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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

World Elephant day ~ Chirakkal Kalidasan

Somewhere saw that today is ‘International Elephants Day’ ~ Westerners create and celebrate days . .. for us things are different – our love for animals especially elephants is of a different class – Triplicanites loved temple elephant Azhwan.  There are legends about Elephants- movies, songs,  video albums, even statues, FB pages and more on - Guruvayur Kesavan,  Thiruvambadi Sivasundar, Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, Mangalamkunnu Karnan, Chirakkal Kalidasan, Puthupally kesavan, Pampadi Rajan , Thrikkadavoor SivaRaju, Mangalamkunnu Ayyappan. Cherupplassery Rajasekaran,  Cherupplassery Parthan, Paramekavu Sri Padmanabhan, Thiruvambady Chandrasekaran, Guruvayur Nandan, .. to name a few of the elite tuskers of Kerala !  -  Though may not be the rule – most Temple elephants in Tamilnadu are lonely ie., there would only one in the Temple and mostly they are females : Srirangam Andal, SriVilliputhur – Jayamalyatha; Sriperumpudur Kothai;  Thiruvanaikaval Akila, Madurai Meenakshi – Parvathi;  Thiruchendur Devayani;  Thiruvidaimaruthur Gomathi;  Nellaiyappar Ganthimathi;  Rameswaram Ramaletchumi;  Sivagangai Sornavalli; Thirukkurungudi Valli;   Azhwarthirunagari Adhinathar thirukovil – Adhi Nayaki; Thirukkolur – Kumudavalli; Irrattai Thiruppathi Lakshmi .. .. to name a few.

Elephants are not new to tinseldom. In  ‘Nalla Neram’, a MGR starrer  released in 1972, the storyline was around choice between love (his wife) and friendship (his loyal and devoted pet elephants). .. .. one of those elephants was Rathi, who lived a long live till 77.    She had shared tinseldom with MGR, Rajnikanth and Rajesh Khanna.  Rathi starred alongside MGR and Chief minister Jayalalithaa in 1971 released film - Neerum Nerupum, directed by P Neelakandan.   After a 6 year hiatus, Rathi starred in Rajnikant’s  ‘Annai Oru Alayam’ where Sripriya was the heroine.


Sure you would have seen Bahubali.  Baahubali 2: The Conclusion -  directed by S. S. Rajamouli and written by his father K. V. Vijayendra Prasad starring  Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka,  Tamannaah, Ramya Krishna, was released in 2017.   The film is set in medieval India and follows the sibling rivalry between Amarendra Baahubali and Bhallaladeva; the latter conspires against the former and has him killed by Kattappa.  In part1, the film had an iconic moment when Shivdu scoops the giant shivlinga from the ground to place it under water and keep his mother away from suffering.   In the second part,  the drama unfolded with  Prabhas’s entrance where he fights with an elephant to protect Shivagami.    The scene was put in perspective of Baahubali’s immense strength and love for his mother.  Though it was all graphics, Rajamouli shot scenes of a famous elephants of Kerala.

Chirakkal is a census town in Kannur district in the state of Kerala, India. It is 7 km from Kannur town.  From the dense forests of Karnataka, Manniserry Hari, an elephant lover brought Kalidasan to Kerala. Within a limited time frame, this elephant became famous among the people with its unique physique. And with a height of 314 cm, it is even known as ‘junior thechikod’ with its stature that resembles Thechikottukavu Ramachandran,  Chirakkal Kalidasan is a legend.  It is Kalidasu that was part of the film ‘Bahubali 2’.   

On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.  Conceived by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark in 2011, the first international Elephant Day was celebrated on August 12, 2012. The aim of the day is to sensitise people about better treatment of captive elephants and against the illegal poaching and trade of the jumbos for ivory.

Given the latest incident of the death of the pregnant elephant in Kerala after allegedly consuming a cracker-stuffed fruit, death of elephants in some Indian states due to human-elephant conflicts, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar highlighted the measures to curb the same. The Vice President too pledged his support to ‘Haathi Hamara Saathi’. On the eve of World Elephant Day, Javadekar launched a beta version of the national portal on human-elephant conflict called ‘Surakhsya’. He also released a document on the best practices for ensuring the human-elephant coexistence. Sharing a video he tweeted, “India has nearly 60% of wild Asian elephants not just because of strong wildlife laws, but because we Indians revere, are more tolerant & affectionate towards animals.   

The song that goes with the lines "Indrapala padasheershamoo" casts the elephant, Kaalidasan, as the hero.  The video draws out the true allure of Kaalidasan and when combined with a melodious song and stunning visuals depicting the Kerala culture like Pooram, Theyyam; the near five-minute music video is a real treat for viewers. Jinodkumar Pillai and Vibin Vinayan presents a thrilling video on the famous elephant of Kerala. Elephant lovers are still  complaining for not featuring Kaalidasan's mahout Sharat (Mambi), reportedly he was  too shy to face the camera.   Kaalidasan has a popular Facebook page and fan clubs in Kerala.

Even as we celebrate days and hail elephants, hundreds of them are dying elsewhere due to human greed for their tuskers and somewhat mysteriously in Botswana. Between May and July of this year, the remains of hundreds of elephants were discovered near the Okavango panhandle, in northwest Botswana. They were often found close to waterholes and distressing photographs showed they had crashed headfirst into the earth, indicating a sudden death. Other sickly elephants were emaciated, weak, and barely able to walk. Close to 400 of them have died.  Deliberate poisoning was initially suspected due to the ongoing conflict between farmers and elephants. However, this was later discounted as carrion feeders such as vultures were unaffected. Botswana is home to around 130,000 elephants, Africa's highest population of the animals, according to the BBC. Around 10,000 of those live in the grassy Okavango Delta, which floods seasonally.

There are Western and African countries where rich can hunt and kill elephants – they pay the Govt the requisite fee, given license to kill – armed with sophisticated weaponry, they track and kill elephants and then carry them home as trophies.  Understand that in  South Africa, the laws are basically, if one owns land, they owns the animals there too and hence hunting is common.    In the name of Game hunting – they call it sport, and kill unarmed animals with machine guns – this is no game, but savagery. PETA or anyother organization claiming to fight for animals, first should fight this organized brutal killing before raising any voice on elephants being tortured in India.

Before concluding there is a famous lie – that Mahakavi Subramanya Barathiyar was killed by Triplicane temple elephant.  Understand that somewhere in June 1921, frail Barathi who had been haunted and subjected to harsh treatments in jail was pushed by the elephant.  He did fell down, but survived – toured later, spoke at a conference in Karungalpalayam on July 31 and breathed his last on Sept. 12 (early morning of) 1921.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Photos of Chirakkal Kalidasan taken from web /FB page.

1 comment:

  1. பல யானைகளின் பெயர்கள் அழகாக கூறப்பட்டு உள்ளன.. பல அரிய விஷயங்கள்.அவற்றின் சினிமா நிகழ்ச்சிகள் சுவைபட கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது..மிக சிறப்பாக அமைந்துள்ளது....