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Elephant in Myanmar society (1752-1885)
- The Dissertation titled, Elephant in Myanmar Society (1752-1885) is presented by dividing into four chapters, in which Chapter I deals with "Elephant in Myanmar mythology", and Chapter II describes "the Elephant in Myanmar Art and Literature" and Chapter III explains “Elephant in warfare”, while the last chapter expounds about the "Elephanteers in Society". It explains the elephant cult and how elephants are related with it. As Myanmar kings accepted the white elephant as the Buddha-to-be, the cult of white elephant was related with the lives of the Buddha. By the acceptance of textual conception that the white elephant brings peace and prosperity, the dissertation goes on mention that, how kings and people of Myanmar firmly believed in the white elephant cult,how they adopted the title of the White Elephant. But Chapter I describes the irony of how the possessor Kings of white elephant faced the imperialist wars. The kings manipulated the literature by incorporating the cult of white elephant into it, in order to expand the aura and the influence of the reigning king, by which made the ruling of the country easy. As the white elephant possessing kings encouraged, art, literature and sculpture that related with the white elephant, came to emerge and piled into a heap. Most literatures, that related with the elephant, eulogized how much the king was glorified. All these are described in Chapter II. In the days of Myanmar Kings, elephants occupied a central role as war fighters. The possession of many elephants, directly related with the power and glory of a king. The dissertation also explains how much the elephant was important in the relation between the king and his vassals and in the relations of the kingdom and other countries. The believed that they could win the wars if there were white elephants in their troops. The Kaleidoscope of the change of the usefulness of the elephant, as war fighters during Bagan Period, down to early Konbaung Period, the as goods producing animal in later Konbaung Period is mentioned in Chapter III. As the elephant has played a major role in feudal Myanmar, the officials and attendants to these elephants also played a crucial role in monarchical Myanmar. Society, socially, these peoples were enjoying many privileges. But their ups and downs was dependent on the attitude of the King and his mood,and how much he valued and regarded the elephant. These are described in Chapter IV. The dissertation ends by examining how the once important and reliable elephant in wars and the elephanteers, declined in when western imperialism predominated the country.