World’s oldest Asiatic elephant, Assam’s Bijuli Prasad, will push up the daisies as he breathed his last in the early hours of Monday, August 21st. The ninety-year-old male pachyderm had been a living relic who had lived through India’s transition since the British regime.
With a life spanning over the pages of history, the world’s oldest Asiatic elephant lived a life befitting its prestige. The name “Bijuli Prasad” was bestowed upon the majestic elephant by a Colonial aristocrat named John Oliver in the same fashion as numerous ‘titles’ got endowed upon elite Indians under the British regime.
Bijuli Prasad got revered as a symbolic figure in the Behali Tea Estate of the Williamson Magor group, Sonitpur District of Assam. He was a senior member of the Magor Tea company and got treated with similar dignity. In 1968, he was purchased by the Borgang tea company, where he served until 2018 before the Behali tea estate took him in.
Diet of Bijuli Prasad
With two keepers nursing him daily, Bijuli Prasad feasted on a lavish diet comprising 25 kilos of Rice, equal portions of corn, and Ceci beans, with several nutritious fruits dedicated to keeping the 4000-kilogram giant in good health. The company never economised upon the hefty expenses and spent approximately INR 6 lakhs annually to protect his longevity. The onlookers always asserted that the giant never exhibited any sign of aggression and had a soulful bonding with his colleagues.
The company took immense care of Bijuli Prasad and carried out his routine health assessment, which included monitoring his weight and tracking his appetite weekly. Veterinarian Dr Kushal Konwar Sharma scrutinised the elephant’s health, and under his command, comprehensive health reports reached the company’s headquarters in Kolkata.
As a team of doctors examined his corpse, several age-related complications surfaced. For the staff serving in the estate, the memories of Bijuli Prasad got eternally etched into their hearts as a gentle giant who patrolled the periphery of the estate as a guardian angel.
The world’s oldest Asiatic elephant and a living relic of India’s modern history was perhaps more humane than many biological humans combined!