43 out of 86 MGP 2016 Students Appeared for their first Interview in CSE 2016. ForumIAS MGP 2017 ADMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN

ForumIAS MGP 2017 New Batch Admissions Plan Details and Admission Links are now ACTIVE, along with our performance of MGP 2016 in terms of conversion into interview calls for Mains Appearing Candidates.Click here to join NOW!

Why is India called as 'Elephant'?

Generally in matters pertaining to international relations, foreign affairs and diplomacy, the news columnist rarely mentions the name of the country and keep on using the word such as 'Elephant' for India and 'Dragon' or 'Red Dragon' for China. Moreover, there is also a book based on India's foreign relations - 'Does the Elephant Dance?'.

I searched about China and came to know that they are called dragons because dragon is their ancient symbol and is supposed to bring glory to their country. Their flag colour is also red. So, we coin it as red dragon. (Corrections and explanations are most welcome)

But I don't know why India is called 'elephant'? Please let me know. If possible, then please also mention such names for other countries as well?

Thanks a lot.

·

Comments

  • Elephant can't run so does India. Especially in reforming the organisation structure and also w.r.t economic reforms. For example when many countries transformed in 1970s to market oriented economies however India took 20 more years for the change. So the analogy i guess.... :-B
    CSM-2014
    CSM-2015
    ·
  • I guess it has more to do with the animals most associated with the nation. If you think of India (as a foreigner) your mind might conjure up images of kings and elephants. Often in the Indian press you see the Royal Bengal tiger being used to symbolise India - an allusion to the nation through the "national animal."

    China, due to its cultural association with the mythical dragon, if often referred to as the same. Red dragon - red for communism. Again China has been quite aggressive for quite some time, akin to a hot-headed fire-breathing dragon. Hence to use.

    Basically, it's used as a creative instrument to spice up the story / headlines. Which sounds better -

    -Does the elephant dance? -or-
    Does India dance?

    -Chinese troops have been squatting on Indian soil for weeks now. -or-
    The red dragon isn't budging - still occupies Daulat baagh oldie.
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
    ·
  • @Doon_20 It seems @KD123 is right in his/her guess but explains only half part of the analogy.

    "When India instituted economic reforms in 1991, analysts dubbed it the elephant economy. India, like the elephant, was slow, but when it moved, others had to sit up and take notice."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/04/05/indias-animal-economics-is-the-country-an-elephant-a-tiger-or-maybe-even-a-beehive/
    "For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know." - Sucker Punch
    *********************************************************************************************
    ·
  • I would like to add, that the animal symbolism varies with the context. India might be an elephant when it comes to the matters of economy and might be a tiger at times of war/sports/etc.
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
    ·
  • @ArindamSarkar yah definitely context is important, but don't you think it's not about the arena but the way we're performing in the arena decides how we're depicted? I mean no one is going to call a losing Indian cricket team as a tiger, but if we're winning we're tigers; and if we go full throttle on economic reforms, The Economist might run a story titled 'The Elephant reincarnates as a Tiger'!!
    "For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know." - Sucker Punch
    *********************************************************************************************
    ·
  • Indian diplomacy, a veteran told Shashi Tharoor many years ago, is like the love-making of an elephant: it is conducted at a very high level, accompanied by much bellowing, and the results are not known for two years (gestation period of elephants)-- Extract from Pax Indica
    ·
  • edited September 2013
    @DanielCraig I would think so. But such usage would not be set in stone. On losing, the tiger can "go home to lick its wounds" and the winning elephant could, ostensibly, be portrayed to have "crushed its opponents."

    If we are to talk economics, then I personally feel animal analogies are a forced coaptation. Bulls and bears in the markets are all fine; may be even a lumbering "cow" of an economy producing a "Hindu rate of growth." But the resurgent elephant or a triumphant tiger of an economy always sounds like a stretch to me - to be frank. I personally would not like to use or see them. But if we go by the WP article and talk in context of the article, it ought to be fine.

    Just for the sake of completing let me list out the animals from the WP article (and otherwise) you linked to:

    - Snakes and snake-charmers - Negative stereotype due to geopolitics. May have had a bit to do with VKK Menon as the HC in London and the centre-of-left pro-USSR stance of India back before liberalization.

    - Elephant economy - (As mentioned) Lumbering giant with great potential and impact. Describes India of the time of liberalisation. Nothing to do with geopolitics.

    - Tiger economies - Other fast-growing Asian economies. Some that India could become or aspire to be (or beat).

