Saturday, August 17, 2013

Animal attitudes

I find it amazing that cows, dogs and pigs can jointly rummage through garbage bins on streets. With their noses deep in the muck, even I, an animal lover, would call them all filthy. Yet, most of us Indians would worship one animal, spurn/kick the other and shun the third. What makes us call a cow holy though the milk it gives us is produced after it has chewed through the remnants of cellulose in her own waste?  If we see a hog doing the same, we wrinkle our noses in disgust. When a cow strays near our homes, we either feed her or chase her away. Even in our denial, we are reverent. But if we have a pack of stray dogs begging for our attention, then most of us either ignore them or even pick up a stone or two to throw at them. A friend from abroad, on her visit to India, marvelled at the kind of freedom animals in India enjoy. In no country in the West would they be roaming around the streets as freely, even holding up the traffic, she had said. And yet, in a country which is 'so liberal', where its four-legged citizens may make their homes anywhere, our attitudes towards our fellow beings are deeply ingrained with prejudices.   

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