a common sight to see captive elephants begging on roads, standing for hours in a temple, taking tourists for rides, being used in weddings, garlanding politicians and a host of unnatural activities that contribute to their stress and torture. There is no institution in the country,apart from the Forest Departments, that can afford to keep elephants without using them for commercial purposes. Elephants, with their unique emotional and physical needs, are worst suited to captivity. They suffer from severe isolation and depression with stress related diseases in temples, circuses and tourism industries.
Elephant calves are smuggled, trucked and walked after being illegally captured from the dense forests of north-east India. They are distributed through illegal networks to the urban ghettos of Rajasthan and garbage dumps under flyovers in Punjab. They are sent for begging alms to mathas (monastic establishments) and temples of central and south India, and used and exploited as ecotourism props in shady tourist camps of Goa. Relentless torture in festivals in Kerala is the worst that could befall these magnificent animals. For many, as we can see, the elephant remains an insensitive beast. Is it because of ignorance, insensitivity, greed or simply because the law is not clear enough? Ganguly wrote Gods in Chains, a book on the plight
of captive elephants in India
Elephants suffer from severe isolation and depression with stressrelated diseases