PETA got its way this time.
There were no elephants at this years Jaipur Elephant Festival at Rambagh Polo ground and their absence was visible. Just a day before the festival the organizers had to bow down to the pressures of animal rights activities and call off all the arrangements relating to elephants. The festival over the years has been promoted well among the tourists. The Rajasthan Tourism and many private travel agents ride big money and hope on this festival and the evidence of this is that this is the only festival of Jaipur that has a properly designed and functional website and not to mention the SEO battle that the agents are into on Google. Considering all this, the decision to remove elephants from the event must have been a tough one for the department of tourism and a hard blow to the organizers.
Was PETA right? I don’t know.
I visited the festival for the first time last year and felt very sad for the elephants being pushed around, forced to do activities just to catch some eyeballs and most of all for the paints that was pasted on their bodies. Imagine what all those chemicals from the paints would be doing to their skin in the hot weather. What was even more shocking was how people turned a blind eye to all this. Following is the only picture I could take of the festival last year.
I am not going into the technicalities of the issue. People may have valid arguments to prove either side of the story. So, was the decision right or wrong, we leave it up to you to decide.
Enjoy some clicks from the Holi Festival 2013 (as it was renamed).