uncontrollable crowds! Everyone wanted to see the Gemini Circus, at Park Circ
us in Calcutta.Tickets were booked three weeks in advance. Badnasheel, a businessman based in Calcutta, was inspired on seeing the massive crowd and huge collections this circus was enjoying during their Dussehra shows. He commenced the Rayon circus in 1976 with a huge investment. He couldn’t run the circus for more than six months. It faced closure and still he continued to feed the employees and animals. He approached M.V.Shankaran and beseeched him to helphim in this crisis. M.V.S was moved on seeing the pitiable situation of the employees and animals. They were on the fringes of life, with death staring in their faces. During that critical period M.V.Shankaran bought this circus. He was inspired by the Jumbo Jet which was newly introduced during that period. Thus was born the Jumbo Circus. The first show was inaugurated by Brigadier Pathania, at Dhanapur in Bihar on October 2nd 1977.
The original Jumbo was a very large African elephant born in 1861. He was captured and later imported by a Paris Zoo. He was transferred to the London Zoo in 1865. He was kept at the Royal Zoological Society. Because of its extraordinary size it became the pride of England. P.T.Barnum wanted to own this elephant. He adopted a cunning method to fulfil this objective. The Director of the London Zoological Society was influenced by Barnum. The Director warned the Zoological Society Secretary that the elephant was likely to have rut, and it would be difficult to control. The pleasure rides on the elephant were cancelled and he was confined to a well-guarded place for better security. In 1882 Barnum approached the Secretary and bought the elephant for $ 10,000 He was given a month’s time to take away the elephant. The sale of the elephant was big news and the British media came out against this. They felt that the elephant was as much a treasure as the house of William Shakespeare. One lakh school children wrote to Queen Victoria not to allow Jumbo to be taken away to USA. But the final verdict in the Court was in favour of Barnum and thus Jumbo became a part of Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Jumbo was eleven feet tall and weighed about seven ton. His enormous size alone was enough and so he didn’t do any tricks. He just walked around the ring in front of the audience. He alone was rested as an exclusive parade animal. He was given royal treatment as he travelled around North America in a special red and gold train car. Barnum made huge profits by exhibiting this elephant. Jumbo’s image was used to advertise products like threads, baking powder and laxatives. Jumbo even became the name of a colour that was known as Elephant grey. In 1885 Jumbo was accidentally struck by a freight train. Barnum claimed that he had lost his life trying to save a tiny elephant. A story which brought tears to millions of Jumbo lovers. A media hype was created and so eventually the skeleton was given to the American Museum in NewYork city. Meanwhile the word Jumbo lives on, used to describe anything larger than average size.