Cry, Gem of our Motherland | Daily News


Cry, Gem of our Motherland

May I as a citizen of one of the most resplendent countries of the world endowed with Gods or natures most abundant spread of beautiful plants and animals – both with or without backbones say something about our precious Elephant and contribute my mite on a method of protecting them.

From time immemorial our beloved elephant has been the unchallengeable mascot of our Motherland. Our heritage will lose its lustre without this gentle giant. Can we forget the fierce battle between Noble King Dutugemunu and a very just king Elara on their fearless Elephants. How Kadol, the elephant of King Dutugemunu kept a pebble in his mouth to remember an injustice done by one of the King ‘Yodayas’. Later this Yodaya saves Kadol from a beautiful ‘Lodiya’. The grateful pachyderm throws out the pebble. Absolute gratitude makes it to forget the past. It is what the legend says. The elephants never forget.

British Government Agent

The elephant has been hunted and mutilated by you know who. 70 years back my late mother, who happened to be the spouse of media attached to the Polonnaruwa hospital had written to the British Government Agent a very ‘thought provoking’ letter on the wanton massacring of these four footed giants by men and by the trains. This gracious Englishman had visited the hospital bungalow and had said that he was touched by the contents of the letter.

Next he had said that the British did go on hunting sprees but had never killed elephant and that she should draw her own conclusions. In my mother’s letter these had said that consuming beef, mutton, pork and poultry flesh bought from stalls maybe permissible but she had asked how the most exalted created being chose, ride or run after a defenseless wild animal and kill with a “tally Ho’ or ‘get him. He is shivering under those dry leaves.” Early man hunted for food. Modern man takes pleasure in ‘killing’ not hunting. They say that even the lion never takes a sleeping preys.’ The officer had turned to my father. “Doctor, you walk into the jungle at night to save lives. I have, I admit ventured into the night to kill deer, wild boar. Today, I promise you, never will I eat such flesh or go on any hunting trips.” My parents had been proud. They had been the best of friends thereafter. I was then three years. They told me this story when I was 14.

Apart from our domesticated pets, the bovines and the horse, which other animal has been so close to us than the elephant. It has been conditioned to carry our ancient monarchs and above all walk most gracefully and stately amidst a multitude of human beings, standing on the sides of roads, sound of whips, drums, flutes, nagasalams, lighted flare carrying the casket bearing the relics of the Enlightened Buddha and other deities with their bodies covered by an array of illuminate bulbs. Nature has so thoughtfully given them two tiny eyes compared with their size. What if this mammoth had eyes to go with its size and had been a non-vegetarian? Yes! even mother nature or God had a soft corner for these gentle giants. Has there been any occasion where little children have been harmed by them. There was an incident when a rampaging elephant had by passed a blind homeless person in Piliyandala.

Can any other quadruped – say – the giraffe, leopard, lion be let loose in an arena with shouts by adults and children?

Wild Life Department

Our lovely elephants have thrilled us at the Dehiwala Zoo with their dancing and acrobatics. I can remember a true animal lover par excellence. Zoo Director Aubrey Weiman of yore offer a banana to the performing artistes after the show. I can remember reading a newspaper article about a speech made by Pakeer of the Wild Life Department. At an international gathering he had said. Quote. I come from a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. But may I present to you our largest and most valuable asset. Next he projected our Hero on the screen. A standing ovation to the speaker end to the one on the screen.

Man’s lust for luscious lives, greed, show of pompousness have made the African Rhino and the elephant to die to die most brutally.

How many of our elephants have been butchered by our people. There have been times, when three humans score ‘bulls eye’. Yes three shots in the forehe.

Status symbol

At times tusks are wrenched out before they close their eyes in death. It is indeed a riddle why the pulled out appendage of a living creature should be status symbols. In mansions, and on either side of a person lying on a bier. Why? Would not a lovely spiral of natures resplendent gift to us – the flower – be more sagacious.

Can we ever forget the hordes of elephants crossing the road near. Ampara (Galaha) airport. They cross over unconcerned about the hundreds of vehicles parked close to the “Elephant Walk”. Then the Lahugala elephant domain. We never get tired of happily watching elephants, whether they are at pageants, eating, bathing or being bathed or just walking. Old or young, we humans never ever get fired of watching the darling specimen of mother Lanka. Mother Lanka must be shielding a tear in seeing her most consummate of beings trying to annihilate one of her most precious gems.

Will the electric fences solve the elephant-human problem. Never, we know that the fence would more a couple of metres towards the sanctuary. Their domain could and would get smaller and smaller while the votes of politicians, and may be their bank accounts get fatter. Man has been given a superior brain and an emphatic and sympathetic heart. We kill them, maim them electrocute them. Some of these crimes are committed by of all people ‘vegetarians’. How many elephants have died because of our “hakkapattas’.

Some of us will remember the film ‘Elephant Walk’and what happens to the mansion built on the path of the elephant walk.

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