There were some queries re two items of interest that I posted on the page…
Re elephant tusks and tushes and referring to a tuskless male as “pussa” ( ref my post re the elephant sighted at Sinharaja Rain forest )
– Yes “pussa” means useless in a round about way. Generally tusks are associated with masculinity, and an elephant with tusks is considered very strong and high up on the social hierarchy. Tushes are sometimes mistaken for tusks but, most often they do resemble a set of small tusks.
Therefore a male elephant with tushes would still be perceived as a reasonably masculine animal. On the basis of the same argument, a male elephant without tusks or tushes would be perceived as a relatively less masculine animal and hence, the word “pussa” is sometimes used.
In India tuskless elephants are called “mahknas”. It will be interesting to see what it means in Hindi.
The use of mounted elephant tusks at Sri Lankan Buddhist funerals…
Vertically Mounted elephant tusks are apparently used in funerals ( placed on either side of the body) and also at some marriage ceremonies I am told to signify respect, wealth and well being, which is supposed to be an ancient Sinhalese Buddhist custom that is practiced. However, since elephant tusks are a rarity now, apparently funeral undertakers now use artificial tusks carved out of some expensive wood and painted white. ( I am thankful to my friend Jayantha Jayawardene who furnished me with much of this information)