Thursday, 19 January 2017

Taking the Bull by its horns!

With the battle for the ‘Right to Fight’ raging and the crowds of youngsters taking to my running arena these last two days (and nights before I am told!), I have been riding the horns of dilemma. Though the subject is hugely topical and emotional, the fact that the Bull for whose well being and virility everyone seems to be speaking for, I wanted to speak up for him. My interest in bovine matters is of recent origin, after I turned Vegan and realized the withdrawal symptoms    after voluntarily abstaining from the species better halves nurturing offering. The crowds on the Marina beach are largely peaceful and the interest of youngsters in matter agricultural is heartening. Gandhiji with his head bowed would have appreciated their means of protest, but, the ends seem suspect.
The stated reason for the popular uprising is defending our culture and virility (the Bull’s I meant!). With all the emotion and heat surrounding the topic, I have not been able to understand about how letting they play ‘Taming the bull’ for once a year would make the vanishing breeds survive. The problem of dwindling native species of the male kind is ominous in the days of the sperm banks and IVF even for the males of the human kind! What chance does lesser mortals in the foreseeable future of designer babies!
On a serious note, the imported breeds being preferred by dairy farmers, because of their much superior (even if unhealthy(?)) yield, over native bulls is all too familiar like the hybrid and GM seeds threatening the native seeds. The solution would be to work on the growing awareness of superiority of things Órganic’! Governments and NGO’s should support preservation of native breeds and sell the produce (even if costlier on face value!) to discerning buyers. Animal husbandry department of the government and enterprising and educated dairy farmers would be a key to this. To promote local and native produce can be marketed as promoting nationalism and patriotism (which is the flavor of the season!). The anger and emotional energy aroused by the issue of ‘Jallikattu’ should be channelized to sustain and nurture their interest in farmers and farming.
Only recently in the Hindu Literature festival held over the previous weekend, the fact of largely docile Indian public in the face of queuing for days for cash after demonetization was suggested for a wider sociological study for what makes us Indians so docile, sure enough, the empire struck back so bullishly vindicating their virility!
As a result of the all night vigil on my run route, I have had to reduce the number of loops on the Marina with the longer part of the run being relegated to the Fort and military area. My unusual dress or the lack of it, I feared, could be the proverbial read rag to the bullied youth! I need not have worried, they gave me a rousing cheer when I crossed them and I felt like in the home stretch of Mumbai marathon which I had recently ducked in keeping with my abstention for commercial events!
Enough on the bulls, as I feel that even if it is the steed of my namesake lord, which with their better halves have hogged lot of footage even to the exclusion of matters concerning the human beings. Biscuit (my aggrieved pet due to this partiality!) has not had his limp on the right foreleg not being reported in the press. Then, there is the minor issue of the pain in my right knee which threatens to break my routine runs. We both have decided to soldier on even if limpingly and at the time of going to press, we both are better!

Though I wanted to restrict this post to matters Bullish, but, the chance encounter the day before cannot wait for my next blog. I usually take my final (and a longish!) break near Gandhi statue before my return trip. A man accosted me opposite the DGP’s office. He asked me about my father and, without even waiting for a full reply, said that he is the grandson of freedom fighter VOC! I know any amount of pride in my grandfather’s accomplishment could have been no match for his lineage. I have seen the movie on VOC and Sivaji’s proud visage in that role came alive to me. He said he spoke seven languages and broke into a rousing song (I confessed that my Tamil was only passable!). He had his right hand amputated from below the elbow and he claimed to work as a security guard. The pride in his voice and his sincere face told me that he could be telling the truth. I was reminded of V Sriram, the Hindu columnist who writes about Madras Miscellany every week about lesser known facts of the city, who spoke in the recently concluded Litfest about the stellar ladies of Chennai of yore. I think if this reaches him, he could test the authenticity of the man’s claim and we should help the descendant of the freedom fighter, who staked his all for the country’s sake, so that even if his genuineness is proved we could help him as he seems to be in bad ways! There never is a dull day when I take to my run in the morning (a creaky knee notwithstanding!)  and with such VIP acquaintances any furlough could be costly!

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