Kerala: God’s Own Country or Devils’ Own Paradise?

I stopped close to a giant tree under which there was a small tea-shop and a few people gathered around the same. After a long drive, I was feeling like the nerves were frozen and I thought a cup of strong tea would refresh my senses.

Occupying a plastic chair in the corner waiting for my order I was looking at the man struggling to manage people who seemed impatient. I wondered how could a man do almost everything there – at a time he was managing customers, preparing teas, serving snacks, collecting cash and even running towards the tub in which he quickly washed the dishes too.

As I was sipping the hot tea, I observed a dog approaching the fence seeking some leftover on the ground. He was cute, yet his stomach was shrunken! As I was watching, I found the man collecting the boiling water in the giant teacup and before I could stop, I found him pouring the boiling water on the dog which perhaps was desperately in need of food. I heard the dog yelling and running for its life.

I couldn’t help myself standing up, but I was shivering too looking at the act of terror. The water that he poured onto the poor dog was hot enough to burn the entire face of the innocent creature that approached him for some food. Yet, there was not even a tinge of guilt upon his face. He came close to me and said: “Sir, if ‘they’ see a dog here, no one would come here to have even a single cup of tea. How will I survive?!”

While driving back, I was thinking about what the owner of the shop indicated. Though he belongs to another religion, he is being forced to act so inhumanly just to save his business, because for a majority in that town dog is a forbidden creature! I also have noticed that more than Sundays, Fridays are becoming a favourite holiday for people in the North Malabar region. The streets once filled with the fragrance of incense sticks have turned places where there is only the disgusting smell of flesh being burnt.

I am not against any religion, however, I am against the very notion that the earth is for human alone! I am against the ideology that creates barriers among the people, let it be of gender, religion, or politics. Though to some extend, religion is a set of rules that enable a society to mutually coexist, I am concerned about a religion that believes that people belonging to other religions doesn’t deserve to be here. This is the greatest threat to humanity itself!

Cruelty towards animals is nothing new for a Keralite who is used to see cattle being slaughtered in public. It was in November 2019, a ghastly incident come to light from the state where a pregnant cat was found hanged to death at a house in the state capital, suspended with a rope tied to the pillar of a shed, in the backyard of the residence of an Army veteran who but denied any wrongdoing. It was quite recently, the country was horrified to see youth congress/Muslim league activists slaughtering a calf in full public view in order to protest against the government. The poor animal, still unaware that it is going to be slaughtered was found approaching the crowd with all its love, yet one man holding it and cutting its throat to let the life in it spread across the road!

In the name of further expanding their territory, when men continue occupying the land that belongs to a wide variety of flora and fauna, a number of innocent creatures are being mercilessly killed by those selfish human being. Cruelty to elephants, cruelty to dogs, the most apathetic conditions in which they slaughter animals, cows, camels, little calves etc are common scenes in this most literate Indian state which would question our very conscience.

The recent gruesome killing of a pregnant wild elephant using a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers has triggered national outrage over how wild animals are being treated in the state that calls itself God’s own country. However, I earnestly believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The number of animals being killed so would be innumerable, however, nothing comes to the notice of the authorities, or they just act blind towards the heinous acts.

We also have to remember that Kerala is a state that rejected ecologist Madhav Gadgil’s 2011 report for eco-restoration of the Western Ghats after raging protests that criticized it as biased against development. In order to secure the votes of ‘minorities’, the changing governments not only compromise but support shattering the ecological balance in the state. As a part of disrespecting the age-old practices and beliefs, many of the ponds associated with temples and miniature forests are also being ruined by left activists and the organisations they represent.

Since a couple of years, while talking to a number of people in the surrounding, I have heard many of them telling this – ‘We are fed up! Somehow, we are planning to exile from this state that has almost nothing for us. Maybe away from the homeland, maybe we will at least live peacefully!’ Perhaps a few more years, but looking at what is happening around, sooner or later the rest of the states would also witness what is happening in Kerala right now, unless there is a strong statesman who would stay as firm as a rock to save humanity.

Hunched over on the banks of the Velliyar river, knees bent, head dipped in the water when the poor elephant sought solace for her pain, probably the life within her must be crying for saving its life! With burns all over the skin when the poor dog run away, he must be thinking how cruel human being, yeah?