As Shaktiman rises, humanity has taken the biggest blow

(Published in Times of India: )

Even as I write this I am seething with rage over the audacity of the BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi and his band of not-so-merry men allegedly  attacking a police horse during an ongoing BJP protest in Dehradun on Monday (March 14), brutally crushing the animal’s leg that induced multiple fractures. Thankfully, 14 year old Shaktiman, a veteran in the police force in Uttarakhand will walk again after what can only be described as the most traumatic few days of his life. A long surgery with 10 doctors, an amputation surgery and a successful prosthetic leg installation later, we heave sighs of relief that there may still be hope for brave Shaktiman to saunter on the road to recovery though it will be a slow and difficult one. But at least she can stand again. Hopefully she will run one day and we pray that she will.

Shaktiman has been the pride and glory at many an Independence day, Republic Day and Kedarnath Yatra event. But a turn of events during a political rally saw the beast get caught in the midst of political vendetta that has stirred up a political storm.

The issue seems to have become hazy with a cloud of ambiguity over who actually committed this horrific act of violence. I would love to see the same fate mercilessly served to Mr. Joshi or whoever the real culprits may be.  Cowardice comes forth in many forms but at the bottom of the barrel are those that attack the harmless and mute. (I do have to wonder which tree the attacker would have perched himself atop had it been a more life-threatening opponent like a lion). Being an animal lover, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video. But it exists. And  now many more conflicting ones have come forth which seems to be the norm these days.

The scarily shameful acts of atrocity meted out on helpless, defenceless animals like even the dog in Chandigarh that was beaten and then hung upside down not too long ago are getting too frequent too soon. What right do people have of desecrating the lives of these animals in a fit of rage like brats who are incapable of dealing with their problems any other way? The parliament that spends more time in verbal name games and disrupting sessions would benefit greatly from giving some relief to their filmy drama and vocal chords and focus their energy on matters of more importance such as the rampant barbarism that has seeped into the facade of our political and social structures in the mask of ‘intolerance’. This was the one thing I agreed with Mr. Anupam Kher on in his speech. This word ‘intolerance’ will dig our graves for us if we don’t do it ourselves first.

Beating a harmless animal is the last straw in our ‘tolerance’ and it couldn’t be a louder wake up call. Videos have emerged in recent developments that appear to absolve Mr. Joshi of the unforgiveable act but lines of ambiguity have now been drawn on whether he actually beat the horse or was it in fact, Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s attempt to deflect from the corruption chest-beating that was the main issue of the protest that day. The fact of the matter is that an animal was beaten up and left to bleed with multiple fractures resulting in the need for amputation. Aan animal that didn’t charge back at the crowd but instead backed up. Our hearts bleed for the fallen beast while our heads fall in shame once again that such transgressions belong to our own kind. Justice needs to be served.

The blame game has begun and we are left wondering who actually did it. While the new videos that have come to light seem to suggest that  Mr Joshi may not have been the one to do it, it doesn’t absolve him and the entire political party present there from starting this whole thing in the first place and allowing a helpless animal to get caught in the crosshairs of their political trumpeting.  It is imperative that all the involved individuals be confronted and the real culprits be brought to book.  Letting them get away with it will only fuel further acts of shameless violence. Innocent animals can not be casualties of human violence anymore, be it political, social, religious or just plain mindless cruelty.

On the one hand we bow our heads to the ever-sacred ‘gao mata’- the cow in the name of religion and are ready to commit mass murder in its honour while on the other hand Jallikattu like events rock our boats in the name of entertainment. Hypocrisy, of course was never in our dictionaries.

They say man is the most intelligent animal. After Shaktiman the horse has been beaten to a pulp, I think some ‘men’ need to be sent back to their caves and jungles where they belong.

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