India needs to rein in MLAs like Ganesh Joshi who attack hapless animals

Kishwar Desai
Kishwar DesaiMar 19, 2016 | 18:41

India needs to rein in MLAs like Ganesh Joshi who attack hapless animals

When John Maynard Keynes used the term "animal spirits", he was speaking of emotions that actually increase trust in investment. It was a positive statement. And that's possibly how we should think of animals, as possessing a raw, powerful energy that can give a positive boost.

But unfortunately, when people speak of "behaving like an animal" they mean something quite different. And for animal lovers this analogy by itself is distasteful because they would say that animals are better than most human beings.


After all, animals can be loyal without asking for anything. Yet, we, as a society show them little respect. We barely recognise the fact that they share the planet with us. Barring a few communities that practically worship animals and respect them, the city dweller might have a personal pet that she adores, but little beyond that.

Maneka Gandhi is one of the very few who actually has spent a lifetime raising awareness of much needed animal rights. Whatever our differences with the minister, we must respect her for that, as it has been a long and lonely journey for her.

But how little these creatures mean to us was apparent in the recent video of a member of a legislative assembly attacking a police horse. The fact that his leg had to be amputated after being broken is by itself a tragedy, made worse by the relentless politics that followed.

And all the training that the police horse received would have kept him from retaliating in any way, which made the viewing of the video ever more heartbreaking.

At the end, this was not a political battle - this was sheer rage, grossly misdirected. And that's why, perhaps the more confrontational we become in our politics, the more the anger will be directed towards animate beings and inanimate objects. It is a dangerous trend.


And before more politicians walk down this path, we must apply restraint.

Yes, there should be anger: but it should be directed towards the persistence of poverty, the illiteracy that still exists, the corruption which occasionally still manifests itself.

How can this blazing anger, whether it be that which was demonstrated by this legislator, or the quota demanding Jats - be a good idea? Burning, destroying, hurting each other sends the wrong message. There is sheer aggression and violence in full public display, recorded on camera, played out over and over again.

What happened to Gandhi's mantra of demanding one's rights through non-violent means? Is that irrelevant, or does the trend reflect a dangerous impatience? Or, in the case of the legislator does it demonstrate arrogance?

Though the video evidence has now been denied by the legislator, his presumed act of violence is something we need to think about.

Can we, as India presents itself as a safe country, afford to be seen as lawless? Any attack on an animal, or a defenceless creature of any kind, would be condemned all over the world.

Over and over we see the rise of violence in our society, and this is not a recent phenomena - it is something many of us have observed for the past few decades, and it will take a lot to be able to contain it.


All that negativity that has built up needs to be weeded out. And so from that point of view perhaps large-scale yoga or meditation sessions are not a bad idea!

But more than that, all political parties must tell their troops to behave.

Can they give them all training in the Mahatma's dictum of non-violence? Can they even, for instance, take an oath in Parliament on this? Perhaps the time has come to institutionalise the thought.

Last updated: March 19, 2016 | 22:06
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