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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mysterious deaths of two elephants in Jharkhand

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Deforestation and man –elephant conflict have been the root causes of deaths of elephants in Jharkhand state of India since decades. But, now the deaths of two female elephants in Rangamati area of this state on 14th March, due to electric shock by live electric wires charged with reportedly 11000 volt current point towards nothing new but one of these two causes only.

Two female elephants while wandering across open fields in the Rangamati were found dead in the wheat field of Kamala Chowdhary of Neemdih tola of the area in the morning of Sunday. Villagers of the area report that the elephants broke down an electric pole bearing electric wires carrying 11000 volt current just over the field. It was due to this act that elephants came in contact with the live wire and were killed due to strong electric shock.

Villagers including women and children assembled around the spot. Ladies of the area worshipped the elephants using agarbattis, sindoor etc. and mourned the deaths of the two elephants. Later the animals were cremated in a pit dug out near the place, as per the reports by the local media.

Stories relating incidents of man-elephant conflict have been occupying columns of local dailies published from Ranchi, since decades. But most of those stories relate to wretched villagers demanding relief from the government in compensation of crops damaged by elephants. This time the story is in a different colour which shows mourning and worship rather than demand of compensation. The officers of the department of forest are safe this time as they don’t have to make arrangements for compensation that they have been made to make most frequently, since long.

Elephants of the area have always been guilty. Since, the two female elephants died due to their own mistakes this time, and they are no more to be charged for breaking the electric pole and damaging the crop there has not been any other way except worshipping them dead and disposing their dead bodies after a post mortem, as soon as possible. There is no report that may reveal whether the dead bodies of elephants were disposed intact, i.e. without removing any part from their bodies. What may be the pure truth about the cause of deaths and manner of disposal, the two more animals went out of the world is an absolute truth. In the human world of today, wild animals have no place to live in real sense. What of all the worship when they are used to earn money walking through all the streets from early morning till late evening, when all their forests have been cleared for extension of crop fields and other purposes, when they are shot dead on charges of being rogue, when no place is left for their movement and they are made to fall in wells and die off … It is the Human world made for humans. Good words for animals are used in speeches, mentioned in books and other documents, in fashion. Earlier, the talks pertaining to wildlife and their conservation earned names and fames to academics and, to so called environmentalists only. Now, these are bringing fames to some politicians as well. But, no politician could reportedly reach to the spot where villagers were worshipping the dead bodies. This time, villagers alone could pray for the departing souls to earn blessings,  and super humans missed the chance.

Rural ladies, the only conservation group for environment, worshipping the two dead female elephants (Photo: Hindustan)

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