Cruelty with animals under the umbrella of tradition.

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated – Mahatma Gandhi

Surely, we respect Mahatma Gandhi but not what he respected. People who do not show gratitude towards animals will soon turn the whole nation in an abattoir where the whole civilization will be slaughtered just because our culture and tradition will remain eternal excuse for us.

In the backdrop of animal cruelty in India in the most visible forms, under the lights of Jallikattu, bullock cart races, cockfights etc., India can altogether be witnessed as the worst habitat for animal and bird species. Right after the first ban on Jallikattu and bullock cart races imposed in 2006 in the form of a judgment of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, a flood of similar cases has arrived both in the high courts and the apex court. Every such case culminates with a glaring tussle between the law and so called tradition.

Jallikattu case is no exception. Right from 2006 to 2017 and continuing, more than 10 years have passed away and despite of repeated denials by the Hon’ble Supreme court, the centre and Tamil Nadu state government have succeeded in putting up a great companionship in using the backdoor of ordinance way to make the conduction of Jallikattu possible in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India. Though temporary, this great show of friendship shows how much ‘Supreme’ is the Supreme Court and how much our government acknowledges its decisions. In 2014, in a revolutionary decision taken by the Supreme court in the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) vs A Nagaraja case, the Supreme court banned Jallikattu in India citing the following reasons:

The court, based on extensive documentary evidence provided by the Animal Welfare Board of India, concluded that jallikattu, during the conduct of which the bull is forced to do something that is not part of its innate nature, was “inherently cruel”. The evidence provided showed how the animal was tortured just before it leaped out of the “Vaadi Vaasal”, the entrance of the jallikattu arena where hundreds of men stand to jump on the bull and hold its hump. The bulls were fed alcohol, chili powder was rubbed into their genitals and they were constantly poked with sharp weapons. This forces the bull to “take flight [leap out and run]”, which in nature happens only when it is extremely agitated.

Jallikattu is also “unnecessary suffering”, as against killing an animal for meat which is an essential act.

The Supreme Court also refused to accept that jallikattu was Tamil tradition.

“Even the ancient culture and tradition do not support the conduct of Jallikattu or Bullock cart race, in the form in which they are being conducted at present. Welfare and the well-being of the bull is Tamil culture and tradition, they do not approve of infliction of any pain or suffering on the bulls, on the other hand, Tamil tradition and culture are to worship the bull and the bull is always considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Yeru Thazhuvu, in Tamil tradition, is to embrace bulls and not over-powering the bull, to show human bravery. Jallikattu means, silver or gold coins tied to the bulls horns and in olden days those who get at the money to the bulls horns would marry the daughter of the owner. Jallikattu or the bullock cart race, as practiced now, has never been the tradition or culture of Tamil Nadu.”  

 

Any custom or usage irrespective of even any proof of their existence in pre-constitutional days cannot be countenanced as a source of law to claim any rights when it is found to violate human rights, dignity, social equality and the specific mandate of the Constitution and law made by Parliament.”

Jallikattu is dangerous not only to bulls but also to humans participants and spectators sustained serious injuries at all three jallikattu events. A total of 58 participants and 56 spectators were injured in the three jallikattu events. One police constable was also injured in Avaniapuram.

Bull is a calm and placid animal which does not agitate until being hurt or provoked. How it can happen that as soon as doors of vaadi vaasal are opened, the bull drives into the frenzy of pain and fear and run amok. Proofs and evidences have been provided by PETA and AWBI in form of videos and pictures from the jallikattu event taking place in various parts of Tamil Nadu which aggravates the severity of cruelty. This brutality has claimed the lives of more than 40 bulls till now as per the figures provided by AWBI. In 80% of the cases, more than 3/4th of the outer pinna of the bulls was cut apart in order to facilitate hearing of noise coming from the back of the animal, which causes plethora of pain to mute animals. Which of these practices is coherent with the five freedoms for animals as provided by the Supreme Court on 7th may 2014?

i)  Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition;

ii) Freedom from fear and distress;

iii) Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;

iv) Freedom from pain, injury and disease; and

v) Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior.

The Prevention of Cruelty on Animals (PCA) Act has been a toy for the government; it amends it depending on its mood and most importantly, depending on elections. In 2011, UPA-2 government banned the use of bulls as performing animals, but in order to win both hearts and votes of people in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections 2016, NDA government amended 2011 notification, allowing jallikattu and bullock kart races across Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat with specific conditions about which no one cares. The recent ordinance by the state of Tamil Nadu which was passed with the support of central government shows how sensitive the government is for the sake of safety of animals.

Certain challenges have come in the way of banning jallikattu. The hardships which will be faced by the ones who nurture bulls for this event should be clearly addressed and compensated by the government, also the government should put efforts in order to preserve bulls as in case jallikattu is banned, no one will be there to nurture bulls that could lead to their extinction. Bulls play extremely vital role in producing offspring and without their presence, government will have to import bull semen from other countries as it has previously done in Gujarat.

Cruelty offsprings from weakness. Let us wish people would soon realize that animals are totally dependent on us, helpless, like children, a trust that is put upon us. Animals have no voice of their own, so we have to be that voice.

