Composite graphic image of a street dog looking supremely frazzled with two blank speech blurbs around him

A (Street) Dog Says “Thanks”

Thank God I’m not eaten in this country.

Thank God I’m only

Abused, Chained, Lashed,

Pelted, Kicked, Thrashed,

Trampled upon, Driven over,

Tied my tail up with a firecracker,

Caught for sterilisation, but returned to a different locality,

Caught, but returned with canine teeth broken so that I die gradually,

Caught, but never returned,

Caught, and (especially in Kerala) culled.

Thank God I’m not eaten in this country.

Wait, is Nagaland included in this territory?

This is perhaps the snarkiest piece I’ve written on my blog. It takes a hit at several issues:

  • Beef/Meat-eating (ban and killing): There’s a raging debate in the country over eating beef, as the cow is regarded a sacred animal by the majority community, and the right-wing party at the Centre is trying to bring many of its ideological sentiments (such as vegetarianism and Sanskritization) to the fore. There has been a call for a beef/meat ban during certain religious periods in some cities/states. Recently, a youth of the minority community was also killed on the suspicion that he was consuming beef during this period. (It later turned out to be goat meat. Ya, that absolves everything – on both sides.)
  • Not killing ≠ Caring: Many people think that as long as they are not killing animals, they are not harming animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I sometimes think it’s better to kill (and eat) that poor animal rather than keep it alive but as your slave in various ways.
  • Culling: Recently, the Kerala government decided to mass-cull street dogs to protect citizens from bites – and was throughout criticised for this, by citizens and politicians alike – but went ahead regardless.
  • North-East Indian; Non-Indian: Finally, there is that eternal issue of how people from the North-East states of India (including Nagaland) are viewed by people from the rest of India as more Chinese (or sympathetic to the Chinese) than Indian, due to their proximity to that country and their physical features. In fact, the North-East (where dog meat is considered a delicacy in some parts) does not come under the radar of most people and governments alike when they talk about the country and has not developed at the same pace as the rest of the country. So, now, what hope do people from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep have?
B&W photo of a woman hugging a cow

Voices

We say animals don’t have voices,

So, we never know what they are communicating.

We only hear a ‘Coo’ or a ‘Moo’ with pauses,

And then go, ‘Hmm, wonder what they are thinking.

But what does it take to understand the long, trembling bleat

Of a goat at the butcher’s, before she’s taken apart –

Knowing the A, B, Z of their alphabet…

Or listening with your heart?

Light filtering through tree at daybreak

Responses

The day breaks.

The koel responds with a melodious “Kooooo…”

The myna with the more modest “Ku-ku…”

The crow, secure from comparisons, pipes in with “Caw…”

The parrot takes off, then goes, shrilly, urgently, “Squawk…”

The human, sliding the snooze button, lets out “Ugh.”

Illustration of people lashing at a horse pulling a carriage

From Karma to Dharma

If we explain away

Clubbing fur seals,

Skinning ermines,

Harpooning blubber whales,

Trophy-hunting African animals,

Trading rhino horn, elephant ivory, tiger penises,

And closer home –

Eating “domestic” animals,

Milking cows through drugs to disease,

Performing safety tests on rabbits,

Whipping ox/bullock/horse on ploughs,

Stripping sheep of wool,

And even the less obvious,

Chaining pet and “guard” dogs,

Caging “pet” birds,

Keeping and needling animals in zoos,

Making them perform in circuses,

Fishing, angling, whatever,

By saying, “It’s their bad karma they were (re)born as animals”,

Then, imagine

The horrors that await us

In our rebirths.