The image of injured Shaktiman, the unfortunate horse, who broke his leg during a rally in Uttarakhand moved many. But Shaktiman was fortunate because his pain got wide publicity and he gained lots of sympathy. But there are many friends of Shaktiman in the animal kingdom who are not so fortunate. They too are dealt savagely and they die a silent death.
Cruelty against animals is nothing new in India. And if the animal is a cow then the secularists, the left intellectuals, the leftist media try their best to justify violence against cow. The reason is pretty simple – Hindus worship cow and secularists abhor ‘Hindus’ and so they celebrate atrocity against cows.
In Mahabharata it is mentioned that ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam i.e.eating, sleeping, mating and defending are the common characteristics of both man and animal. What differentiate between the two is that humans have more evolved consciousness as compared to animals. As humans we can differentiate between righteous and unrighteous behaviour. Animals mostly act on their instinct. Their stimulus and response is intertwined. If we throw bread in front of a dog, it will ponce upon it. If a cat sees a rat then it will run behind the rat. But we as humans think before we do anything and so we are considered to be more civilized. Animals do not feel ashamed when naked but we humans do. Animals can urinate at any place, at any time, even while eating but a respectable person won’t. However many would argue today that such differences are gradually shrinking.
Since we are superior beings, so Vedic scriptures ask man to take proper care of animals. We are told not to inflict pain on animals. There are references in the holy books as how animals were well treated. In Ramayana it is mentioned that when a dog was badly beaten by a man who was a Brahmana then the dog came to Lord Rama to seek justice and got it. Srimad Bhagavatam narrates the story of King Bharata who saved the life of a baby deer. It is said that a ruler should not just take care of his fellow citizens who are human beings but should also take care of animals because animals are also inhabitants of his kingdom.
But it seems that as we are advancing technologically we are becoming more mechanical and we are soon forgetting our core values of compassion and care. The situation is worsening day by day. And this is evident with the number of slaughterhouses – both legal and illegal – which is increasing where animals are mercilessly butchered. Many think that animals are just meant to satisfy their needs, wants and desires. The law says that if animals become unproductive then they could be slaughtered. Although the poor animal might have served his master for years but since now they have become old or have got some disease they have become useless so could be killed. In fact the same logic is applied when children send their parents to old age homes because they start considering their old parents as burdens.
We can be called as humans only if we humanely treat others especially those who are weak and need our support for survival. Using others for our selfish motives make us worse than the animals. Animals too have emotions; they too have souls; they too long for love and care. They also want to live like us and not want to be killed in a slaughterhouse. They too cry like us when in pain and smile when in love.
By Purushottam Kumar