Published: 23rd September 2021
#ThrowbackToday: When will trains stop mowing down the gentle giants?
With sorrow, in today's #TBT, we recall one of the many instances where elephants were killed by speeding trains on the railway tracks. Why is this such a common occurrence in India?
If we say 'Five died on the spot while two succumbed to injuries much later', how would you react? Would your reaction be much different if we say we are talking about elephants?
There have been countless incidents where trains have mowed down these gentle giants ruthlessly and nothing has changed from September 23, 2010, to now, when a train ploughed down six elephants on the tracks at Moraghat Tea Garden, Binnaguri, West Bengal. Is your heartbreaking? Now think about those elephants who stood vigil near the tracks, long after their relatives deceased, to protect the dead and the living. Environmentalists and wildlife activists have protested aplenty but nothing has changed.
As per the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, 186 elephants have been killed on railway tracks over ten years. Assam saw 62 deaths followed by West Bengal (57) and Odisha (27).
Up from the ashes
It's hard to imagine this now, but when, on September 23, 2002, Mozilla Firefox's first public version was released, called Phoenix 0.1, it gave the veteran browsers like Internet Explorer a run for its money. Back then, "customizable toolbar" and "reasonable default settings" were touted as a few of its best features. Remember that era?