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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Temple Elephants and the NGOs: A well orchestrated cultural attack

The NGOs in Bharat who are supported by the missionaries and corporate companies of the West have repeatedly been targeting the animals of Bharat, both for conversion and business reasons. Most of the animal welfare NGOs and their connection with the AWBI were exposed during the Jallikattu protests.

Many Hindus who were unaware of the threat of cultural attack behind the ban on Jallikattu and supported these NGOs are rattled, and the target has now shifted to temple elephants. So what is the reason behind NGOs’ sudden love for animals? What are the business reasons behind the take-over of elephants, like the dairy industry monopoly behind Jallikattu ban? Let us have a detailed look into this issue.

Elephants have played a significant part in the everyday rituals of the temples since ancient days. Many elephants in the temple were donated by the devotees as they are considered as an embodiment of the Gods. The voices raised on the cruelty which these elephants are going through have racist and Hinduphobic overtones – these activists target only the cruelty on temple elephants while ignoring the death of elephants by illegal ‘cross planting’ in Western Ghats, other man-animal conflicts in the wild, and conditions of animals in most zoos across the world. Many elephants in Kerala have been shot dead in recent times for roaming outside the forest areas or rather it can be interpreted as walking in areas which were forests earlier; the lives of these elephants don’t seem to worry the members of these organisations, for they concentrate only on temple elephants.

Ignorance and agenda of groups targeting temple elephants

Temple elephants are mostly found in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and to some extent in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. Although the animal rights groups targeted the other culturally significant animals like bulls, buffaloes, etc., in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra, temple elephants in Kerala have been victims of the NGO cabal as caparisoned elephants fascinate lot of people in Hindu temple festivals. The world famous elephant pageantry, Thrissur Pooram, has regularly been tarnished by these NGOs with the support of the liberal media houses.

In one such spiteful attempt to show the Pooram festival as cruelty to animals, the activists and their media friends portrayed an Ayurvedic paste used to treat a callus as black paint applied to hide the wounds of the elephants. The inspectors of AWBI promoted this and urged the take-over of elephants from the temples to save them from torture. This created an element of doubt among the elephant enthusiasts of Kerala, and an RTI query revealed that AWBI didn’t know the qualification of the inspectors whose reports were submitted to the Honourable Supreme Court of India to substantiate the plea to ban the elephant festival.

The current Women and Child development Minister, Smt. Maneka Gandhi, who is famous for her animal rights activism and the NGO ‘People For Animals’ that stands for the ban of the traditional festivals involving animals, made a statement that “Over 800 elephants have died in the last two years of beating and starvation in Kerala”. The minister seems to be pretty much unaware of the realities of elephant management practices in Kerala.

The total number of captive elephants in Kerala around two years ago in 2014 was estimated to be not more than 600. Moreover, elephants in Kerala neither beg nor die of starvation. Even Ayurveda in Kerala has a branch dedicated to the well-being of elephants. Once in a year, elephants undergo an elaborated wellness programme based on Ayurvedic prescriptions. There is a practice called Anayootu performed in temples – it involves feeding the elephants with the medicated rice balls both morning and evening, along with plantain trees, fruits and branches of coconut trees which are fed throughout the day, to keep them healthy. 

Sangita Iyer who has been publicising herself as the saviour of elephants was recently injured while attempting to caress the elephant ignoring the warning of the mahouts. 

So, is the honourable minister asking us to give away the elephants in the temple to these activists who have zero knowledge and experience about elephant care in the name of saving them from cruelty?

Arrogant, reckless do-gooders end up doing harm

Last year, TREE Foundation, an animal rights NGO which does western style activism, took three jumbos from Kanchi mutt with the help of AWBI and PETA, and opened a private sanctuary for their rehabilitation on a sunny beachside of Marakkanam. A donation button popped up on their page asking people to contribute to their efforts in changing the situation of begging elephants in Bharat. Were the elephants of Kanchi mutt living from begging? The good hearted Hindus were agitated at this news as temple elephants never roam outside begging for alms, and the mahouts have no part in the money which the temple visitors offer the elephants out of devotion. Meanwhile, scarier realities about what the elephants had to endure from the self-proclaimed elephant rescuers came out. The video of the transportation of the elephants revealed horrendous and amateur handling of the elephants by the activists.

