It’s almost cruel how a sudden twist of fate can create an impact so monumental that it can change one’s life forever. The little life does not recollect much. At first, there was warmth, a place so joyous and glowing with love that it found it hard to believe that anything existing beyond this would be better. Then came a flash, a rumble that resonated deep inside its home, its mother’s womb. Darkness followed, and a world it had never seen remained just that, unseen.

 

A life snuffed out before it started. What could have been going on in the mother’s mind as she roamed; injured and hungry. Betrayed, by the very beings who assured her that they were her friends. Mourning, for her unborn child who was yet to see the outside world, whose only home would forever remain his mother’s womb.

 

Recently, the death of a two-month pregnant elephant in Palakkad, Kerala left India fuming with outrage. Suffering internal injuries and a fractured jaw from ingesting a fruit lined with explosives, the elephant spent two weeks, troubled, unable to feed herself or her baby. It is believed that she gravitated towards the Velliyar river to seek relief from the water. While efforts were made to rescue the mother with the help of two kumki elephants, she collapsed from weakness and ultimately, drowned.

 

This story caught our attention but it is not a sole incident. In Kerala, elephants are an integral part of temple traditions. Subjected to harsh sunlight, malnutrition and even tranquillizers to control the great animal, they are often mistreated. Despite seeing the elephants suffer, humans are unwilling to let go of this practice for the sake of piety. Stories repeatedly come out of Kerala and Chhattisgarh, describing deaths of elephants from causes ranging from food poisoning and electrocution.

 

The world is in turmoil, battling viruses of not only Covid-19 but of casteism, racism, sexism, and discrimination. Humans everywhere are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Humans everywhere are marching to demand their rights. Humans everywhere are raising their voices against the injustices they face.

 

The world of animals is also in turmoil. They too are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Injustice is being meted out to them by us, the humans. But, can they raise their voices for justice? Can they march in the streets demanding for their rights? But the most important question of all is, will humans listen?

 

Humans often forget that we are not the only inhabitants of Earth. Animals are just as much a part of nature as we are. They need to be treated with the same love and respect that we expect for ourselves. Isn’t it ironic that we are on the streets demanding justice when we ourselves are guilty of crimes against animals?.

 

In the eyes of nature, animal lives hold the same value as that of humans. When we say justice beyond just us, ‘us’ not only refers to an individual, a section of society or even the entire human race but to all living organisms on earth, including animals.

 

– Tanvi Jain, DPS Noida

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