Imagine being thrown out of your house, robbed of your food supply, with nothing to eat and nowhere to go, to top it all there is just no way you can tell the world about the injustice that was done to you. You then decide to seek food and shelter at your next door neighbour’s home, the same one because of who you are in this situation. The neighbour then screams that you are a thief. His scream is heard and you are called the menace-maker.
Animals might not be gifted with speech, but their silence does not justify human totalitarianism.
Case in point is the Rhesus Macaque, better known to us as the monkey. In the last two decades there has been a massive displacement of these primates from their natural habitat owing to destruction of forests by man – for hydel power, for timber, for agriculture, for building roads, homes and even malls. Monkeys with no trees to live on and no source of food are forced to come on the roads, live in human-settlements and eat human food. Because they ask for their share of food and shelter from humans, they are branded as menace makers. People loathe them and kill them, authorities are initiating drives for their mass-culling and sterilization, they are run down by rampant traffic, electrocuted by wires and poles, and at times, they just give in to lack of food or severe climate. Is this fair?
If monkeys had representation in the court of law, humans would be declared guilty of harassment, robbery and even murder. Since they do not, and they still put up a fight for survival, they are looked upon as culprits.
Monkey is an adaptable creature, there are others who succumb to the human menace – so many birds and animal species are now extinct or bordering extinction because they could not put up a fight. We pity their fate and conservation is the favourite topic of discussion at social meetings, but we kill and plan ways to exterminate the ones who try to live. Humans might be the most powerful beings on earth, but there exists a power beyond. In His court monkeys are heard, as are birds, trees, cows, dogs and other voiceless creatures. Karmic repercussions of such treatments doled out to innocent animals are high – flash floods, droughts, land-slides, disease, desertification, no rains – are just some of the signs…
Let’s not forget every animal, every bird, every tree is a shakti, a shakti which was revered by our ancients in every part of the world for they knew that it is in the well-being of one that the well-being of others lie in, as all of us are connected through the five elements.
Monkey is the manifestation of the form of Lord Hanuman, the rudra form of Lord Shiva, the prime bhakt of Lord Ram, the one who carried the entire mountain of sanjeevani buti on his shoulders, the one who attempted to swallow the sun, the one who single handedly put Ravan’s lanka to fire.
While people feed the monkeys in the temples, they beat them in their fields – the need of the hour is to understand their problem and suffering, and undo the injustices done to them – to return to them their home, their trees and their feed.