It is a typical evening in Poonamallee High Road. The traffic slowly gains momentum with the arrival of the yellow coloured college buses. They race past snail-paced trucks and two wheelers while their occupants doze off under the scorching heat. Amidst the buzz stands a hapless dog. It looks left and right uncertainly, waiting for the right moment to cross the road. When the road clears up, it swiftly moves forward. In the blink of an eye a speeding bus runs over the animal. The air is filled with an agonizing howl followed by a dreadful silence.
Dogs getting run over by vehicles is not an uncommon sight in Poonamale High Road. Once in a while I see a bloody mass on the road, squashed so badly that it hardly resembles a dog or rather anything. I flinch in revulsion, wishing that I never saw it. But it was always just a moment’s worth of pity and I never really gave it a thought. Now it’s different. Recently, I witnessed a run-over accident. It all happened so fast that I didn’t actually see the dog getting hit but I just heard the howl.The driver could have used the brake but he didn’t. My dog-loving friend was aghast after actually seeing the dog going under the wheels. She became upset throughout the journey. We tried in vain to cheer her up by telling that the dog would lead a better life in its next birth(?!?) and the driver would be born as dog(!?!?). That obviously didn’t work. But that incident really got me thinking.
It is murder, not any accident. Many people dismiss it because the victim in case is just a dog; a five sensed creature. That makes me question the underlying foundation of moral values in our society. We have been taught by our textbooks that Man is a superior being, God’s greatest creation, blah blah blah. So we labour under the illusion that treating beings below our intellectual level like scum is our birthright. Why the brazen display of power?
Aliens vapourize people in ‘War of the worlds’ and ‘Independence day’or any other Sci-Fi hoopla. Why ? Because they can. They find it mighty funny to kill the pea-brained humans who get in their way. We sympathize in the theater for our movie-counterparts but in reality have we ever taken such animal-killings seriously ? Drawing comparisons between a Sci-Fi movie and real life may look silly but apparently I am not alone in this.
If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals? ~Attributed to George Bernard Shaw
In the end it all boils down to one thing – Life. Be it a Man or an animal who goes under the wheels, it is still a life that is getting snatched away. I am no saint. I am still the same old person who is afraid of dogs and who doesn’t like to stand within a 10-metre radius of a dog. But the next time I see a dead dog on a high way (which I hope doesn’t happen again) it won’t be revulsion. It will be pity on the human race for it stoops so low as to inflict its brutality on a helpless little creature. As they say, all cruelty springs from weakness.