The recently-concluded 'Gaj Mahotsav’ in Delhi celebrated the Indian Elephant, an animal that is fast losing its habitat in India
The four-day ‘Gaj Mahotsav’ saw events dedicated to the elephant in art, culture, dance, music, film, literature, spirituality, ecology, media and policy.
This is an art installation depicting Airavata, the mythical 'vahana' of Lord Indra. Perhaps no animal occupies as prominent a place in Indian consciousness as the elephant. In many parts of the country, the entrances to people's homes are marked with icons or images of Ganesha/Vinayaka/Pillaiyar.
The reason for this is the ancient association between humans and elephants in India. From around the 3 century BCE, elephants were captured, trained and used in warfare. The capture took place in forests and because of this, from a fairly early period, some forests were set aside as “gajavanas”, where there was a death penalty for the unauthorised killing of elephants.
However, despite this long association, elephants in India as well as other parts of Asia have had to suffer greatly at the hands of humans. “Out of the 101 elephant corridors that we have identified in India, 33 per cent are facing encroachment,” says Sandeep Tiwari, Programme Manager, IUCN SSC-Asian Elephant Specialist Group.
This is an art installation showing the various elephant habitats in India. “The current range of the elephant in India is just 110,000 sq km, which is very small,” says wildlife historian Mahesh Rangarajan.
An art installation showing an elephant made from used plastic bottles.
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