'event'. The local TV cameraman was there to catch the action.  The newspapers that evening and next morning carried detailed accounts with pictures of the pachyderms' Mysore adventure.

For safety reasons, schools and colleges were declared a holiday.  Declaring holidays for 'bandhs', strikes, curfews were common, but this was one of a kind - wild elephants intruding the city.  But in reality, the reason is man encroaching upon elephant-land through his greedy activities.  Some said there were four elephants, but two had wandered in from the eastern side of the city after they had trekked about 40 kms.  One was a young male and the other older was bigger and without tusks.  It was thought to be the mother-son duo, but it later turned out that the 'mother' was indeed a 'makhna' (male elephant without tusks).

They were first noticed around 6 am near Bamboo Bazaar.  At this time of the year, there would be enough skylight at 6 am.  Click on this picture to enlarge and see where the jumbos went:

Mysore was being visited by the Elephant God.  Gaja Raja in original form!

In this 1880 photo showing the old Mysore Palace where a function is being held and elephants (tamed) being part of it as is the usual Royal tradition.

Another old one from Mysore Palace.

Elephant is a favourite subject finding itself in various materials.  This was at Cubbon Park last year in the Horticultural Show. 

In fact, they were not rogues.  The citizens were rogues who teased them in many ways - they would have felt really funny and they unleashed their anger at the crazy humans in the most emphatic manner.  

This video captures quite a bit, including the action when the young tusker killed a poor security guard and mauled a couple of tethered cows .  Needs a tough mind to watch. Both these were happening on Narayana Shastri Road hardly a mile from home.  They were not rogues, they had wandered in search of food.

After it had shown its fury it had entered the Athletic Ground (Oval Ground) opposite Crawford Hall by climbing a moat wall in a small portion of the fenced ground.  

It tried to cross over the arrow-edged fence but failed.  This is the ground where many walkers, joggers and sportsmen spend their morning on their fitness (including yours truly, frequently).  That morning I had missed the routine. The next morning when I went, this was the only issue on everybody's lips and one stranger was showing me where it had crossed.  "Just there Sir.."  and I was looking at that moat wall!  This net-grab picture shows the poor fellow probably in some pain. 

This picture was taken from the opposite side.  So, seeing people everywhere around it must have really angered him.

After tranquilizers were shot, it was captured near Kukkarahalli Lake.  Well tamed jumbos and trained mahouts from the Mysore Palace were summoned to do this job - preventing further damage.

The 'makhna' elephant was captured in a farm as they had got separated.

The next day, it was loaded into a truck and sent away to the forest. The Royal Jumbo seems to be bidding 'good bye' to the rare visitor. 

The young fellow had injured a few people on its sojourn.  Some persons had providential escapes! But the Govt. is yet to pay them compensation (as I post this, a month later).

Before I close this, a couple of objects to show:

This is my favourite toy plastic elephant, bought at Mysore Dasara Exhibition in the mid 1960s.  See this 13-second video how it walks!

This Brass heiroom Jumbo WAS majestic!

This is the manually opened bud of Delonix regia (Gul Mohur).  A colleague told about it recently that it was called 'Elephant flower'.  I wondered. She asked me to bring a bud that was ripe to open in a day or two. So when I brought such a one, she showed me this! 


1 comment:

JB Bernier said...

I am very thankful that you missed your morning constitutional that day! May you always be so fortuitous.