    - Tiger as India - The military power; as opposed to the dragons and lions and hyenas all around.

    - Mouse charmers (as opposed snake charmers) - IT and TIES people (computer mouse)

    - Beehive - The great Indian philosopher RaGa's views of India's work culture. (hope you catch the cynicism)

    - Headless chickens - Ronen Sen's views on the Indian media ("mistook" for comments on MPs)
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
    ·
  • @ArindamSarkar , @DanielCraig , @KD123 , @ramesh729123

    All my dear super bosses, thanks a lot for providing me with lot of insight.
    ·
  • edited September 2013
    On an unrelated note, I wish to seek your guidance:

    Whether the book by Ram Guha - 'Makers of Modern India' will cover up the following topic of GS Paper-1:

    1. Contributors from different parts of the country (in context to freedom struggle)
    2. Post- independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

    @ArindamSarkar , @DanielCraig , @KD123 , @ramesh729123 please reply.
    ·
  • edited September 2013
    @Doon_20
    I've read Makers of Modern India, and like almost everything written by Guha, it is a very well curated and organised book.
    While it may not comprehensively cover all the thinkers and makers who have EVER contributed to the freedom struggle and Indian democracy since, it covers most of the more important figures and some not-so-important ones as well. But be warned, it does not read like a textbook and is actually a collection of excerpts from the original writings of these figures, with some contextual information presented by Guha.
    It will definitely not suffice for "Post-indepedence consolidation etc.".
    "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
    ·
  • @Doon_20 - Haven't read it. :P
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
    ·
  • @Doon_20 same with me. Haven't read it. I am reading three books for "history" by Bipan Chandra,
    1. History of Modern India
    2.Indian struggle for independence
    3. India Since independence

    For contributors i am noting down names of prominent persons from these books and making notes about them from wikipedia ( neutral source ).
    For consolidation:- India since independence would work B-)
    CSM-2014
    CSM-2015
    ·
  • edited September 2013
    On an unrelated note, I wish to seek your guidance:

    Whether the book by Ram Guha - 'Makers of Modern India' will cover up the following topic of GS Paper-1:

    1. Contributors from different parts of the country (in context to freedom struggle)
    2. Post- independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

    @ArindamSarkar , @DanielCraig , @KD123 , @ramesh729123 please reply.
    Hi, I have read parts of Makers of Modern India relevant to certain section for my optionals- Pol. Science, and found it very helpful understanding the psyche of our "makers of modern india" specially the part on Ambedkar was pretty amazing, I liked the way he criticized Gandhi. Though he himself remained one of the most controversial leader of modern india. Having said that, the purpose for which you want to read this book won't give you much bang for bucks. You may want to try R.Guna's India After Gandhi or Bipan Chandra's India since Independence for part 2, and either spectrum or India's struggle for independence for part 1.
    ·
  • @ArindamSarkar What books are you referring for geography in GS-1 ?
    CSM-2014
    CSM-2015
    ·
  • @ArindamSarkar What books are you referring for geography in GS-1 ?
    That's a huge list since GS-1 is huge to begin with. I'll finish off NCERTS / NIOS / IGNOU first. That should keep anybody occupied for a couple of months. I haven't decided on other books yet. I'll start next year's prep in Jan-Feb. Busy with my optional / PGMEE now.
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
    ·
  • @ArindamSarkar What books are you referring for geography in GS-1 ?

    That's a huge list since GS-1 is huge to begin with. I'll finish off NCERTS / NIOS / IGNOU first. That should keep anybody occupied for a couple of months. I haven't decided on other books yet. I'll start next year's prep in Jan-Feb. Busy with my optional / PGMEE now.

    :-bd \m/
    CSM-2014
    CSM-2015
    ·
  • IMO buddha was symbolised as 'Elephant' by Mahayana sect of buddhism. As the desciples internationalised Buddhism , hence other countries have mentioned India as elephant, one among many other names in their oldest texts.
    Enjoy the hard work.
    ·
  • Actually according to me the reason should be this : The first emblem of the constituent assembly was Elephant because of its gigantic structure.... And followed by the above said reasons by few too...
    When they say you can't do it, it definitely means you have to do it!
    ·
  • I think because Alexander the great feared the elephants of india!
    ·
Sign In or Join to comment.

Welcome!

We are a secret self-moderated community for Civil Services preparation. Feel free to join, start a discussion, answer a question or just to say Thank you.

Just dont spread the word ;)

Sign in or join with Facebook or Google