Temple Elephants of Kerala: What is Brewing?

via Panchajanya published on September 24, 2015

Anyone in Kerala will have a story to tell of a cherished memory with an elephant. It is said that a true Malayali can identify elephants just by looking at it. As a person who grew up in Kerala, I can testify how the intelligent, gentle and majestic pachyderm has been an integral part of life in Kerala. That is exactly why the article by Liz Jones in Daily Mail caught my attention. From title to the last paragraph the entire narrative is a highly exaggerated version filled with fantasy, obviously with a sole aim of tarnishing Hindus and temples of Kerala in particular.

Fortunately, a group of noble hearted nationalist Indians exposed the bluff. Prem Panicker of Peepli.org, famous wildlife photographer Kalyan Varma and Researcher Sreedhar wrote open letters rebutting this manufactured piece of atrocious literature. These exposures were not only rebuttals but bought to the forefront a well-planned conspiracy against temples of Kerala, hatched by Church with the help of few ‘animal rights’ terrorists.

Shocked by these exposures I searched in depth about the sudden love of Westerners for Indian pachyderms and chanced upon profoundly shocking information. Numerous pages sprouted in social media depicting Hindus as elephant torturers. Some even took racial tones calling Kerala as a land of animal torture. Usual suspects are Frontline, The Hindu, New York Times etc, which have published articles, depicting ‘gruesome tales’ of ‘abuse and torture’ endured by tuskers from a barbaric pagan population.

Catholic Church funding fraud NGOs to target Temples

A PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was filed by a Bangalore-based Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC) in the Supreme Court to ban the use of elephants in South Indian temples.

An NGO which hasn’t filed returns since 2010 continues to keep alive it’s registration! (FCRA Reg.No: 094421012 – http://fcraonline.nic.in/fc8_statewise.aspx). This organization which has not filed tax details for the past 4 years files a PIL seeking ban on the use of temple elephants.

Now comes the juicy bit!

The foreign money received by WRRC includes funding from CRS, Baltimore to celebrate National events. CRS= Catholic Relief Services. http://www.crs.org/

CRS is the official overseas Relief and Development Agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops- effectively, an official arm of the Church.

The same has been exposed by Nikhil Narayanan via Twitter:

UK link

Apparently, WRRC, Crystal Rogers Animal Welfare Trust, UK, and CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) released a book “ Gods in Chains” written by Rhea Gosh in 2005.

The same CUPA published research study about temple elephants, conducted by Surendra Varma of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in 2009, which was funded by World Society for Protection of Animals, UK.

Incidentally, CUPA and WRRC are run by Suparna Bakshi Ganguly who co-authored the report submitted by Animal Welfare Board of India in late 2014, which is being used by activists who call for a ban of temple elephants. It is at this juncture that a totally biased article in UK media appeared, followed by numerous petitions and social media campaigns by Western activists. This further point towards a well planned conspiracy involving leftist Indians and Hindu hating Westerners.

Targeting Kerala and Guruvayur Temple in particular

Almost at the same time when Suparna Ganguly visited Punnathurkota (elephant sanctuary of Guruvayur Temple) in 2009, a Canadian journalist, Sangita Iyer also visited the place, where after being touched by the “torture suffered by the elephants from barbaric natives”, she decided to make a documentary for Western audience, so that they could help her in saving the animals from ‘Evil Hindus’. Then onwards, she has been crying for elephants and collecting money to make a documentary, which might become a career break for a journalist whose previous fancy, was ‘suffering, battered women of misogynistic Hindus’. Coincidentally, this film is titled ‘Gods in Shackles’.

She describes her film as follows:

“‘Gods in Shackles’ is a feature-length documentary film, an exposé revealing the darker side of the Indian state of Kerala’s glamorous cultural festivals that exploit temple elephants for profit in the name of culture and religion. The film is near completion, and is set to be released during Fall 2015. We call this film ‘Gods in Shackles’ as it features the embodiment(s) of Lord Ganesh?—?a Hindu God with an elephant face?—?that are being tortured in the name of culture and religion.”

In an interview, Sangita Iyer said that she learnt about the “plight” of temple elephants from Mr Varma. In her spree to collect more funds and broaden publicity for the movie, she even asks for boycott of Guruvayur Temple in Kerala.

Suparna Ganguly is the same person who conducted research, financed the publication of literature, organised campaigns against the practice of using elephants in temples, accepted money from church organisation and approached Court for banning Hindu temple practices citing her own set  of arguments, framing them craftily as ‘expert opinions’. How can this not be read as a planned assault on Hindus on behalf of Western Church elements?

The author doesn’t have any opinion that everything is bright and shining with respect to elephants in Kerala. Part of the problem stems from government bodies like Devaswom Board taking over the management of temples and running the same like any other public sector corporation. Elephants are integral ingredients of not only temples, but an emerging part of church and mosque festivities as well.

Wrapping up

The current hue and cry is nothing but targeted campaign against Hindu temples and the
international portrayal of India as a land of animal torturers is
malicious and wholly agenda driven.

The solution to the issue of ‘temple elephant torture’ is NOT a ban on temple elephants; but solid work within the Hindu-fold, persuading temple authorities to usher in reforms and develop the sanctuary as a model of elephant care.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available


  1. Mankad Reply

    October 16, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Great article
    Excellent expose on the clandestine agenda of uncouth priests and the church establishment. Keep up the good work. United We Stand.

  2. Vilasni Reply

    November 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Another Iyer traitor! Why do these renegade Hindus who have rejected everything related to the faith of their ancestors continue to retain the names? It is not going to add to their credibility for everyone knows that they are not Hindus anymore, in any way, that they use their name and background only to betray everything it stands for.

  3. Anna Reply

    October 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Who would ever dare to mistreat gods? No god fearing human would even think about it.Kerala rich culture should be saved from foreign interference whic tends to portray Indian elephant owners as rascals mistreating elephants beyond imagination

  4. Gowthamraja.P Reply

    October 12, 2016 at 12:19 am

    I support for these fack idiots I affected wrrc cupa I sended my elephant Aneesha last year for treatment purpose but till date they can’t treatment properly I’m not satisfied i wrote letter june that same lady Superna ganguly not respond till date.,
    I asked when u return back my aneesha there is no answer but they r begging social media please donate aneesha like that it’s not good

  5. Herne Reply

    November 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Hi! I watched Sangita Iyer’s documentary Gods in Shackles recently. Have you watched it? This point that you are raising of these guys being funded by Christian organizations and targetting native practices deliberately was something that hovered in my mind too. But after I saw the documentary, I struggled a lot, because if the doc was true, no matter who made it, we as Hindus really are hurting our elephants and much much reform is needed … we show glaring apathy to the natural needs of the elephant and keep them in dingy conditions – IF the documentary was true. I personally thought it was made sensitively and with the pure agenda of exposing the inhuman practices done in the name of God. I read your twitter timeline and saw Christians are doing it too. So the point isn’t which community is doing it – if it is true and it is happening then we must be very very ashamed for causing these gentle giants so much pain. I was afraid of this very thing…that this Iyer and gang could have certain funding, certain political leanings…if they have made the film with the intention of attacking Hindu rituals, may they be adequately unsuccessful. But if they did it with genuine love for our now endangered Asian elephants, I say may they be successful…because what I saw in the documentary was downright unnatural and distressing. That is why I am asking, have you watched the documentary and can you perhaps verify or nullify its claims?

Latest Articles from World Focus

Did You Know?