Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay 


They roam the mighty lands, herding their family, bringing life with every giant step. They recourse the paths of the mighty rivers, create pathways in the dense tree-covered forests, distribute seeds across the great grasslands, and find water during the scorching summers.

Such majestic beings, are they not?

They maintain the circle of life with every sway of their trunk, swaying to the rhythm nature plays like a beating drum.

Every time they let out a triumphant trumpet is when the world realizes how much they depend on these exquisite mammals.

Human Civilization has grown alongside the wonders of nature for millions of years - learning and modernizing. This often came with co-existing and working hand-in-hand with non-human animals around. In no time, humans were evolving alongside animals and receiving their loyal companionship and helping paw.

Elephants, of course, were one of the few animals that got roped into human civilization. Archaeological studies have dated the taming of Elephants to almost 4000 years - back to the Indus Valley Civilization.

Their colossal size made them valuable during every era - from the time humans began clearing land to build civilizations. The historical events that took place often had elephants playing a vital role. Mighty kings and many fallen heroes of India's past fought and won colonial conquests with elephants. Some of the well-known kings even had their personal choice and favorite elephants that proved their loyalty to their empire. Most of Asian history and folklore revolve around the importance Elephants played. Indians consider the Elephant sacred - modeled after the Hindu god of wisdom, Lord Ganesh.

But, over time, Elephants got roped into other aspects of human civilization. They went from being helpers in building residences and temples to sitting in the center of a ring and performing tricks under the mercy of their master.

Imagine. Just Imagine.

Imagine a strong leather slashing across your back. Why? The reason being you are unable to do something you are incapable of. The pain of a thousand stinging hornets on your back, and all you can do is push back your tears bravely. A single droplet may roll, but it counts for nothing for everyone around you is merely laughing at your anguish.

Imagine receiving no sympathy. No empathy.

Imagine being at the mercy of a person who controls everything you do.


Being bound to the chains that prevent you from being free, experiencing the world, and having a family; being shackled and draining your heart from the life you could have had.

That's the life of an Elephant in our modern world. Over time, their relationship with us could only be considered exploitative.

The wild Elephants aren't "domesticated" but are bound to humans with a lifetime of servitude. Baby elephants are stolen from their mother at the age of 3 or 4 years.

But, they don't readily serve us. Their spirits are broken to the point where they see their kidnappers as their saviors - a typical Stolkholm Syndrome.

The children of these mighty creatures are shackled within small crates. Refusing to cooperate is met with beatings and starvation, pulling and stabbing, and screams. Bull hooks are used to penetrate their skin and tear their ears - leaving them impaled and injured if they neglect a command. Their limbs are tied and pulled from either side in a crate so small, that they can barely stand - let alone sit.

Then comes their savior - the Mahout. Just as the Elephant starts seeing life in black and white, one full of misery, pain, and sorrow, they see a figure. A Mahout comes in with food. They show them compassion and love - something they have been deprived of for so long.

These Elephants are not tamed, they are broken.

Every Elephant in the entertainment industry is a victim.

They aren't happy - they are just grateful to the person that "saved" them from the painful misery. Though they are led to a slightly less painless future alongside their mahout, these giants - the same ones that have the power to change the course of a river - find themselves helpless at the hands of us humans.

Every Elephant ride.

Every circus.

Every elephant painting event.

Every single one of those majestic tuskers was exploited to a point where less pain was considered painless.

Is this really where humanity has peaked?

According to studies, over fifteen to twenty thousand elephants across the world are subjected to these horrifying conditions. According to officials, more than 2500 elephants across India live in captivity.

That is 2500 elephants who haven't seen their family.

2500 elephants have felt more pain than life intended to give them.

2500 elephants.

The number talks about how many living, breathing, and sentient beings are subjected to torture.


The reason lies in a simple reason - that they aren't human.

Such abysmal treatment of elephants often leads to them suffering from Psychological disorders - Anxiety, Depression, and vulnerability to all forms of diseases.

Psychoneuroimmunology discusses how a decline in mental health can result in a decline in physiological health as well. This is also one of the reasons why many elephants die prematurely - contraction of zoonotic diseases and other afflictions.

And just like that, the same question arises once again.

Is this really where humanity has peaked?

Most captive Elephants never see a forest again. They spend their lives in captivity, and neither do their lineage. These wild animals are meant to be free-spirited and loved by their families in the wilderness of India, not in captivity.

"Freedom is the right to all sentient beings."

Laws were once constituted to protect their lives and rights. But unfortunately, loopholes that were identified ensured that captive elephants would never receive their freedom.

It is about time these laws were amended, and about time for them to receive their freedom. Just like Indians found themselves in the shackles of the British for over 90 years, Elephants too are forced into our servitude - shackled and broken. Just, they don't have what it takes to fight for their freedom, just like we did ours.

Think about this the next time you see a captive elephant.

Feel their pain.

Look at their eyes so lost.

Their exploitation is nothing to laugh at or consider entertainment because what we see is merely a shadow of what they were.

They are mere bodies with broken spirits. Whose eyes have no sparkle or life.

Such is the present, what could be the future, and the history of the "taming" of our gentle giants. 

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