Parable of Paws and Cruelty of Humans

All picture credits: Babylona Bora

Haris Bin Ayoub

THERE is a notable parable in which a woman of questionable deeds strives to procure water for a thirsty dog, because of which Allah forgives her. Yet, whenever this incident is iterated, the didactic nature of the story focuses solely on the intention of the human, and never have words been spoken for the dog.

Even the apologetically redundant religious sermons fail to see the issue of abuse on dogs in Kashmir. And even in the crisis they must be having for their lack of originality, the pressing concern remains still invisible and truly beckons a common Kashmiri to question his or her conscience.

There is an aura of fear around us and we don’t need a dog’s nose to smell it. I was once sitting on the stairs of a mobile shop for about ten minutes, and saw a bitch startling out of her sleep more times than I have in my life. The craziest part being she shouldn’t have; here at least the humans were safe but who blames her after the acts of sadism they get from us everyday.

Whether it is a savage kick to their meekly slinking bodies, a maliciously pelted stone by some kid who sees it as nothing else but entertainment with impunity, or the household head obsessed with maintaining dominion even outside his gate or the over-confident driver who is sure he is not going to mash the dog under his car, but doesn’t mind delivering a good scare. The cruelty is prolific, showing not even the slightest trace of guilt or pity.

Kind of ironic for the sympathetic entitlement we have confirmed for ourselves. It is definitely a shame for us, Kashmir — people who have been living in habitual terror for decades now — that the issue doesn’t register as a pressing concern.

It is frustrating when the meagre number of protestors get scoffed at for their ‘unrealistic approach’ of kindness. Some of the haters show absolutely no qualms over the prospects of poisoning them. Bear in mind that when the deed is done, people don’t want to waste money on a position of the elite class. While the dog does end, in his last moment the misery only escalates. The cheap poison does a cheap job. You will not see the creature (as in a creation of a Creator) rapidly descend into a state of eternal slumber. But the process is rather lethargic.

The dog loses strength, unable to react to any stimulus, tongue hanging out as if perpetually dehydrated. Towards the very end, the colour visibly drains out of its face and it lies on the ground — helpless, eyes trying to pour out its self-deteriorating pain.

On one unfortunate morning, I had the misfortune of witnessing a dog succumb to death in Rajbagh while it howled in extreme pain, as loud as it could. True, it isn’t fair to out rightly ignore their obnoxious behaviour, but it far from justifies killing them.

In fact, it is worth noting that the obnoxious behaviour is ingrained by the very brutality we use in our daily treatment towards them. What this means is that a street dog is still a dog, not a pure breed, but still a dog; and dogs are one of man’s oldest companions. Therein lies a hope of a better world.

They feed on our refuse, but dumping food to get rid of it is still dumping it, and apparently even a dog isn’t going to be fooled by it. I don’t need the numbers but at the very least there must be twenty humans to every street dog, and systematically feeding them would considerably efface their rogue behaviour. The change won’t be easy and spontaneous, but some (especially the younger ones) might be quickly charmed once fed individually. That would also mitigate their food-grubbing struggle and thus there’d be a lot less of those wild sprints and menacing roars. This would hopefully result in fewer fights among themselves, and their territorial disputes would also start to lose their importance.

Something seriously needs to be considered by those who find it difficult to deal with incessant barking at night, and lean out of their windows with useless threats, making their contribution to the raucous night. People seem to be missing the idea of rights as far as acquired property is concerned. It does grant you domestic sovereignty, but the right is somewhat limited to our species. And after annexing too much land than we need, animals can’t just be expected to disappear.

Infact, we know the opposite is happening.

As a young teen we discovered new-born puppies outside our home. They were a nuisance, but surely there must be a way of dealing with it. Or so I thought. One of the neighbours poisoned a litter of new born pups. I watched them die one by one. Getting to confront the person in front of my parents I gave in to an outburst. When I was done, I foolishly expected my parents to be proud of me. That indeed was foolish of me. I got the backhand.

Perhaps they were right, I’m still debating. But I’ve realized what I felt was right, and children today need to be infused with that kind of sympathetic sensitivity towards other creatures. While you may be comforted in shying away from the realization that a dog in your street is your responsibility, you can try to accept the idea that it most certainly isn’t a fearless intruder.

While it is true that nature is beautiful but cruel, the statement is only justified without fatal human intervention.

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