The Pain of a White Horse

Published: Wed, 03/16/2016 - 11:48 Updated: Wed, 03/16/2016 - 12:19

Editorial Hardnews Delhi

Horses are great friends. They are integral to folk narratives, battlefield stories, lonely journeys across infinite deserts and the wild, lovely loyalists of comic book heroes, and the flying comrades of magical and fantasy characters like Robin Hood, Phantom, and Zorro the acrobatic outlaw who fights for justice for the poor, with Antonio Banderas chasing the great beauty of Catherina Zeta Jones in a fairy tale of clichéd badland. Horses are also creatures of surreal dreams. They graze in distant meadows, fly on full moon nights, craft their beautiful elegance into verses by poets of insomnia, and ride with the riders of the storm.  You can see them in mythical stories and you can see them flying with gigantic wings, with women riding them into eternity – as in magnificent Konark, the sun temple in Orissa, celebrating the freedom of the body and the mind in erotic sculpture. Indeed, when man turns a horse into a slave, it yet again proves how shallow and limited is man’s relationship with the sublime creatures of nature. And what do you do, when man turns barbarian and attacks the legs of a beautiful white horse in the pristine hills of Uttarakhand? How do you ‘rationalise’ this barbarism and insanity?

Ganesh Joshi, the unrepentant BJP MLA from the ‘queen of hills’, Mussoorie, has predictably sparked outrage across the country. And this outrage transcends the anger and grief of the collective of animal lovers  --- it has become a national shame. An anguished female professor from Ahmedabad has posted on Facebook that her little daughter just can’t stop crying. She has written, “Watching the horse in immense pain brought tears to many of our eyes. My ten-year-old daughter is crying non-stop. She doesn't want to live here anymore where humans are cruel to animals. What kind of a world are we exposing our children to? But, no tear was shed by the man who defended himself. This culture of violence, shouting, accusations, abusing anyone, everyone, judging everyone, getting out there, beating, taking law into their hands. It has become a sick society…” 

Watching the horse in immense pain brought tears to many of our eyes. My ten-year-old daughter is crying non-stop. She doesn't want to live here anymore where humans are cruel to animals. What kind of a world are we exposing our children to? 

Much of the sickness, clearly and inevitably, as is the method in the madness, is a perverse product of the cathartic hate discourse which has been tacitly endorsed by the BJP leadership, even while the rank and file follows the signs and indications with fanatic zeal. From ‘Ramzaade to Haraamzade’, to sending Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan, among other mild or vocal dissenters to Pakistan, to Anupam Kher’s ‘pest control’, to the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, to the legitimacy and covert support given by the police and government to mob violence inside court premises against journalists, academics and students, and the direct threats of ‘cutting the tongue’ of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar -- the Sangh stormtroopers, who glorify the destruction of the Babri Masjid and brand all and sundry as ‘ant-national’, seem to be wallowing in a daily and relentless quagmire of frustration, violence and hate. Their lawless and mindless violence in words and action seem to have become a ritualistic public spectacle, even while the top BJP leadership chooses to look the other way. Why?

The chief minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, himself visited the animal who has been showcased in important State events. Some of the best veterinary doctors have worked for hours to restore his damaged leg, even while there were the fear that it might be amputated. An entire nation prayed for the magnificent Kathiawari horse which can’t even express its pain. Indeed, it is time the BJP restores the voice of sanity across its many hydra-headed fronts and local leadership. It should start from the top. Certainly, a ruling party with a brute majority in the Centre, should rethink if they want to restore collective peace, dignity of dialogue and pluralist, secular democracy in India, or will it yet again turn to the polarizing glorification of the Hobbesean syndrome – the state of being ‘short, nasty and brutish’. The world is watching.