The wedding season grips our country all the time – whether inflation or deflation – they are in regular occurrence. Amidst the mood-hampering debates of censorship and intolerance, we have a joyous respite from our daily hassles- weddings, worth crores taking place unabashedly in our surroundings. It is a time to rejoice, to shop, to celebrate the holy communion of two souls, and there is not a single person who is not happy and thrilled. The clamour of the baarat , the dance, the crackers, the dhol and amidst all this noise, the faint cry and ache of a horse is subdued.
A groom has to make an entry, and he cannot enter if not on a ghodi. It is considered inauspicious and frankly reeks of lowly standards. Either a horse or in rare yet extraordinary cases, its an elephant back they would hop on to reach their destination. They have to pull a carriage, bear the weight of the groom, endure the constant pulling of the reins by the ‘horse-master’ and maybe endure a whip or two, as his job requirement. What are we doing to this noble animal, whose only fault is that it lacks the voice that would be required to reason with the stupidity that makes us human?
There are two kinds of marriage horses. Some are racehorses that have been kept in great comfort till they start losing races and are then sold down the line to smaller and smaller racecourses till they end up in the hands of the marriage horse suppliers. The others are inbred because of their white colour and the females are repeatedly made to reproduce till they die of exhaustion, so that there are enough white horses in the market. Both have a terribly sad and short life, as reported by Maneka Gandhi, who has with time gained the title of an animal activist which is worthy but rare in existence.
Every week, the hospital of Maneka Gandhi admits a white horse that has been hit by a truck or has gone so lame that it cannot walk anymore. When doctors diagnose them they find that most of them are partially deaf or blind. These are “marriage horses.”
If the abuse of horses isn’t bad enough, we witness the occasional slavery of elephants in our country. They are abducted and are forced to either entertain the people or to bear the baggage that people are unable or too lazy to carry. As if being hunted down for their tusks wasn’t enough, they are paraded for pleasing the supposed superior life forms.
We still have monkeys being showcased in our city, tightly bound by a rope asked to do stunts for our entertainment. Does all this subduing of animals makes us feel more empowered of being a human? Are we too proud of our existence that we deem it necessary to control everyone around us? What happens when the control fails – we end up taking life of an animal which definitely isn’t as important as ours.
We crib about objectification of women, men and transgenders – who is there to rebuke the objectification of the animals? Is it because they lack a voice that we humans are instilled with or do we just lack the ability and humanity to hear their pleas and cries?
Are animals nothing more than a life to be paraded ? We go to zoos, visit them, snap them and mock them, not just by doing gestures, but we also mock the freedom that their lives are not entailed with. We mock their life to live as freely as we want it. Apparently, freedom is for all, but it will never be for the animals.