MAN VS WILD: CONFLICT? OR CONQUEST

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

forget.

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

Ghats, remember??

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

floods

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 (govindgr@gmail.com)

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