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Man prays to Elephant-headed Deity, Ganesha to stop frequent Jumbo deaths in Coimbatore

Seven elephants had died in the surrounding areas of Coimbatore recently within a short span of time

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Maha Ganapati Yagam. Image Source : The Hindu
  • Recently, there have been consecutive deaths of elephants in the Nilgiris and other surrounding areas of Coimbatore
  • Vikas Muntot, a resident of Coimbatore, decided to organise a Maha Ganapati Yagam and pray for the cause
  • Other than that, he appealed to the Forest Department to ensure proper food and water for the elephants in forests

The Hindu mythology boasts of an extremely diverse set of Gods and Goddesses. One of the many Gods is Lord Ganapati or Lord Ganesha, who incidentally has  a head of an elephant. He is considered to be the God of wisdom. Ganapati festival is highly popular in Maharashtra and is slowly spreading to other parts of India as well. So, when elephants in certain parts of India started dying consecutively, a man named Vikas Muntot decided to pray to Lord Ganesha for their safety.

Lord Ganapati. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
Lord Ganapati. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Seven elephants had died in the surrounding areas of Coimbatore recently within a short span of time. Originally belonging to Rajasthan, Vikas had been settled in Coimbatore for quite some time now and he wanted to do something about the sudden deaths of these elephants. Evidently, the immediate thing that came to his mind was to organise a puja or Yagam for the purpose. Yagam is a Hindu ritual involving fire and ghee. Yagams are often resorted to in order to inaugurate, purify or consolidate one’s desires. In this case, it was Ganapati Yagam because who else other than the Elephant headed God himself would be more concerned about the death of elephants.

Many other people joined Vikas in his endeavor and the Yagam was performed successfully with a very systematic approach. Vikas himself made arrangements for everything and others helped him.

Elephants in their natural habitat. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
Elephants in their natural habitat. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

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He also appealed to the Forest Department to arrange for proper water and food for the elephants in the forests so that none of them dies of hunger or thirst at least. “Encroachments in the forest areas also have to be removed by the authorities. Even wild elephants are docile and they will not come our way unless we disturb them. We make them our enemies by lighting crackers,” reported The Hindu.

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With the wildlife of India being in extremely harsh natural conditions and scarcity of food and water, the loss of lives of the animals has become inevitable. Even most of the zoos are very reluctant about taking proper care of the animals. It is high time that we take some steps to stop all these things because even though it seems that wildlife does not affect us, it does so to a huge extent. With wild animals getting endangered and extinct, the ecological balance is harmed and therefore it has and it will have a great impact on human life as well. What Vikas Muntot did was commendable and we need to be more like him.

– prepared by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: Etrui14

ALSO READ:

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    There should be valid care taken by the forest department, poojas and yagams wouldn’t help

  • Rohit Kanji

    Why does one need to explain Ganesha as elephant-headed deity? Who is this article written for? Do Indians need to be reminded the very basics?

  • Marta Feio

    What’s on the table?

Next Story

Uttarakhand High Court Bans the Use of Red Chilli Powder to Drive Away Elephants

Sackfuls of chilli powder and chilly bombs were used by people living on the outskirts of the 11 Elephant corridors in the state to shoo away Elephants

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Elephants
Sackfuls of chilli powder and chilly bombs were used by people living on the outskirts of the 11 Elephant corridors in the state to shoo away Elephants and reduce man-animal conflict in the region. Pixabay

After the Uttarakhand High Court banned the practice of using red chillies and chilly bombs to drive away the elephants, the local people are at their wit’s end now.

Sackfuls of chilli powder and chilly bombs were used by people living on the outskirts of the 11 elephant corridors in the state to shoo away elephants and reduce man-animal conflict in the region. However, the High Court put a stop to this on Tuesday.

The elephants from Nepal, as well as the Terai region in Uttar Pradesh, travel to Ramnagar, Corbett and the Kosi river, crossing the patch of the National Highway 121 along which the three elephant corridors — Kota, Chilkiya – Kota, and South Patlidun – Chilkiya are located.

