Gajotsavam, a month-long event to celebrate the elephant, will open in Fort Kochi on December 1. The idea is to create awareness about the pachyderm through talks, seminars, workshops, art exhibitions, live art production, cultural shows, and more.
“Through this project, we are trying to create a positive attitude towards the animal and to work with the government at the policy level for interventions in favour of the wild elephant,” says Sajan John, Coordinator Elephant Project, Kerala, Wildilife Trust of India (WTI). He also points out that the elephant winds up in conflict situations because its habitat is fragmented and it has to travel for its foraging.
Gajotsavam is part of the WTI’s Right to Passage project and will have different components. Gaja Gamini will showcase elephants in cinema through screenings and discussions of films on elephants. Gaja Sutra will be about elephants in media and Gaja Yatra about elephants in art. Airavata will showcase elephants in the Indian ethos and Malayalam literature, while Bala Gaja will have curated workshops for students on modelling, puppetry, and animation. Gaja Shastra will address issues of policy, advocacy, capacity building, and technology related to issues regarding the wild elephant.
Elephant-themed paintings will be displayed with artists painting or creating elephant sculptures on site. ‘aA aana’ will have cultural programmes every evening.
Gajotsavam will be held at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall in Fort Kochi from December 1 to December 31, 2022.