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Humans, Humanes and the Naga Way…

By Pranab Bora

Photo credit: IANS

So how humane are the humans that run ‘humane’ societies in India to sit on judgement and criticize communities? Do they gather in five star hotels where they serve piglets? Are self-proclaimed animal rights activists from families of those who were part of SS groups that once put the country under emergency? Are they from families who forced castrated men to cut down the population of this country? Are they connected to families that have turned the Northeast into a battle zone and let loose other ‘humane’ humans who have raped and murdered? Are they connected to families that have proudly watched 855 students fall to bullets during the Assam Agitation?

Photo credit: IANS

Here are a few things they ought to do: ban the sale and slaughter of fish, all kinds of other meat and eggs. Fish suffocate to death, much like the COVID-19 patients we are trying to keep alive on ventilators. They also ought to ban the sale of vegetable because plants, as scientifically proved, feel pain. Of course it’s an old argument but so is the fact that people who judge others must first judge themselves and their ways.

And then there are people who will, to prove a civilized, humane point go against the food habits of their own communities. Well if the Joneses decide your value system but you can’t be them as they are way beyond your league economically and ‘socially’ you pretend to be the Joneses. That is to be expected and is evident in the way many ‘humanes’ of this region behave, ashamed of themselves and their communities and their ways to perhaps merely prove themselves to be ‘different and hence better’.

How many of these people would have prevented successive governments from extending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act year after year after year in Nagaland? How many of these people will change the fact that Kohima the capital of Nagaland was once bombed by soldiers with two-inch mortars? Here’s a ‘brutality’ example for them: one such shell landed on the courtyard of a family that had children playing outside. One child had her brain actually spill out. Soldiers used rocket launchers against civilians in the Mokokchung ‘incident’, something many ‘humane’ activists would like to brush under the carpet. How would one like to look back at Operation Bluebird now? Do they know what it was? Do they know that 42 volumes of evidence of a case that was pending 42 years went missing before the Manipur High Court disposed of it in June last year? Below is a link. Read it and still hold you head high as an animal rights activist, as Northeasterners, as Indians, as ‘humane’ citizens of the world:

So they aren’t connected is it? And of course two wrongs don’t make a right. How about one wrong though?: Was this a majority decision of the people of Nagaland? If yes, isn’t democracy all about the majority respecting the rights of the minority?

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of the Humane Society of India makes an interesting comment following the Nagaland government’s decision to ban the sale of dog meat: “The suffering of dogs in Nagaland has long cast a dark shadow over India, and so this news marks a major turning point in ending the cruelty of India’s hidden dog meat trade. Our own investigation in Nagaland showed terrified dogs being subjected to a horrific death, some of the worst inhumanity to animals HSI/India has ever witnessed.”

Photo credit: IANS

First, it’s not hidden. Right from Kohima to Peren, dog meat is sold in many places in Nagaland and very openly—for purposes of comparison, like the tandoori chicken that is hung out in popular kebab shops across India.

And as for the “terrified” bit shall we then also talk about terrified women being raped? Of terrified men being beaten to death by men in uniform in the Northeast? As for the ‘dark shadow over India’, is the shadow as dark as the one cast of the murder of hundreds in religious riots? Or by the armed forces used in civilian conflicts? Saying that slaughter houses for dogs should be clean, hygienic, scientific would have been good. Not this.

The comment of Chuba Ozukum, former president of the Naga Hoho, the apex body of the Nagas, that “When it comes to eating habits for any community, it is not good to impose such rules…” should be respected. For the ‘humanes’ who may not know, Ozukum would be a man who would have seen respect in his life: it would include his word being the law in his village—most Naga youngsters refer to one as home, unlike in the rest of the country where ‘ancestral villages are often a once in two year holiday destinations. Ozukum comes from a land where if youngsters should go hunting, the best portion of the meat if offered to the village chief, and then villages elders, then the girls if they live in a dormitory; what belongs to the boys, valiantly, is what is left over. Contrast that with existence in a humane metropolitan society, where just about nobody knows you…

And just so the humanes of the country know, one thing that Ozukum’s society does not have is a khap panchayat. Maybe our humanes should start changing things where they should actually start changing things…

Founder Editor... Formerly resident editor (east and northeast) with The Telegraph, editor (Assamese) with The Sunday Indian, has worked with India Today, National Herald and The Sentinel. Has written for India Today Travel Plus, Darpan, The Pioneer, Hindustan Times online edition, The Times of India. Lyricist and singer, enjoys composing, photography, being a chef and travelling