Our film has magnetized passionate elephant enthusiasts including world renowned scientists, researchers and cutting edge thinkers. I have put my life's savings into this project and now we want to include you in our mission to complete this film so we can share this message of hope for our endangered Asian Elephants.
This is a movement aimed at bringing forth justice and peace for elephants, while enhancing their living conditions. Every one of us can play a significant role in creating a just society where humans can coexist harmoniously with all sentient beings, as they are part of our miraculous web of life.
We call this film Gods in Shackles to portray that the embodiment(s) of Lord Ganesh - the very God that people in India worship - are being tortured in the name of culture and religion.
All four legs shackled; handlers seek shelter beneath elephants from scorching sun This video still filmed at Trissur Pooram reveals sad tales of torture & neglect The welfare of captive elephants in Kerala is beyond anyone's comprehension, as neglect and abuse of these intelligent animals have resulted in hundreds of deaths within just three years. A report in Kerala's daily, Malayalam Manorama says, in 2010 there were 750 captive elephants, but by 2013 the numbers had declined to 360. Post-mortem reports suggest they died of kidney, heart, and lung infections. Twenty-four captive elephants have died so far in 2014 and 65 elephants are missing, according to our sources in Kerala. So what's going on? Such dramatic reduction in numbers is pushing the elephant owners and brokers to overuse the available elephants in festivals, depriving them of their basic necessities for water, food, rest and shelter from the scorching sun, as they are transported from festival to festival in trucks.
During the May 2014 Trissur Pooram our camera crew was pushed and shoved as we tried to capture shots of blind elephants, the ones with serious leg injuries, and ulcerous growths on their body that reveal Kerala's captive elephants are tortured, neglected and exploited for commerce in the name of culture, but actually for human entertainment.
There are over 3000 festivities in Kerala between December and May, most of them displaying ornate elephants. They are forced to carry more than 1000 Kilos of weight on their back, including the deity, ornaments, massive chains, and 3-4 men, and stand beneath the scorching sun with all four legs shackled. The image above. portrays the wounds and infections from crude rusted shackles.
Massive crowd in such close proximity to the elephants, a recipie for disaster
This video still shot portrays the world famous festival "Trissur Pooram," as millions of people, mostly drunk, are dancing and singing in such close proximity to the elephants. These elephants are decorated with heavy caparisons as seen in the photo above. The central elephant is carrying a massive gold plated portrait of their deity, as these animals are forced to stand for hours on end, all four legs shackled in hot and humid weather conditions.
Deprived of their basic necessities - water, food, and rest - these elephants are transported from one festival to another, so the temples, owners, brokers, festival organizers, elephant handlers and all stakeholders can make profit. During the peak festival season the elephants are leased out (like cars) for as high as Rs. 80,000, approximately $1,400 USD per day, generating more than $100,000 USD between December and May every year.