Elephants are one of many smartest and most powerful animals on the earth. It’s no marvel then that these magnificent beasts had been exploited and skilled to be brutal executioners. Loss of life by elephant is a type of capital punishment that has been used for no less than 2,000 years, significantly in India, but in addition in different components of South and Southeast Asia.
Execution by elephant was brutal and terrifying. In India, the place this type of capital punishment was often known as gunga rao , the accused was crushed to dying with brute pressure. However dying was not at all times swift.
Elephants had been underneath the fixed management of a mahout (elephant coach), who pressured the animal, by using a pointy steel hook, to hold out their instructions.
Illustration of execution by elephant from the Akbarnama, the official chronicle of the reign of Akbar, the third Mughal emperor ( Public Domain )
Underneath the management of a mahout, elephants may inflict a sluggish and torturous dying by crushing the convicted particular person’s limbs one after the other and tossing them in regards to the floor, dragging them, or stabbing them with their tusks, earlier than ending them off by crushing their cranium.
In neighboring Sri Lanka, elephants had been mentioned to have been fitted with sharp blades on their tusks, which might rip the felony to items. Within the former Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand), elephants had been skilled to toss their victims into the air earlier than crushing them to dying. Within the Kingdom of Cochinchina (southern Vietnam), criminals had been tied to a stake, while an elephant would cost into them, and crush them to dying.
The recognition of execution by elephant continued into the nineteenth century, and it was solely with the rising presence of the British in India that the recognition of this brutal penalty lastly went into decline.
Prime picture: Historic illustration of execution by elephant. Supply: Pixaterra / Adobe Inventory
Learn extra: Execution by Elephant: A Gory Method of Capital Punishment
By Joanna Gillan