However, in the past centuries, when monarchy was ruling the roost, man came up with all kinds of cruel methods to punish the criminals, thieves, traitors, etc. Among them, the most bizarre one is the use of jumbos to put a man out of life - a gory way of ending a man's life. It is much worse than the Guillotine invented by physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (proposal was made on 10 October 1789), who himself became a victim. In this case, the death is sudden, in a jiff every thing is over. Punishing a man with trained jumbo is something disgusting it shows man's inherent cruel nature he inherited from his ancestors - the hominoids who are violent by nature in their habitat.
|condemned prisoner being dismembered by an elephant in Ceylon. Illustration from An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon by Robert Knox (1681).en.wikipedia.org|
In India, centuries ago, the practice of using elephants to punish criminals was in vogue. Mention is made of such practices in Manu Smriti or Laws of Manu, written in 200 AD. It states that if there is theft, the thief should be punished by using elephants.
Execution by elephant was a common method of capital punishment followed by many kingdoms in South and Southeast Asia, particularly in India and such execution was public in nature. During the Mogul period, it was a common method of execution. Asian elephants were skillfully used to kill criminals / traitors by way of crushing, dismembering, or torturing. When the Europeans came to India, and saw this gory punishment, it was simply an harrowing experience for them. This bizarre practice was suppressed by them during the colonial rule.
In the European continent, in particular, when the Roman were in power, Lions and bears were used as executioners. In the case elephants, they can be trained to execute captives in a variety of ways. An elephant is trained to prolong the agony of the victim by inflicting a slow death by torture or can cause quick death by stepping on the head. Emperor Akbar, it is recorded, used the power of the elephants to chastise the captives and if they were cooperative, their lives were spared.
In the Delhi Sultanate in 1305, the execution of prisoners of Mongols was carried out on orders from the Emperor. It was done by trampling upon the victims by elephants in public.
Captain Alexander Hamilton, writing in 1727 mentioned that once Shah Jahan ordered an offending military commander to be crushed to death by an elephant. He said it was a shameful act. Likewise Mogul ruler Humayun had an imam crushed to death by a jumbo. Reason: The Imam was critical of his rule. For some Mogul rulers like Jahangir, it was an sort of live-entertainment to see men taken apart by the jumbos. The French traveler François Bernier noted with disapproval that some of the Muslim rulers derived immense pleasure out of such cruel punishment undergone by the captives. The Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta, visiting Delhi in the 1330s, mentioned at length about this cruel execution, using trained elephants by the Moguls. Some Maratha rulers as well used the elephants for punishing the criminals. Among the Indian rulers, there were many crazy rulers who would throw the people to the jumbos just for a trifling offense.
|Louis Rousselet described this execution in Le Tour du Monde in 1868en.wikipedia.org|
|Execution by elephant en.wikipedia.org|
In Indonesia (earlier Siam) and also in Burma (Myanmar) elephants are used as a means of capital punishment; also in the kingdom of Champa in Indonesia, elephants were trained to throw the victim into the air before stomping them to death.
One John Crawfurd British Ambassador in 1821in the kingdom of Cochinchina (south Vietnam) witnessed the execution by elephants. Criminals were tied up in the wood, and an elephant would run towards him and stomp him to death.
As for the West, they were not far behind and in Roman, Carthage, and Greece Macedonia and other countries execution by elephants was in vogue. As many criminals, including war criminals, lost their lives under the feet of the jumbos as they were by hanging.
Perdiccas, a merciless leader in Macedonia, was a sadist he had had punished 300 rebels by throwing them on the elephants, which just trampled their bodies to shreds.
According to a Roman writer Valerius Maximus, General Lucius Aemilius Paul Macedonicus had the soldiers trampled underfoot by elephants if there was a breach of discipline or rebellion.
|fork-lift operator? www.cartoonstock.com|