On the outskirts of Jaipur is located the so called "Elephant Village". Here handlers live with their elephants, that give tourists rides to and from the Amber Fort. Forced along during the day by metal prongs, and confined to a small stone enclosure at night the animals live in far from ideal conditions. On the other hand they provide income, food and resources to the trainers and their families in an economy that is rapidly changing. How could the elephants conditions be improved? Could and should their handlers adapt if the animals were to be taken away? These are hard questions to answer. India is a country that has long been thought of as "exotic"or "mystical" by the West. During my short time there I saw a society of unimaginable diversity confronting issues and challenges of immense complexity that defied the generalizations that we can become too comfortable with. Despite all this standing in the presence of one of these creatures the subtle flap of their ears, or twitch of their trunk conveys a sense of humanity and personality, and an uncomfortable feeling creeps in at the prospect of their exploitation.
Keep an eye out for more of the photos from this trip, which I will be posting in the coming week.