The mahout

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“By a sweet tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant with a hair”
(Persian Proverb)

A mahout is a person who drives and look after an elephant.

The word mahout comes from the Hindi words mahaut and mahavat, derivatives of the Sanskrit word mahamatra, which means ” having great measure.”A mahout starts very young, usually at about ten years old, when he is assigned an elephant early in its life and they would be attached to each other for the rest of the elephant’s life.

The training of a mahout is similar to a family business, passed down from one generation to the next.
The art of training an elephant is gradually becoming extinct as the job of a mahout is extremely difficult.

This portrait was shot in Udaipur (Rajasthan) where I saw a beautiful “haathi” (elephant in Hindi), which was not making any noise, it was huge and walking in a narrow street with many shops.
Everybody around was smiling, elephants always give happiness to people.
On this image the mahout stands under his haathi’s trump and tusk.

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