Bengaluru: A BJP MLA in Uttarkhand was arrested recently for injuring a horse, Shaktiman, so badly that its leg had to be amputated. Contrast this with the love of the maharajas of Mysuru for animals.
One maharaja even named the main gate of his palace after his pet horse after he died, reveal historians. Even today, Mysureans revere horses.
They are the prime attraction during the torchlight parade on the last day of the 10-Day Dasara festival in the city and when last year, a horse of the mounted police died of a cardiac arrest while performing stunts in front of thousands of people , it was cremated with full police honours the next day.
In the past, the Mysuru royal family employed staff to look after the elephant, cow and horse in its care and the animals in turn bowed their heads to them as a mark of respect, claim historians.
Mr P V Nanjaraje Urs, an authority on the Wadiyars of Mysuru, says it was Sri Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar who named the main palace entrance after his pattada horse, Jayamarthanda , when it died.
It was also thanks to him that the older avatar of the mounted police, His Highness Maharaja Body Guards unit, was formed, according to him. “The Wadiyars had set certain conditions for selecting a pattada horse.
It had to be snow white and have a tail so long that it touched the ground. They never rode the horse as it was considered sacred. But it made an appearance during the Dasara festivities.
“This tradition has continued, but with some relaxation on the selection of the horse,” Mr Urs explains, adding, “Every rider of the mounted police today takes care of his horse just like he would of his son or daughter thanks to the tradition set by the rulers of Mysuru.”