Dogs                       

On the occasion of Women’s Day, it might appear surprising to see an essay on Dog. Believe me, I had no interest in dogs till some of my close ones started taking interest in some street dogs. And I have no idea when I too was roped into the whole ‘dog business.’ But I remember before finding myself on the lead of the whole affair I did feel disturbed when out of the five puppies in our street one died in a road accident, the other two owing to some epidemic. The remaining of the two, one who was not so badly hit and the other whom my children called Scooby would have also died but for my niece’s timely assistance.

Deepa Prem Kumar is known for her selfless service towards the animals. And she is authorized by the Animal Welfare Board of India which is under Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India to take care of animals. The moment I communicated to her the symptoms she told me the exact disease’s name over the phone. She immediately suggested some medication and gave me the number of some NGO. They were prompt and next thing I saw was the dogs were put on drip.

We were told that two to three days of medication will help them recover and they did. Seeing the happiness on my children’s face I could also not help feeling overwhelmed by our success.

And in the morning when we saw them walking alive on the street, our joy knew no bounds. That was because a day before, considering their condition, they could also have met the same fate as their other siblings but for the timely help given to them at our end; for a moment we felt like being no less than ‘Gods to the Dogs.’

Gradually, one might call that either through ‘lateral entry’ or something else, the three dogs have ended up becoming part of our family. And I found myself enthusiastically preparing ‘chapatis’ for them along with the ‘chapatis’ for other family members, despite my more than hectic schedule. Orders from the grocery shop now includes dog food as one of the items.

Three stray dogs have now become topic of our discussion. And in just matter of a few days, we have now switched on to watching movies where dogs are on the lead! My husband saw a popular movie called ‘Togo’ a biopic made on real brave dog and urged that all of us should see it. That we did and couldn’t help shedding tears at the end.

Since time immemorial, Man has befriended dog. And in return for just a piece of bread, the animal is known to shower loyalty forever. That’s one reason why dogs are ‘trusted’ as ultimate when it comes to ensuring security of VIP’s, the final approval rests on the dogs. It’s ironical indeed that man hides bombs to kill another human and it is an animal that deters that action and works to protect the human world.

Few years back, dogs prevented a robbery bid. And only recently a dog came in protection of a woman and foiled a rape bid.

Old saying goes that without knowledge man is like an animal. But seeing the behaviour of dogs vs some of the erring human beings, there’s an urgent need to reconsider the old saying! The dog goes to no English or Hindi medium school yet seems to know very well when to use his canines!

He may not be aware of another old saying ‘Yatr nari poojyante tatr devata vasante’ yet comes as a sole saviour in the world of humans when a man attempts to lay hands on the integrity of a woman.

Nirbhaya and yet more Nirbhayas in line, Hathras incident yet another Hathras incident, Corona or no Corona, rapists are found to live in their own world. Amitabh Bachchan, yester year Hero, may not get tired of pouring in the ear, day in and day out ‘do gaj ki doori, hai bahut zaroori’ but it seems to fall on the deaf ears! It seems words like ‘social distancing’ does not exist at all in the dictionary of rapists.  Wonder sometimes, should it also be fitted though strugglingly into the narrative of after effects of colonialism that still continues to linger on and may be held responsible for the ‘starved’ and ‘impoverished’ mentality which compels people every now and then to lay hands on anything found unguarded like a thief? Along with ‘drain of wealth’, apologists may also consider the theory of ‘morality and integrity’ drain as well. This may, though, temporarily pacify them into silence ‘as usual’ and save them the trouble of actually addressing the issue and finding concrete solutions to the problem. As they indulge in such routine exercise every now and then, they register their failure of saving yet another girl from getting her modesty outraged!

The vulnerability of the women needs to be looked into. The fact that she falls prey to the predator’s day in and day out is something to get worried about. Whether she is in her house or outside, the fear of being dishonoured and killed by a man keeps lurking around.

One hardly comes to hear of such things in the animal world! But yes, surprisingly, there is a strange category of men who do not spare even the females of the animal world! One heard of a pregnant goat being gang raped by eight men in Haryana and poor thing she also couldn’t take on the humiliation and she died! So much for the dwindling sex ratio in the state!

In view of such incidents certain amendments in the Constitution are required urgently and the goats and other females of the animal world should also be included within its juridical arena.

In a country, where without verifying the caste and other whereabouts, a girl is not taken as a wife, and there are gruesome incidents of ‘honour killings,’ if someone dares to defy the rules. Yet paradoxically, no one bats an eyelid when newspaper reports that incidents of rape are on the rise! And it needs to be emphasized that they are across barriers of caste, class, race, color, region and religion. With the increasing cases of rapes, it won’t come as a surprise when someone might project it on an international platform as an act of chivalry and interpret it as another indigenous ‘welfaristic measure’ though crude in nature, to implement ‘equality’ in the society! And proud claims of leaving behind other countries may be made!

Usually, there are clear instructions that a woman is required to be under the protection of man ever since she is born and that’s one reason why there is a hurry to get her married off once the father starts getting old. But it is ironical again, in a rape bid, neither an unmarried woman is spared nor a married one, so much so even small babies and old women are not spared!

In disgust or to teach man a lesson, it is seen that now animals, especially the dogs have come on the fore front to rescue ‘the damsels in distress’. One need to relook into the security issues and the self-deployed security men of women. In view of the lapses in their security system there are increasing cases of women preferring dogs over men as life partners and tying knots with them without any hassles of dowry! In 2019, the paper Indian express reported that Elizabeth Hoad of Britain gave up on men and decided to marry her golden retriever instead! Even before that in 2014 in India, Mangli Munda of Jharkhand was married off to a stray dog. Considering the gravity of the circumstances, an urgent serious thinking is required both in women and men quarters. And instead of ‘normalizing’ the newspaper reporting on rape issue over a morning tea and turning to another page carrying ‘more important’ news, one needs to learn to take the problem more seriously, lest it goes out of hand in times to come!

Prof. S Darapuri BBAU, Lucknow


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