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Wild Elephant Antics and Broken Tusks


Male elephants are solitary by nature, having been driven away from the rest of its herd, when they reach puberty. This is called 'natal dispersal', and is a mechanism that has evolved over the millennia to avoid (a) inbreeding with relatives and (b) competition with kin. After that they lead a nomadic life, sometimes associating with other senior bull elephants ‘to learn the ropes’ of survival and eventually being ready to claim their own female for reproduction.

On reaching full maturity, bull elephants, especially the Asian species, come into a state called "musth", in which their urge to mate goes into overdrive and they become very aggressive.

During musth, males are flooded with up to ten times as much testosterone as usual. They have swollen temporal glands: swellings bigger than a grapefruit that stick out behind their eyes. They are also extremely aggressive, and discharge an almost continuous dribble of urine that creates a scent trail as they walk. The famous elephant researcher Cynthia Moss calls it "a kind of Jekyll and Hyde transformation".


Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny


I recently contributed a comment on Toni Morrison’s The Origin of Others. Subsequently, the above-mentioned work by Professor Sen came to mind: what follows are a few points from his book. Page reference is to the Penguin Books edition, 2006. To ...

Why meat eating will lead to water riots


In India, there is a term in the Irrigation Department known as "dark area". This means a place where there is no point putting a tubewell as the ground water has fallen below 500 feet. Over the last 10 years, more and more areas have become ...

You have now entered the age of absurdity:Be very afraid


SHOPKEEPER: "Will you be paying by credit card, EPS, Apple Pay, debit card, Google Pay, Bitcoin or sacrifice of your first-born?"ME: "Uh, do you take cash? No? Okay, I guess it’s one of the kids, then."Life is so complicated ...

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