A new research has confirmed what we always suspected. The Homo sapiens are not only bent on destroying themselves but also their ancestors- the poor simians whose only fault is that they like to live in close proximity to them.
A study in Washington has reported that monkeys in the Asiatic region have been found carrying variants of a type of virus that could cause gastroenteritis or diarrhoea.
The study conducted in Bangladesh and Cambodia has called for vigilance against the astro-viruses found in these animals that could also lead to diseases like nephritis, hepatitis and encephalitis.
However this report is dicey. It blames the animals for carrying these astro-viruses but does not take the next logical step of investigating whether only the monkeys living in close proximity with humans carry these viruses or other monkeys also which live in the forests.
The question become very pertinent in the context of the Asian countries like India because people here believe they are making offerings to their deity Hanuman when they go out of the way to keep them happy.
It is a common sight on the highways passing through vast stretches of of forests for monkeys lining up on the footpaths waiting for tourists travelling in cars and buses to throw out the remnants of their food like puris and cooked vegetables for them.
It is a miserable sight to find these non-human primates who were totally dependent on the trees and plants for their food supply earlier, to run like beggars behind the cars to get a share of the cooked food they have got used to.
It has not only turned the monkeys greedy but also lazy.
There are warning signs all along the highways that feeding monkeys is a crime but what is a little crime if it can get us the blessings of the Bajrang Bali.
No wonder a forest official in Uttarakhand had told me ten years back what these scientists have discovered now is that monkeys were carrying diseases normally associated with humans.
And the ungrateful researchers sitting in the University of Washington National Primate Research Centre are blaming monkeys for carrying astro viruses as if the poor monkeys cooked the food they were consuming!
Tomorrow someone in India will start blaming the cows in this nation of cow lovers for eating polythene because their stomachs have been found stuffed with these when we throw our food remnants in the open dustbins which is the source of food for the abandoned cows after they are no longer fit for milking.
By Amitabh Srivastava