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Bhakts or haters, who will win

From last two years, people in the country can clearly be seen divided either in extreme favour or against PM Narendra Modi. Their talks and thoughts have become Modi centric. India now witnesses division of people on the basis of ‘Modi Bhakts’ or ‘Modi haters’. These two classes are brand new and irritating too! The most interesting fact is that even in a family too, this discrimination is clearly evident. People of any family are divided when it comes to Modi and that is producing an altogether different picture of Indian society. There arise some very crucial questions which need to be answered.

Who are Bhakts and haters?

‘Bhakts’ as they are said notoriously, are the ones who are believed to be the blind supporters of PM Modi. They are supposed to accept and support each and everything Modi or BJP says and every policy/law formulated by Modi government seems to be a ‘shloka’ from Gita to them. They declare every policy of Modi government incorrigible without careful and unbiased examination just because it is formulated by their almighty. They do not spare any platform to celebrate any successful or unsuccessful policy of the Modi government, appreciate any step taken by government, they trend right from twitter to facebook to roads and are sometimes nasty to handle.

On the other hand, haters are the part of that herd of people who refer to themselves as ‘intellectuals’. They seem to be the only ones who want to save mother India from the wicked assaults of monster Modi. Alike bhakts they also can be seen anywhere, be it facebook or twitter, to overtly oppose any policy of Modi government, that too not by unbiased critical examination but just because of their personal hate or disguise they share with Modi. These haters face constant atrocities and altercations with bhakts in a futile battle to prove Modi right or wrong.

Why this trend has got a buzz?

The trend of hate or blind faith in the prime leader of the country is not very new, in fact, in the backdrop, other leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi and others also had to face this contrast from masses but now due to the advent of social media platforms, people feel free to express anything and everything which strikes their mind and almost eleven crore Indian population can react to it(this is the number of Indians active on social media platforms), making social media a hot site for both Bhakts and haters. Moreover, besides social media, the extremism is served by political parties and their activists themselves. They trap many innocent people in bait of penny and on their behalf spread whatever is in favour of their respective parties. Many instances of paid news, tweets and posts on social media could be noticed and a sniff of support by political parties is evident of the fact that it is political parties and their leaders behind the curtains who are happy go lucky with the extremism going on in the country.

In search of other probable reasons, we cannot ignore the fact that after an eternally long time, finally people have got a PM to talk about. His precedent, who reigned for ten boring years was actually not enticing to people because he did not talk too much, neither he boasted too much, moreover he was inarticulate and lacked independency as complained by people. Modi has got every feature which titillates bhakts and at the same time is repugnant to haters. He is the most verbose leader world has ever seen which arises the feeling of extremism in people. One more reason which cannot be overlooked is that after thirty long years, any political party was able to clinch full majority on its own, that too not because party leaders had improved dramatically, but because of its PM candidate. So it is obvious that the huge support behind him was provided by bhakts and that support is astir even today. It seems like the ‘bhakti’ and hate is going to continue at least till 2019.

What comprises of Bhakts and haters?

Actually, Bhakts and haters are new evolution but their gestation goes back to the time when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, his stint as Gujarat CM for twelve and a half years has shown his capabilities as a leader and the development that has allegedly taken place in Gujarat in those years has attracted many ones. Those supporters in these years have grown more violent, more supportive than ever and after his aggressive campaign in 2014, many have transformed from supporters to bhakts. These bhakts includes activists of BJP, hard core supporters of Modi, haters of congress and Rahul Gandhi, also the ones who live in dreams are Bhakts!

Talking about haters many people who think that the defaced side of Gujarat at the time when Modi was CM has not been properly shown, those who still cannot recover from 2002 riots and think they happened because of Modi, those who think Modi is a dictator, supporters of political parties other than BJP and specially supporters of Aam Admi Party have reserved their seats in hater’s quota.

Nowadays, many eminent personalities, many film stars and prize winners have supported or rejected Modi because of his strict and bitter decisions; they have accused him of being affected with overconfidence and ignorance of others.

Keeping religion as a point of view in mind, Hindus have particularly supported Modi more than people belonging to any other religion and they are the ones who have much hastily transformed in bhakts, other minorities and Muslims in particular have turned their back to Modi because they have conception in their minds that Modi cares more about Hindus in particular. Earlier they opposed Modi but they are haters now.

Should one be either Bhakt or hater?

Bhakts and haters show intense feelings and they are emotionally driven. They are full of emotions, not thoughts while they discuss any policy of Modi government. They support and oppose any policy by government just because Modi is included in it, not on its merit. Amidst of this entire tumultuous contest, they have forgotten their nation. They have forgotten that nation is greater and more important than a person. They listen to any policy, any decision by the government with biased perception. People have lost rational arguments and are just finding ways of how to make their opponents run out of words. They are chuffed with verbal victories, not logical one. They have become aggressive, lost their modesty which has affected their thinking and critical analysis of any policy of government. Moreover they have become intolerant of any other’s views and are not ready to even listen to others. They use word play, vulgar and every other thing they must not do. People should understand that leaders will come and go, parties will win and lose but the nation is a constant entity.

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