Never a moment’s rest for Arjuna’s mahout Vinu

Never a moment’s rest for Arjuna’s mahout Vinu

Howdah elephant Arjuna’s mahout Vinu says, he never sleeps even when Arjuna takes rest in the forest camp. Vinu says he is always alert to protect Arjuna.

Vinu says, wild elephants may attack tamed elephants while they are resting. “Thus, I keep a watch over Arjuna while he is asleep. Arjuna is strong enough to handle any wild elephant, but it is difficult for him to manage if a tusker attacks him when he is asleep,” he said.

Arjuna was severely injured on his head in a wild elephant attack a few years back. The wild jumbo had attacked Arjuna when he was resting and the injury mark is still visible on his temple, says Vinu.

58-year-old Arjuna is preparing to carry the 750 kg golden howdah for the seventh time during the Dasara Jamboo Savari and Vinu will don the role of mahout for the second time. Vinu is hopeful of performing his role successfully. He says, “I had only 25 days last year and I successfully performed the job.”

Vinu took over the reins of managing Arjuna after the death of Dodda Masti in 2016. Dodda Masti was the mahout of Arjuna, who was captured at Kakanakote forest in 1968 in a khedda operation. Arjuna is housed in Balle Elephant Camp. Dodda Masti was the caretaker of the elephant till he died.