For years before we met her and for the majority of her young life, Ganga has been chained by two legs off the side of a busy city street, unable to walk, lie down, or even turn around, held fast inside temple gates, utterly alone.
Kept without free access to food, water, or personal shelter and confined without another elephant for companionship, year after year Ganga has stood a solitary captive in the entry to the Gangarmaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In a few weeks, this all could change…
As unconscionable as it is to confine any animal in this way, perhaps even more so that such a cruel practice continues in the name of religion, ultimately it is only the judicial system that can alter the path of care for Ganga, and finally that system is hearing her story.
Literally! Yes, you read that right—not only will her case be heard in court, but in keeping with a system that requires proof to initiate change, Ganga will be taken by lorry to be seen in court—proving who she is while demonstrating her permit holder has confined her illegally at the temple, and that she has every legal right to be taken immediately into safe custody. Even though many of us believe it is morally wrong to confine her, now it can be proven that it is also legally wrong to subdue her at the temple, and THAT is what has the power to change her future.
Action filed on behalf of Ganga, and other wild-caught elephant calves held in illegal captivity since March of 2014, has been taken by the Center for Eco-Cultural Studies (CES). Since then, and working in tandem with a team of stakeholders, CES has successfully rescued other illegally captured wild-born calves, and remain steadfast in their commitment for not only Ganga’s freedom, but dozens of other young elephants, most of whom have forged documentation and false registration papers.
Nothing is for certain of course until it has happened, but every puzzle piece has been put in to place to enable what is right to transpire. No matter what happens on the 10th, not one of us will cease in our efforts until until she is in the expansive home that is already waiting for her, roaming among other elephants, every one of them unchained, until she can reclaim her rightful place in the world.
To the diverse advocates who have supported CES and Heart of Ganesh in these years leading up to the day that could change Ganga’s future (and those just like her whose cases are next in line), please remain kindly steadfast in your support and powerfully non-combative in your presence as the story slowly unfolds.
Although in the end it is the law that will decide what happens to Ganga, when all of our voices united in Compassionate Action become more prominent than the leftover voices of dissent, we will have created a world where Compassion Trumps Captivity. And not just for Ganga, but for them all, and truly, for each one of us as well.