Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE)
Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute
I was amazed and moved by the courage shown by its author Sangita Iyer. She loves elephants, yet despite the emotional pain she suffered when she saw the abuse meted out to them, she forced herself to visit as many of the temples as possible to record and expose their pain to the world.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Elephants are self-aware, conscious beings. They can feel and grieve the loss of both elephants and humans. But despite all the empathy that elephants shower on humans, we continue to inflict pain and suffering on these caring, sentient beings.
In 2013 Sangita Iyer visited her childhood home in Kerala, India. Over 700 Asian elephants live in Kerala, owned by individuals and temples that force them to perform in lengthy, crowded, noisy festivals, abusing and shackling these animals they claim to revere for tourists and money.
When Sangita found herself in the presence of these divine creatures and witnessed their suffering first hand, she felt a deep connection to their pain. She too had been shackled and broken for too long-to her patriarchal upbringing in India, to the many “me too” moments in her work life that were swept under the rug, to the silence. Now she would speak out for the elephants and for herself. And she would heal alongside them.
This sparked the creation of her award winning documentary of the same name and a new purpose in this life for both Sangita and the elephants