Before we get all romantic about the noble Indian, I would remind the previous poster about childhood slavery, breaking rocks, and the inhumanity of a strict Caste system!
Indian Elephants are smaller and a sub species of the Asian elephant.
In addition, two extinct subspecies are considered by some authorities to have existed:
The Chinese population is sometimes separated as E. m. rubridens (pink-tusked elephant); it disappeared after the 14th century BC.
The Syrian Elephant (E. m. asurus), the westernmost and the largest subspecies of the Asian Elephant, went extinct around 100 BC. This latter population, along with other Indian elephants, were considered the best war elephants in antiquity, and found superior to the smallish North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaonensis) used by the armies of Carthage.
Despite its popularity in zoos, and cuddly portrayal as gentle giants in fiction, elephants are among the world's most potentially dangerous animals. They can crush and kill any other land animal, even the rhinoceros. They can experience unexpected bouts of rage, and can be vindictive. In Africa, groups of young teenage elephants attack human villages in what is thought to be revenge for the destruction of their society by massive cullings done in the 1970s and 80s.  In India, male elephants attack villages at night, destroying homes and killing people regularly. In the Indian state of Jharkhand, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004, and in Assam, 239 people have been killed by elephants since 2001. In India, elephants kill up to 200 humans every year, and in Sri Lanka around 50 per year.