By N. Arunkumar
Friends, I am a diehard animal lover. I just cannot bear to see any animal being ill-treated or subjected to bodily pain. I almost feel that type of pain within me when I see an animal being treated cruelly by anyone. I know, there are many others like me out there in this world. We had been taught to love animals and not hurt them, right in our nursery classes and some of us have retained those values taught to us when we were toddlers learning our first ABC’s and words. Animal love is indeed a very captivating practice among those who love them. There have been some very poignant stories about animals and their masters, captured in books and films as a part of our heritage of relationship with our wordless friends. Those stories have often moved us to tears and left lasting images of poignancy deeply etched within our minds and hearts. Animals are fascinating. They are coexisting with us in this universe and are our counterparts, living just like us but in different environmental realities, facing diverse challenges in comparison to us. All the same, they face challenges just like us. And, also feel pain intensely, like us.
I have been prompted to write this piece today, after seeing a particular cat in my neighbourhood. Now, this cat was actually abandoned by its previous owners when they went away from here, without even telling us neighbours about it. The cat was left pitilessly to live on, on its own and search for its own food. We were there to help of course. My wife took it upon herself to provide it with our leftovers, and it gratefully accepted whatever we provided for it and also began to depend on us completely, in no time. Gradually, the cat became a part of our neighbourhood and many other families also pitched in for its welfare. It began to adjust to its changed realities and harmonised with all of us equally. Soon enough, this cat also found an emotional cushion in another feline and they were a happy couple to look at.
This feline belonged to another area and yet used to be seen gyrating with our black one often. One thing led to another, and presto they had their litter of kittens following them mewing and meowing all over the locality. The brood followed their mother devotedly during their nursing and toddling days. A couple of years have gone by since this family has been in our neighbourhood. However, one afternoon, tragedy struck this cat family. A pack of dogs attacked the feline and she was killed instantly. The black tomcat has been searching for her ever since. His search of course will not yield any results, and we know it.
In recent days, this tomcat has begun to wail like a baby, and to me it sounds like as if he is crying for his beloved. It is a heart rending cry. Throughout the day, he keeps crying and people tend to drive him away from their sight using various standard means to do that. Some even go to the extreme extent of using their catamarans on him and seriously injuring him. That is how I saw him yesterday. He was limping as his left hind leg was soaked in blood and his ear was also bleeding. Evidently someone had found their target while aiming at his head and intending to put him to sleep. However, he escaped from that obviously, and came back with this serious injury. As soon as he saw my wife, he ran towards her, limping painfully and when she saw him do that and his condition with bleeding from the ears too, she was also almost in tears. The tomcat had run towards her, perhaps for some solace and help to overcome his agonizing situation. It was a pathetic sight to see him in so much pain.
I direct this piece to all those people who tend to treat animals with merciless intolerance. When pain is inflicted on any animal, the experience is the same as with every other animal. Man, who considers himself as a sophisticated being is also an animal. When man experiences pain, he can react to it in various forms. However, wordless animals are incapable of expressing their predicament of pain and have to deal with it in the only way they know…tolerance. They can do nothing to alleviate their difficulties in dealing with it and have to live with it in a submissive mode. Please, let us be considerate and live up to the calibre of human beings and perform our duties towards our speechless counterparts with a little more dignified grace. They deserve it in this life time just like we do, as it is not their mistake if they are born as such animals. Nature has its own holy plan in creating them for our existence too. We depend on them for our ecological balance as they perform a specific task to maintain the equilibrium of our world’s ecosystem. If we are heartless to them and treat them with inhumanity, we lose our qualification as superior beings who take responsibility for our own actions. We must have a better way of treating animals and that is nothing but compassion. We treat others like we do not want to be treated otherwise. It is as simple as that folks. Next time you decide to slaughter any animal using the most painful means you can use, be careful. It could come back to you one day with equal ferocity. It will come back, as a matter of fact.
I have seen some animals being slaughtered in the most inhuman of ways possible. The method of piercing a thin spear like bamboo through the rectum while the poor animal writhes in awful pain and the cry that it produces to go with it is the worst sight to see. When I saw it happen, the people doing that to it seemed to enjoy the gory sight of it without batting an eyelid either. It was horrific. And, I moved away from there with a deep ache in my chest, wondering how men can be so heartless towards the dilemma of poor wordless animals. I even had a silent tear welling up in my eyes at the sight of the tragic death of the poor animal. It was meat for the butchers, but the manner of its death was beyond the dignified that we must dare to accept. I know, we have no laws or PETA and things like that here in Manipur. It is unethical to even have any such organisation to protect the animal rights in a place like ours, where we love to gorge on flesh as food. But, have a heart folks. Have a heart! They don’t need us to cry for them, but have mercy in your treatment towards them…yes…they want that. Kill them and eat them by all means; however you could always exercise some degree of moderation when you butcher them. Please….!