Left Menu
Development News Edition

International Day of Non-Violence: Rising crimes against animals call for 'Ahimsa' redux

"2020 has seen some of the most horrific incidents of animal-directed violence in India. The only silver lining - if you will - is the wave of backlash that not only sparked awareness for the prevention of animal cruelty, but also a sensibility capable of recognizing mindless and inhumane treatment of animals," writes Varda Mehrotra, the Executive Director of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO).

Varda MehrotraVarda Mehrotra | Updated: 01-10-2020 19:28 IST | Created: 01-10-2020 19:28 IST
International Day of Non-Violence: Rising crimes against animals call for 'Ahimsa' redux
Representative Picture. Image Credit: Pixabay

To opine about the merits of non-violence as a doctrine in a particularly violent year – certainly one of the most graphic starts of a new decade – feels inherently odd. Surely, a year that has seen some of the biggest social movements in response to police brutality, de-facto dictatorships, and of course, a raging pandemic in the foreground highlights the need to internalize a sense of non-violence, does it not?

Yet, as Gandhi Jayanti – internationally recognized as the International Day of Non-Violence on October 2nd, every year - sets in, it makes it clear that to hold a mere day out of 365 as the be-all and end-all of our interaction against the notions of violence and their manifestations in our daily lives is not enough; and it never has been. A recurring motif observed this year is to be better and adapt, or face unmitigated and unforeseen consequences; and thus far we have hedged our bets on the latter.

The first official commemoration having been established on June 15th, 2007 by the UN General Assembly, the International Day is meant to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness"; and thereby reaffirm "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" as well as the need "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and non-violence".

Whilst the wide and unanimous sponsorship of the resolution reflected (and indeed continues to reflect) the universal respect and adoration for Mahatma Gandhi, and of course, the enduring and timeless relevance of his philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) - our practical engagement with it makes it seem like an appeasing platitude rather an accepted mode of existence. One needs to only look at the cruelty and violence animals are subjected to see a much more grim reality evolve.

2020 has seen some of the most horrific incidents of animal-directed violence in India – from Saumya the elephant's cruel and haunting death by eating a fruit laced with explosives; to that of a cow in Bilsaspur's death in a similar fashion; to a monkey being tortured and eventually being hanged in Telangana – the list, unfortunately, goes on and on. The only silver lining - if you will - is the wave of backlash that not only sparked awareness for the prevention of animal cruelty, but also a sensibility capable of recognizing mindless and inhumane treatment of animals. The mind shudders, however, to imagine the hundreds – if not thousands – of such incidents that occur around the country every day, but don't go 'viral', and are hence never spoken of ever again

Thus, just a day of non-violence is simply not enough, for every day must be one steeped in the very notion. Imbibing a genuine and organic kindness towards animals is crucial, and not just helpful to the animals in question. The way in which we treat our fellow creatures is also a massive stepping stone in contributing to how we treat other people from different walks of life, even if we can't identify with their experiences.

Animal or human - the sense of empathy, kindness, and respect extended to them is recognized all the same; and the satisfaction of co-operating and merrily co-existing with them ushers in a similar sense of reward and fulfillment. As Mahatma Gandhi himself once said, "I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." An addendum to these impeccable words may also be found in the fact that by helping and fostering fruitful and non-violent relationships with the wealth of animals around us, we also in a way, protect ourselves from the cruelty that we are, and remain forever capable of.

(Disclaimer: Varda Mehrotra is the Executive Director of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)


  • FIRST PUBLISHED IN:
  • Devdiscourse

TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Panama's 2nd biggest Indigenous group votes to ban masks

A cultural body for the Guna Yala people in Panama voted Monday to ban the wearing of face masks used to combat coronavirus infections, arguing it is not a custom of our people. The measure would drop a requirement for masks in schools a...

High court won't extend Wisconsin's absentee ballot deadline

The Supreme Court is siding with Republicans to prevent Wisconsin from counting mailed ballots that are received after Election Day. The justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counte...

US says airstrike killed 7 leaders of al-Qaida in Syria

The United States believes it killed seven senior leaders of al-Qaida in Syria in an airstrike last week as the leaders were meeting near Idlib, U.S. Central Command said Monday. A Central Command spokeswoman, Maj. Beth Riordan, said the st...

U.S. Senate confirms Trump's Supreme Court pick Barrett in nearly party-line vote

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate handed President Donald Trump a major pre-election political victory on Monday by confirming his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, with the White House planning a celebratory event afterward. Th...

Give Feedback