Dasara elephant Balarama to release his biography

Dasara elephant Balarama to release his biography

The cover page of Aane Banthondaane-Balaramana Gajapayana the Kannada version of Balarama's story-An Elephant's Journey.

Dasara elephant Balarama would release the Kannada translation of his biography ‘Balarama’s Story’ on the first day of Navaratri on the Mysuru Palace premises.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy would inaugurate the function on the main stage of Dasara festivities on the Palace premises at 7.30 am on October 10, while Balarama would release the book ‘Aane Banthondaane - Balaramana Gajapayana’.

After the book release, a dance ballet ‘Gajagowrava - Balaramana Kathe’, based on the book, choreographed by Veena Murthy Vijay, under the guidance of former Forest secretary A N Yellappa Reddy, will be performed.

‘Balarama’s Story - An Elephant’s Journey’, written by D K Bhaskar and Alladi Jayasri is inspired by the life of Balarama, now 60 years old, the famous Dasara elephant, which has successfully acted as the howdah carrier 13 times. Dr Nagaraj, the caretaker of Dasara elephants for 19 years, said, Balarama was rescued at Kattepura in
HD Kote taluk in 1987. He belongs to Thithimathi camp under Nagarahole forests, in Kodagu district.

A Dasara veteran, who has taken part in Mysuru Dasara for 23 years, Balarama is 2.70 meters tall and 3.77 meters long.

The book was released at Dallas, Texas, the USA, last month, during AKKA 10th World Kannada Convention. The illustrations are by Yati Siddakatte. It has been translated into Kannada by C R Naveen and published by the state Kannada and Culture department.

In his introduction, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar says, “The book highlights the importance of the elephant to the sub-continent and its traditions. The challenge is to maintain a balance between modernity and heritage. We need to see how we can give back to the elephants that have given us so much”.

Choreographer Veena Murthy Vijay said, the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru has integrated the worship of Durga, Chamundeshwari, Vanadurga and the royal elephant in their daily life.

“They have deep knowledge about the lives of the elephants and have played a major role in conserving, protecting and respecting these creations,” she said.

“Balaramana Kathe is the journey of an elephant’s life from freedom and wilderness of forest to the human habitats. It explains about the relationship between humans and elephants to young readers. Balarama grows up in Kabini forest and is rescued by the Forest department. He evolves himself to realise his spiritual energies by carrying Chamundeshwari in the Dasara procession. He compares his situations to that of Gajendra, the mythological elephant, who prays to Lord Vishnu when he was caught by a crocodile,” she said.

“Balarama meets mahout Sannappa in captivity. Sannappa and Balarama become inseparable friends. He learns to adopt himself to the discipline and human habitat living. He is inspired by Drona, the older elephant who carries Chamundeshwari on his back during Jamboo Savari. Finally, Balarama himself starts carrying Chamundeshwari and realises that he is the most fortunate being. His story can be an inspiration for all to achieve their dreams,” she said.