TODAY -

Animal Farm
- (In the Context of Imphal City) -

Dr Robert Shimray *



Introduction

In the beginning was a man with the wild and in the wild. The whole earth was but an animal farm in its scenic beauty of mother-nature, replenishing all their necessities for their livelihood. Due to scarcity of human habitation, wild animals abound.

For which, man would, in his wit and wisdom, for security by flocked together in groups. As measures of defence he would look for caves and later on learnt to build a house, but not as how one could imagine of the modern building, rather possibly on a tree top to stay away from the wild.

Hide and seek

No satisfied with the gracious fruits and nuts nature bestowed, man went beyond bounds, encroaching into the territory of the wild, dis-turbing the uninterrupted wild; craving for its flesh for food. In retaliation he would be attacked; tearing apart his body to fill the tummy of the angry wild. With the increase in knowl-edge and wisdom, man would invent various tools, to hunt for the fiercest ones.

Leaving aside the worry of fear, he began the hunting game; dominating the un-ruffled wild. Having had the ability to create and make a home, he would stay in an elevated hut-house, above the ground. And the latter would in turn take the base as resting ground. The savoury smell of human flesh would only incite the feroc-ity; only to one day tear his flesh torn apart to relish its appetite.

Transition

As human population in-creased, the habitation of man has gone beyond the limit, crossing way beyond even into the wild, abusing flora and fauna; disturbing the peaceful environment. Today, there is alarm that wild life could go extinct due to illegal wildlife trade and habitat destruction. Pollution and climate change have caused diminishing number of many species.

Meanwhile, smart as hu-mans are, have learnt to tame some of the wild. Like how a handful of human population was within the wild, so also now the wild in turn is with the man, at the mercy of the unruly master.

Practicality

Branded to be named as Smart City, not to be sur-prised, traffic jam abounds with the increase in the number of vehicles along with the ever growing popu-lation of domestic animals. One could wonder to think and say why ? Four-wheeled animals but without licence number. What do the own-ers do and think ? "Let the animals go strays ! For when time comes it will be taken care to be sent to the slaughtering house."

Until then, in the form of dona-tion: from street to street and from shop to shop or from garbage to garbage, the ani-mals are being taken care. The feeding - the public, the gathering, the so-called, last moment owner. In case of stray animals with no own-ers, the responsibility lies in the hands of the Civic Authority.

Hit and run may not exactly occur in front of Kangla Turning Police-Point, but in times we see stray animals at such traffic hubs. One sees such even at Paona Keithel, Thangal Keithel and Thangmeiband line. What about the rest of the vicinity, say, the ex-tended five life-lines in the State: Moreh, Churachandpur, Jiribam, Mao and Ukhrul ?

As you come in and go back to these many destinations you will see herd of cattle in many places causing traffic congestions; liability of being charged at slightly hurting the animals.

The problem and its paradox

In big cities due to anti-cow slaughter laws and widespread vigilantism, farmers simply don't want cows around. There arose tactical abandoning with decreasing option to trade unproductive cattle. To do away with it, as for example, New Delhi Municipal Corporation has taken steps implanting chips in cattle with the owner's informa-tion in order to track down erring cattle owners to the tune of imposing Rs 25,000 fine.

Several States, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, have formed laws to penalise such aban-donment of cattle in towns and cities. In its strictest form, Rajasthan-yearly license with a 100 square yard is made mandatory in urban areas. A fine of Rs 10,000 is being imposed on owners if animals are found going stray.

License in terms of permission is to be sought for in a designated area and to see that proper sanitation is being maintained. What about Manipur ? Forget about imposing fine on the owners. What then ? One of the practical incidences will prove it. Here was a nominal man driving his small car down from Sawombung side towards the city carrying home stuffs such as microwave oven, refrigerator etc.

The car was going 35 km/hr (speedometer), being careful enough lest things could be damaged. To his surprise, reaching Khabeishoi, a young goat came charging into the front car from the left side. At the sound of the clash a young man and a woman came rushing out. The man/driver thought, "This is it! I'm finished for today. Maybe I'll have to shell out money from my purse even to the tune of Rs. 10,000."

Don't you be surprised, for this is the practice. Forget about the vehicle being damaged, you are at the risk of the penalty at slightly injuring the ani-mal. The allegation : animal is an animal, they have no sensibility, man is to be blamed for. His better-half coaxed him to drive faster.

Unwilling to turn back and seeing no one coming behind to stop their car, the man sped off, feeling much relieved not knowing what awaited at their destination. To their surprise, reaching home, oil leaking was seen from the gate till the stoppage.

Alas! The radiator was done away with. What, in a hurry, if the negotiation had taken place at a certain fixed amount for the goat, and then, now here, when the car front bumper and the radiator added to it with the servicing charge had cost Rs 7500 ? Added to it, a kind of painting-like depiction on the mainline roads can't be ignored to be seen.

Passing of cow/goat dung and urinating in the middle of the street or the roads would only add to the fuming smell. The mess caused would only be cleared, not by the con-cerned Civic Authority, but by the passers-by vehicles-splattering under their wheels. And the rest is left to the mercy of the sunshine to be dried up.

Out of it, at the threshold of the awaiting city, the fume and the dust would only be as a welcoming shower and an aroma to the passers-by guests. Solution The problem of unrestricted movements of stray animals result in traffic congestion and instances of hit and run cases. Previously it was mandated that all strays should be kept off city limits and cattle owners should be careful about the movement of their animals.

However, most Indian cities bear witness to how much tjhis is followed. On the part of the owners, one can only say, "It's a matter of time." The opprobrium or the ignominy on the part of the cattle owners - to let their animals go astray: no matter how much one tries to inculcate them will only prove futile.

Folks it's time we take things seriously. Be it the Civic Authority or the public, especially the menace owners, collective efforts through support, co-operation, and practical implementation is the need of the hour it that our place doesn't become an animal farm, tarnishing the prospect of a Smart City.


* Dr Robert Shimray wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Departmental Director, Manipur Conference of SDA, Chingmeirong West
This article was webcasted on August 02 2022.



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