I have been working with captive elephants for 5 years and since I am in contact with these
wonderful beings day in-and-day out, I have become them. So whenever or wherever I get to
speak or voice our opinions; I do so in 1st person. Because I and my brethren are the ones who
have suffered, we are the ones whose brains are blown out by innocently and trustingly
consuming a sweet ball with a fire cracker inside it and believe you me, we elephants...never
World over media has used, for its own ends, this word flippantly to make the world miss the
woods from the trees, so hear it from the real persecuted what this situation really is. Conflict
is, where 2 parties are involved and both the parties understand the meaning of “proprietary
over a property” and have a dispute as to its “proprietorship”. Therefore, your India and
Pakistan dispute over Kashmir, is a “conflict”.
Conquest is “the subjugation and assumption of control of a place or people (even where one’s right to property doesn’t exist) by military force”. All “us” sentient beings, except and unlike you “humans”, live by sharing the bounties and blessings of mother earth with each other without prejudice or ownership or selfishly “hoarding” for ourselves. When we elephants eat
and shake the tall fig and mango trees, we don’t hoard all the succulent fruits to ourselves but gracefully allow the smaller (read weaker beings) deer to also join in the feast. You “humans” can only use “vasudaiva kutumbakam” (world is one family) as a punch line, but we the forest
dwellers live by it. Hence, elephants in the tea or coffee estates is not a CONFLICT but a CONQUEST, because we aren’t in your farm lands, your farms have destroyed our pristine
home/forests, our food source, our water source, our lives ...our everything.
Know this, we don’t want to be anywhere near you “par marta kya na karta” (but desperation
of a dying man). And all this for a crop that isn’t even required for your existence, how selfish
and foolish one can get. Let me tell you it’s not just us but yourselves too that you are
destroying in the end:
1. Landslides: tea and coffee are small shrubs as opposed to banyans and hence can’t hold
soil well due to smaller root systems. Heavy rains and slide, 2018 – 19 rains in Western
2. Drying rivers: big trees = more water sequestered, so more water in rivers year long.
Smaller trees less water, hence water only during rains.
3. Silting: point 1, more soil erosion = more silting = less water holding capacity = flash
4. Dead seas: unnecessary fertilizers for unnecessary crops = more poisons in rivers/sea =
more dead water systems
The list is endless, and the solution is stark in your face. TATA has 8000 hectares (= 20,000 acres
= 20,00,000 huge trees destroyed) of coffee in Karnataka alone, at least convert that back to
forest. Let smaller growers profit more. Sending an “SMS” about our whereabouts is NOT A
SOLUTION (we don’t want to kill nor get killed), but GROWING NATIVE FRUITING TREES IS.
Sorry for being blunt, but we are the ones who face the brunt.
- Govind G R (email@example.com)