Look at the animals kindly,
and they will see.
Talk to them gently,
and they will listen.
We, as humans, are all part of nature. But we treat ourselves as separate entities. We have created boundaries on land as if we are the only living beings on this planet. I just want to ask, “Who gave us (humans) an authority to govern and make decisions about the life of animals and plants?”
1773- Regulating Act, provide for a government, civil and criminal laws in India and from here the British govt started interfering in the affairs of the Indians.
1974- Establishment of the Supreme court in Calcutta. A Western judicial form imposed on rural India.
The Act for the Betterment of India, 1858, the Divide and Rule Policy, Partition of Bengal, suppression of the people in the name of prevention of plague in the 1900s and many more laws and decisions were taken by the Britishers to fulfill their interest and get more control over the masses because for them we were anything but humans. And of late, we humans have forgotten how to treat animals kindly.
We have regulations like the Wildlife Conservation Act 1972, UN Convention On Climate Change, UNEP, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, The Animal Protection Act, 1962, in Africa, existing for the environment today. For example, the Wildlife Conservation Act Of 1972, creates a man-made classification between the animals and plant species which ultimately creates an imbalance between their population, their habitats, and other species on which they survive. Most ironic laws are the afforestation ones. For your interest, you can harm the environment, you can cut the trees and make hundreds of species homeless “but” you have to “plant” new trees so that a forest would be there just for argument’s sake.
Britishers exploited us, stole our resources, put a restriction on us, divided us and made us believe that Indians are inferior to Britishers. Now today, what’s the difference between us and the Britishers of the colonised times? Nothing. We took animals and the entire nature for granted and started regulating them. Encroachments of humans today are more like the provinces made by the Britishers when they were in India. These laws and conventions above may look as the positive steps for the “conservation” of nature just as Britishers used to look towards their laws made for us. Indirectly by implementing these laws, we are now intervening in the lives of animals and plants, which we humans don’t have the right to do in the first place.
Do we humans entirely know about the life cycle of every creature on this planet? Do we even know about our planet entirely? The answer is surely a big ‘no’. Then how can we decide where which animal should live and even try to control its population? We think very childishly that if two persons can live happily and without any worry in two separate countries then why not the animals? They can live very happily in demarcated areas made especially for them like wildlife sanctuaries and the national parks. And at the same time, we warn them that, “hey buddy! look, we may have encroached upon your habitats and your natural corridors but now don’t try to enter into my area. These attitudes towards nature are already having adverse impacts. The conflicts between the animals and humans in the states like Jharkhand, Assam, and Karnataka really disturb me sometimes. What I am trying to say is, we don’t have any authority over any creature on this planet. The very mindset of ours that animals are inferior to us and that makes humans responsible for regulating their lives, is wrong.
And now what I am suggesting is, beyond coexistence i.e. “Acceptance”. Why can’t humans accept animals and plants as their neighbours, their friends, just like we would treat a person next door? I know there are many limitations as animals would not be able to live in such a congested and polluted environment like us. But a classic example of acceptance is the Magsaysay award winner, Mr Prakash Baba Amte. He lives with his animals near to a small jungle in a Gadchiroli district in the state of Maharashtra. He and his wife treat wild animals as their children and take care of them on a daily basis. Well, there may be many people around the world like Mr Amte, who have accepted nature as a part of daily life. But who has seen the future? Power is a very dynamic phenomenon. Today we humans have this power and control over animals and in fact, the most of nature. But in future, there may be a “Quit This Planet” movement by other living beings just like Indians had a “Quit India” Movement to protest against Britishers in 1942. Let’s hope we never come to such a day.