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|The Jungle Book character|
Hathi as illustrated by W. H. Drake in the 1895 edition of The Two Jungle Books
|First appearance||"Kaa's Hunting"|
|Last appearance||"Letting in the Jungle"|
|Created by||Rudyard Kipling|
Hathi is a fictional character created by Rudyard Kipling for the Mowgli stories collected in The Jungle Book (1894) and The Second Jungle Book (1895). Hathi is a bull elephant that lives in the jungle. Kipling named him after hāthī (हाथी),(ہاتھی) the Hindi and Urdu word for "elephant".
Hathi is head of the elephant troop. He is one of the oldest animals of the jungle and represents order, dignity and obedience to the Law of the Jungle. Hathi is famed for his patience and never hurries unnecessarily. In "How Fear Came", he tells the jungle animals' creation myth and describes Tha, the Creator.
In the story "Letting In the Jungle", Mowgli reveals that Hathi once destroyed a human village in revenge for being captured, and persuades Hathi and his sons to do the same to Buldeo's village as punishment for threatening Messua with execution.
In the Disney film, the character of Hathi (voiced by J. Pat O'Malley), like the other characters in Kipling's Mowgli stories, is greatly transformed and becomes a comic character. He is called "Colonel Hathi", and he leads his wife, Winifred Hathi (voiced by Verna Felton), and his son, Hathi Jr. (voiced by Clint Howard), in a marching patrol similar to an Army that is so loud it makes some of his herd want to "transfer to another herd" while singing a deliberately silly song authored by the Sherman Brothers entitled "Colonel Hathi's March".
The night after Mowgli is hypnotized by Kaa, Col. Hathi and the Dawn Patrol patrol the jungle and wake Mowgli and Bagheera. When Mowgli comes to investigate, he tries to join with help from Junior. After the patrol, Hathi inspects all of his elephants. Once he reaches Mowgli, he thinks of him as a new recruit. But after Mowgli talks back to him, he realizes that Mowgli is a human being and accuses him of infiltrating the Dawn Patrol. Bagheera comes to stop the fiasco. After Bagheera promises to return Mowgli, Hathi quotes the saying, "An elephant never forgets". But as they march along, Winifred tells Hathi that he left Junior behind. When he goes to fetch him, he forgets to tell the other elephants to halt and they all crash into his rear end.
Later in the film, Bagheera finds Hathi and asks him to find Mowgli, for he has run away. Hathi refuses, saying that the herd was on a cross country march and that Shere Khan cannot be found for miles (the irony is that Shere Khan is actually only yards away listening to the conversation). Hathi's wife, Winifred, gets furious with Hathi and tells him to find Mowgli, threatening to take over command of the herd if he refuses. Hathi still does not listen. However, when Junior tries to convince his dad to find Mowgli, Hathi immediately agrees to find him, claiming that he "had a plan in mind all the time." After he organizes all of his elephants, they start the search. Shere Khan then decides to start looking for the man cub by himself.
Colonel Hathi returns in the Disney sequel The Jungle Book 2 in which Jim Cummings provided his voice. He and his herd first appear to help Bagheera prevent Baloo from getting into the Man Village, but he slips past them by swimming underwater. Bagheera has the elephants search the water, but they fail to catch him. When Hathi steps onto the log bridge connecting the village with the jungle, Bagheera tries to warn him that he's too heavy for the log, which breaks under his feet, causing Hathi and Bagheera to fall in the river. They are seen again later on, fleeing from the villagers, who are in the jungle, searching for Mowgli, Shanti, and Ranjan, who had run off into the jungle the previous night. Bagheera overhears this and knows Baloo must have something to do with the children going missing.
Disneyland Paris originally featured a restaurant named Explorers Club, themed to famous explorers. This is a colonial house in the jungle, decorated with many artifacts from all over the world. In 1995, the restaurant was renamed Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost, with new meals specialising in a wide range of pizza and pasta dishes.
- Hathi is a major character in the anime series Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli where he is the king and enforcer of the Law of the jungle. Like in the stories, he has 3 children. However, one change is that Chil the Kite is his messenger.
- Hathi does not appear in the Disney Channel show Talespin, but he is one of the main characters in the spin-off Jungle Cubs, where he is voiced by Stephen Furst and Rob Paulsen.
- Hathi is also a major character in the 2010 TV series. Here, he has 2 children named Appu and Heetah and a wife named Kachini.