WRRC, the elephant rescuing group of  Bangalore based CUPA claimed to provide a chainless, punishment-free life to the elephants, ‘tortured’ by Hindus, in sanctuaries made by the NGO. But the three innocent animals in this shelter were made to stand in scorching sun without a roof in a slushy surface which is most unhygienic for elephants. Moreover, the activists were feeding the animals same food items they label ‘dirty & unscientific’ when served by the native mahouts in temples.  

However, if we look at the situation of the elephants owned by local people who send their elephants for temple pageantries in Kerala, the reality seems to be far more different than claimed by these NGOs, as even during the Musth, a condition in which the male elephants are said to be highly aggressive, which largely occurs during winters, the elephants are provided separate shelters in forests along with its mahout in a peaceful environment to calm their aggression.

Most of the mahouts and owners maintain a close relation with elephants. This can be understood from the incident at the Ahobila Mutt, Selaiyur in 2014, where the mahout died while chaining the young elephant Malolan, as the elephant accidentally stepped on him without knowing that his head was under the elephant’s hind leg. The elephant was said to be suffering from depression for weeks, and it underwent proper counselling sessions under an experienced vet. So to prevent the cruelty, we must ensure that our mahouts get proper training and the elephants are also provided with hygienic surrounding along with the love which they get in abundance in this beautiful country called Bharat.

NGO-Corporate nexus

The massive outrage asking for the take-over of temple elephants also involves business reasons, just like the ban imposed on traditional sports involving the native breeds of animals, which is helping these organisations in getting funds from the corporate companies. The NGOs like Wildlife SOS, WRRC, Tree Foundation etc. have already acquired a large amount of land in the name of saving otherwise happy animals from the unwashed native people of Bharat.

Since any fresh capture of elephants from the wild is not happening, these NGOs don’t have to take care of the already aged elephants for long. After the elephants are dead, the land remains in their custody. Remember, already the church is one of the largest private landholders in Bharat.

The philosophy of animal activists regarding the preciousness of the life of animals is evident in the fate of Ramabhadran, the elephant of Kerala’s Thiruvambady temple, whom the AWBI ‘experts’ recommended to kill in order to rescue him from illness. Hindus never blame the elephant for any damages, unlike westerners who have a history of killing animals to punish the death of people, destruction of property etc., like ‘Murderous Mary‘ – the elephant,who was hanged to death in Tennessee.


Hindus instead make legends of elephants and pass the stories of great jumbos through generations. Thus, before donating or supporting the causes of such foreign groups, we must thoroughly investigate their background and the lies which they spread.

We hope the Kanchi mutt which fell for such lies takes back its elephants from the torturous private sanctuary and allows the elephants to have a happy and proper life. Also, the continuation of the tradition of elephants in the temples is also necessary as it is a slice of the traditions upheld by our ancestors that make us who we are. Hence, it is our Dharma to protect our animals from Western lobbyists and quack experts. The continuous attack on our culture by the NGOs with missionary connections will only help in furthering the deracination of Hindus and eventual conversion to Abrahamism.

(Featured Image Credit:

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  1. Torturing of elephants and disguising it as Hinduism
    is not a good dharmic practice. Yes elephants have a special place in Hinduism
    ,but not as chained tourist traps as in the Trissur Pooram. Elephant’s legs are
    chained and to stand in the hot sun and be subjected to loud noise, trumpets,
    drums and fire crackers at night? Is
    this the respect for a God that is worshipped in Hinduism? I would like all of you who support elephants
    use in the temples and festivals to walk around every day with chains around
    your feet.

    Here is a video of the beating for an elephant
    at the Mayiladuthurai Mayuranathar Temple. This elephant is beaten for taking
    its own bath.

    Here is
    how elephants are tamed? Is this cruelty
    Hindu practice?? Why don’t you post this
    video on The Hindu Post

    needs to do some self- reflection on why torturing elephants under the pretext
    of Hinduism is not in any way good spiritual or religious practice and the
    karma from inflicting pain on Ganesh will be plenty. Hindu s need to get their
    act together. Blaming others is not going to solve Hindu problems.

    BTW there
    is more than “religious activity” going on at Trissur. It is a group orgy to
    wake up your sensibilities-

  2. What a load of rubbish. Jallikattu supporters piggybacked on temple elephants to make it seem it was an attack on hindu culture. In the end, what you claim were jallikattu supporters turned out to be all kinds of anti-national forces. I suggest you undertake a temple by temple inspection of elephants. And as for Sree Kanchi Matham elephants, you dont know what happened or else you are deliberately peddling falsehoods.


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