A kicking mule! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 11, 2018

Images through a theodolite

A kicking mule!

“Donkey?”

“Yes, donkey”

“Why donkey?”

“Why not donkey?”

A smirk, and the conversation draws to an end.

I am guilty as sin; an unabashed, bona fide enthusiast on donkeys and everything related to the animal. My browser marks hundreds of website links, I maintain a small library, and I regularly communicate with other enthusiasts from across the world.

Now, “Why Donkey?” is a legit question. But “Why not?” is also a logical response.

Consider the human mind and we cannot always explain why and how things intrigues us. Some care for art, some for heritage, others just listen to the latest Justin Bieber songs —a guilty passion. Many turn their love for cats into a passionate study (or for arsenal for a dog vs cat debate).

Everything imaginable can be turned into a hobby, or pursuit, and not necessarily a boring one. From manga to the influence of Game of Thrones on the current generation, the moment you start, and keep going, there is no turning back. Often, people start with something quite different and end up being a keen student of a topic far different.

As for my transformation, it has gone through puppetry, to tobacco, to donkeys. And I have 'the artic' in my bucket list! If you have a hobby that others find strange, know this; there are thousands like you sharing the same passion, and facing a similar ridicule.

Going back to donkeys —

the equines have been with us for millennia. Horses, mules and donkeys have shared a relationship that has been contributing to the development of our society as we know it today. From the wilderness of Africa, donkeys are now found almost in all regions of the world. Now that is anthrozoology!

Donkeys spread across the nations of the world to enhance trade; mules proved more efficient and thus their use became more wide spread. Being all-terrain animals, donkeys were introduced to the so-called 'New World' by none other than Christopher Columbus himself! In his second voyage in fact. And to add to the fascinating story, George Washington made significant efforts to promote donkey breeding in the USA, and much of the donkeys now existant in America can trace their lineage to his donkeys — Royal Gift and the Knight of Malta!

This is not an effort to turn people into donkey lovers, or even trying to lure you into tasting gourmet donkey cuisine. But simply to stir a curiosity.

Pick a topic, any topic and the whole world awaits. And if you happen to be one of those who now find social media toxic, that random enthusiasm can turn to a lifetime hobby, yielding immense pleasure irrespective of whether you are stuck in traffic, waiting at the doctor's chamber, or just immersed into a new book on African Salve Kings of Bengal and India.

Take up a study just for fun, because truly we all need some!

 

Photo: Collected

 

The curious case of the Democratic donkey

 

It was not until the US presidential election of 1828 that the donkey was associated with the Democrats. Andrew Jackson, their nominee, was being termed 'jackass' by his opponents and in a brilliant scheme, Jackson decided to use this very rhetoric in his favour.

His campaign now had a new mascot — Donkey, a strong-willed animal!

But it was not until cartoonist Thomas Nast's wide use of the Democratic donkey for his newspaper cartoons and made the symbol famous.

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