With increasing human population, the corridors have shrunk over the years, bringing the elephants closer to human habitats.

The people living on the outskirts of these corridors, over the years, devised a method of warding off the wild Tuskers. They used to place bags of chilli powder on the outskirts of the settlement and the moment they saw a herd of pachyderms, they would fling the chilli powder into the air. The elephants were forced to retreat.

“The elephants do not come back for a week or so. For the past few years there has been an increase in the elephant population in the area and the animals not only destroy our crops but also attack people. We have no option but to use chili powder because the government is doing nothing,” said Ramesh Tiwari, a resident of Nandpur village.

He admitted that the use of chilli against the elephants was the ‘cheapest and safest option because it did not kill the animal.’ Most of the farmers in the region plant sugarcane which, in turn, attracts the elephants.

In the past one year, there have been over 20 incidents of elephants attacking people.

However, a Public Interest litigation (PIL) was recently filed by a Noida based non-government organisation called ‘Independent Medical Initiative Society’.

Elephants
The three major elephant corridors of Golapar, Fatehpur-Lamachaur and Lalkuan near Haldwani have seen mushrooming of human settlements, thus reducing the age-old path of the Elephants. Pixabay

The petition alleged that the forest department, instead of controlling the human activities on the road passing through these elephant corridors, is trying to control the elephants’ movement by allowing cruel means such as feeding chilli powder-filled flour balls to the wild elephants, putting chilli powder-filled bags on the edge of the road and by firing shots and burning firecrackers to keep them away from the road passing through the elephant corridor.

Dushyant Mainali, the counsel for the petitioner, said: “The division bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma has banned the use of chilli powder and any other such cruel means against the elephants. The court has also issued directives to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Ministry has been directed to file the reply within two weeks.”

The petitioner told the court that the “disappointment and frustration due to difficulties in crossing the corridor, are changing the behaviour of elephants in the entire area. The chief reason of concern is the changing behaviour of the baby elephants, which are becoming aggressive day by day and have been found to be involved in most of the incidents of charging.”

According to reports, the corridors are also facing the threat from sand mining in nearby areas, and also a large number of resorts have come up which have increased the traffic flow through the river corridor, thereby disturbing the elephants.

The petition claimed that in the past one year there has been tremendous rise in the human-elephant conflict in the corridors passing on the edge of Corbett National Park and especially on the patch of the Mohaan-Ramnagar Road which is part of NH-121.

Wildlife expert S. R. Rahi said that an elephant requires about 225 litres of water per day and for this the herd of the wild elephants have to travel towards river Kosi and mostly in the night time when it is believed to be safe for them to cross the corridors, but now they are facing the wrath of fast-moving vehicles even during the night time.

The three major elephant corridors of Golapar, Fatehpur-Lamachaur and Lalkuan near Haldwani have seen mushrooming of human settlements, thus reducing the age-old path of the elephants.

The Surai-Kilpura elephant corridor near Khatima is also witnessing an increase of human settlement. Three of these corridors adjoining the Ramnagar-Mohaan border include 27 kms of highway.

Elephants
The Elephants from Nepal, as well as the Terai region in Uttar Pradesh, travel to Ramnagar, Corbett and the Kosi river, crossing the patch of the National Highway 121 along which the three elephant corridors — Kota, Chilkiya – Kota, and South Patlidun – Chilkiya are located. Pixabay

The elephant corridor in Dhikuli area has more than 150 commercial constructions due to which it is completely blocked. Construction in the Mohaan area and vehicular traffic during the night time is hampering the elephants from reaching the Kosi River.

Marriages, parties and the noise generated at commercial buildings and resorts at night is also causing disturbance to the wild animals.

Instead of preventing human interference in the forest areas, the forest department is allowing chili powder and crackers to prevent the pachyderm from coming onto the highway.

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“There are 11 functional corridors in Uttarakhand, but human activities are increasing around the age-old corridors. Elephants are distance migratory animal with sharp memory and if someone attacks them, they remember to return the attack,” said Rahi. (IANS)