Cruelty knows no bounds
GARJAN, the majestic Royal Bengal tiger that was kept in confinement in the Mirpur Zoo, is now beyond all pain and suffering. He has died a lonely and prolonged death at the hands of some heartless, mindless, cruel men who would now skin him and sell his hide to another profiteer.
Perhaps Garjan in his last days cried in solitude for a last look at the Sundarbans, where his ancestors lived like kings. Perhaps Garjan cried in silence to be near his own kind who still roam the mighty forest, free and ferocious, just as tigers should be. Perhaps Garjan cried in loneliness to get one chance to smell the Sundari tree leaves, the salty water of the canals, the air over the Sundarbans filled with the sweet aroma of honey in the numerous hives hanging from the trees.
Pray tell me, who has denied him his rights? Who has given us the right to enchain a hunting animal like Garjan who has been created by the same God who has created this world and all life forms in it for a divine purpose? By torturing and caging those animals created by God, aren't we interfering in God's desire for a world where man and animal will live side by side enjoying the freedom given by Him? Does any religious scripture allow such cruelty to animals?
God has given all animals freedom to roam and hunt but we have dared to step in and snatch away that freedom and confine them in cages. Just because we cannot hear them cry does not mean they don't cry. We don't even know whether they curse us every day.
The story does not end with Garjan. Just look at those sad eyes of the lion in the picture that came on the front page of this daily the other day. What is this gorgeous animal doing in a rainy, damp, tropical country like Bangladesh? Who had taken the decision to bring an African lion here? Do they have any idea what climatic conditions can cause to animals when they are taken away from their natural habitat?
It is common knowledge that lions can never survive in a damp country like Bangladesh. Are those men sitting in the air-cooled rooms of the relevant departments educated enough to understand all this? Or are they just after making money? How much money have they made in the process? To be candid, those men should be put in a cage next to that lion so that they can hear his sobs and sighs.
How heartless could we become? Can we call ourselves hundred percent civilised if we confine large hunting animals like lions and tigers in small cages in the zoo, and allow them to fall ill and die eventually? We are so engrossed with our own dhanda that we never bother if those majestic animals eat or don't eat, if they live or die.
Our zoo authorities must not be allowed to import large hunting animals from here on. It is downright cruelty to confine such majestic animals in small concrete cages because such confinement only hastens their death. Besides, the attendants do not have sufficient training, neither do they have the compassion to take care of such animals.
We have seen that only rich countries can afford to create large areas where hunting animals are allowed to roam and hunt, which the spectators can see from a safe distance. Since we cannot afford such luxury, let us not spend public money to buy those animals and then cause death-inflicting pain and anguish in their hearts. The sick and dying lion, the lonely tigress, the dead giraffe and lastly Garjan are only testaments to how heartless we the humans in Bangladesh can become when it comes to taking care of animals.
Here is food for thought. Do we know that some lowly characters, thieves actually, known as officials and attendants in all the zoos in this country, steal money from the fund that is earmarked to buy food and medicine for the animals? They do it many ways. They do not feed the lions and tigers the exact amount of food required to keep them healthy. They buy half the amount and take away the money. And there is no higher authority to investigate and take the criminals to task. As a result, the beautiful exotic animals in our zoos keep dying a lonely death far away from home.
A nation must talk about everything that takes to make a country rich and progressive. We do not talk about animals unless we have to. But we only talk about politics and politicians all the time because that's supposed to be the smart thing to do. Our intellectuals, academics, media, social workers, human rights activists et al hardly talk about animals or cruelty to animals because they think that's not intellectual. Nothing else exists in this country. Nothing else matters in this country. So, animals can go to hell.