Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
cordially invites you to a Public Lecture
in the ‘Science, society and nature’ series
at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, 1 May, 2013
in the Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building
'Elephant, empire and ecology in ancient India'
Prof. Raman Sukumar,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
The elephant rose from the status of a supreme animal, Gajatame, in early Buddhist India to that of a supreme god, Ganesha, in Hindu Indiaby about the 4th or 5th century. In spite of a rather turbulent relationship with people through history, the elephant has also been widelyrevered across the cultures of south and southeast Asia. This talk traces the unique elephant-human relationship from the ancient Harappancivilization when it is believed to have been first tamed, through the use of elephants in the armies of major kingdoms and empires, to itsrise to supreme godhead in the medieval Hindu period. It also discusses the role of the elephant in the rise, sustenance and eventual declineof the Mughal and the British empires. It concludes by providing sociopolitical and ecological interpretations as to why the largest landmammal was accorded sacred status in Asia, though not in Africa.
Prof. Raman Sukumar is Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.