Mahouts help preserve old wisdom

The mahouts in Amer, the former capital of Rajput rulers of erstwhile Jaipur state, undertook a project to collect and preserve traditional medicine and recipes left by their ancestors to cure the elephants. The mahouts and elephant owners carefully preserved rare materials in form of hand written books, loose papers and manuscripts.
‘’Most of the material is in Persian, Urdu and Nagri languages. So we assigned a local person to translate it in local language aiming to use it in healing the elephants,” says Amer Elephant Owners Association president Abdul Rashid. According to Mr Rashid there are 10 such families of mahouts having such rare collection. “The material is not in good condition but it is a treasure trove for mahouts and elephants owners,” he added.
The mahouts said they still use such recipes and therapies suggested in old books to cure ailments of pachyderms. Mahout Shahid Khan owns seven elephants and said such books or loose papers of traditional medicine are carried from generation to generation. “I found a dozen such books in poor condition. I immediately decided not only to preserve it but also to share the knowledge with fellow mahouts,” Mr Khan said.
The capital of Kachhwahas for six centuries, before Jaipur came into existence, Amer is symbolised with elephants and becomes a major tourist attraction. Over 100 elephants are in use to ferry the tourists to historical Amer fort that stands on top of a range of craggy hills.

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