1999, Kerala, India
Plate 79, 27x18
Elephants are, again, a curiosity of India. This shot was taken in the eastern part of Kerala in an Indian national park set up for the protection of animals. The poaching in these preserves tells the story. With animals, India thinks and talks one way and lives in a totally different way. These great, gentle fellows did much work for India over many centuries. Most of the payback is a bullet in the head. Part of the work that had been done by the elephant is now done by machine, and yet a narrow meadow, a stream, a tree or two might be a more appropriate place for this gentle
friend of India to be retired.
I wonder the judgment of human and animal if nature would judge and not man; man organizing to kill and the animals eager only to live. Auschwitz was not about killing to eat. No animal brings forth an organized group with the sole and only task of imposing death on another group, much less his own group. Only humans have cast their nets so low.
The chain was to keep the elephant right there. Without the chain, they would wander and fall victim to poachers. This way it seems the killing of the gentle vegetarians was more organized, more efficient. In this sense, the chain did not do long term harm.