Teach them not to hate, Please!

Quote: The greatness of a nation and its morale progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. — Mahatma Gandhi.

Thank God! I’m not mad ——- or at least there are others like me on this earth.
Last Month I came across an article in the newspaper (10th March 2016, DNA, From Editor’s Desk) – and I heaved a huge sigh of relief. So after all, whatever people might say, I am not the only one.

The article stated how the writer (Editor of that daily, Ms. Sarita Tanvar) jumped out of a vehicle and yelled at a man who was strangulating a stray dog. This saved the life of the mutt. Bravo! We need more such people around on this planet, more people who realise and believe that we solely do not own this planet, it also belongs to other living beings and they too have full right to live here — as much as we do.

Many a times I suspect that around the place where I live, I’m known as ‘Mad Aunty’ (Of course, behind my back). Reason? I can not stand cruelty to helpless stray animals and I never hesitate in yelling, shouting, fighting if I ever see any human torturing a dumb animal.

I try to visualise this through the eyes of the hapless animals. The various large groups of kids-n-moms waiting for their respective school buses, are a major source of nuisance. Just to catch up with their daily dose of gossip, the ladies drag their  children hours before the bus time. For some unknown reason, the entrance of our housing society is the unofficial, unwritten stop for buses of all the schools of neighbouring two suburbs.

So as soon as the females get their heads together, they conveniently forget all about their wards. Once the kids are inside the gate and society garden, mothers are assured that they are safe and no need to keep a watch over them.
Then, if the gang of kids notices(which is quite often) any stray dog, cat, kittens or puppies, suddenly the spirits of our warrior ancestors take over them and the whole unruly bunch of 8 – 10 children gives out loud war-cry and runs after the tiny kittens or puppies. Scared , if the kittens/puppies hide beneath a parked car, the kids bend down and throw stones, sticks, any handy ‘weapon’ at them.

Imagine! Tiny, one month old kittens, just learning to bounce on their fours — and chased  or assaulted by human forms that are physically fifty to hundred times larger than them — all shouting at the top of their voices,  wielding sticks as swords and throwing stones.

Tiny, sleepy, stray kittens

Often I try to make the kids understand, (that is, if I ever meet them face to face and if they are in a receptive mood), imagine yourself in their place, imagine some demons hundred times bigger than you are running after you with big swords in their hand. How would you feel?
No use! Futile exercise! I know they must be laughing behind my back. The attacks continue. If I see this (which is almost daily), I can’t contain my anguish any more and then I shout from my balcony. Nowadays the kids are smart, they know that I cannot actually do anything — not from third floor. So they just ignore me and continue ambushing the ‘enemy’ (Ohh, poor, poor kittens)
That leaves me no other option but to call out to their mothers, so engrossed in their exchange, break into their precious gossip session and ask them to pay some attention to their children and control them.
They coolly turn around and tell their kids to stop, or else ‘Aunty would scold’. They don’t tell them to stop because what they are doing is wrong. That is the sad part.
The culture of a nation is defined by how it treats its animals. (And all that our parents do is, teach their children to throw stones at a stray, even if the dog is quietly sleeping on one side). Why do the adults pass on this legacy of hatred to the next generation, when the children are basically fearless, very receptive and open to whatever they are taught.
Recently Google posted this picture of a baby elephant in Thailand.
Isn’t it simply adorable? All animal babies are cute, no doubt. What is more important here is the way human babies are affectionate towards that baby elephant. Those children are taught to love animals and not to hate them.
In the newspaper article that I mentioned above, Editor Ms. Tanvar quotes the study reports that state that cruelty to animals in childhood can indicate criminal murderous tendencies of adulthood. I completely agree with it.
While working in Tokyo, my son once noticed a group of young, school-going children gathered around someone or something on the footpath. Fearing that some child might have got hurt, he walked over there. The apple-cheeked Japanese kids looked up, grinned and pointed to a chubby cat on the pavement, basking in all the petting and affection of the kids.
The animal cafe is a well-known concept there — people pay to love the four legged ones. Wow! The small children visiting the famous deer park of Nara are not afraid of the deer and they actually run after the deer to hold them. The kids call the deer ‘san’ (Japanese word for deer + san). While addressing someone with respect, the Japanese use ‘San’. For example, Fuji Yama means Mount Fuji, but they call it ‘Fuji San’. For the children the deer also are ‘san’.
This speaks a lot about the nation’s culture.
It is not easy to suddenly change the mindset and start loving animals. But the least the parents can do is, to teach their children not to hate or harm helpless animals. So, here is hoping for a better, safer future for animals, where the ‘warriors’ are not taking out their battle-fury on someone who cannot speak or defend themselves.
Image courtesy: Google +



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