Elephant In The Room: Tracing The Path Of The Gentle Giant Through Indian Culture

Posted: February 2nd, 2016

The seeds of my elephilia were sown when I was a child, with elephant toys, and stories from Babar to Rudyard Kipling’s “Toomai of the Elephants”. When I began my study of India as an undergraduate learning Sanskrit, I was intrigued by the elephant imagery in courtly literature. Women had the gait of an elephant (gajagamini), thighs like elephant trunks, and breasts like an elephant’s head bumps; while men were like mountain-raging elephants. I also became enchanted by Ganesh, not so much for his cuteness, but for being simultaneously human, animal, and divine.

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