Live and let live
Editorial

Live and let live

February 19, 2020

Even as the human species has got embroiled in conflicts at the levels of family, society, community, region, country and world at large, for causes that don’t see the species in good light, the phenomenon of man-animal conflict is being frequently reported on in the media. Public opinion in the circles of literati seems to be skewed in tone and expression holding the speechless species as the authors of the conflict. Incidents of elephants trampling on human beings, tigers attacking grazing cattle, leopards devouring poultry and serpents causing death of people working in agricultural fields are making news whenever they happen. Such incidents being few and far between, as reported in the dailies, conceal the inhuman acts of human beings, killing the denizens of their rightful habitat for satisfying their greed, pleasure and monetary gain, selling ivory, pelt, nails, scales and blood of various animals, unarguably the root cause of one-sided man-animal conflict, the sole author of which is the human being. The law that bars using animals as circus performers and creation of sanctuaries for various categories of animals and also disallowing keeping animals in private custody have been laudable measures, but the conflict issue has remained largely unchanged.

The country’s sages of yore have given expression to the outlook of live and let live saying “let all life forms live happily” (sarvejanaah sukhino bhavanthu… loka samastah sukhino bhavanthu).” India’s Prime Minister has gone on record with his dream of progress for all through participation of all (Sab ka saath, Sab ka vikas). To exclude animals and birds in this scheme of things doesn’t portend well for humanity.

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The kings of the land, as the legend reveals, took to the act of protecting people from animals straying into human habitat. The measure, limited to use of bow and arrow, posed no threat to the denizens of the forest to the extent of creating the much-avowed conflict situation. Yet again, thanks to inventions and advances in technology, man, armed with weapons and ammo, virtually pushed the speechless species to helplessness. If only the animals possessed more awesome means of offence and defence than their claws and teeth, may be the man-animal conflict would lead to a different story. The numbers of major animals such as elephants, tigers, lions, leopards, rhinos and so on, hosted in the country, being wild guestimates, don’t guarantee their survival, given the undesirable human intrusion into their territory, encroaching, laying roads, chopping trees and neglecting forest-fires.

Granting the position of a superior being, preying on animals and yielding to greed, as the undoing of human species at large, can be traced to utter ignorance of ecology of the planet. If species other than human beings are not allowed to live in peace, nature is sure to hurt the life of human species no end.

21 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Live and let live”

  1. Govind Pai says:

    “Live and let live.” Yes, we are headed for apocalypse if we, as a species, don’t mend our ways, continue to consume and to lay waste our planet and destroy every other life form. The chemist and earth scientist Richard Lovelock (still alive at 100!) had propounded the Gaia (after the Greek God of the earth) hypothesis that suggests that organic (and living) and inorganic parts of the earth interact making life for all forms possible. It is a complex homeostasis and destroying certain elements and life forms will have catastrophic consequences and the livability of the planet for us. This prophecy is coming true now. We are digging our own graves as a species. The film “Avatar” tries to educate us about this and about finding a wiser way of living. A way of life where small is beautiful (as the economist EF Schumacher put it) and the only ethical and sensible life is a simple life (as Thoreau detailed in his ” Walden: Or life in the Woods”). There have been five major extinction events in the living history of the earth (including of the dinosaurs in the Cretacian-Tertiary period) and we are in the midst of the sixth, called the Anthropocene (because it is being caused by human or anthropo- activities). (I suggest the book by Elizabeth Kolbert as well as writings on this topic by George Monbiot). Our goose is cooked and our days are numbered unless we make drastic changes in the way we live, our economics and our politics. Our Upanishadic rishis can show us the way. But not our present PM who invites that Brazilian thug, Bolsanaro, (who has opened up the Amazon rainforest to the loggers and miners and declared hunting season on the people of the forests) to our Republic Day and has no vision or wisdom to show us the way, but divides and rules so he can strut on his brief stage. We need to find a new way and a new leader, instead of rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

  2. Jalandhra says:

    @GovindaPai Without in any way diminishing your arguments, let us just pause and think about a city nearby: Mysuru. Look at the decimation of foresst around this City which is inexorably expanding, and the number of automobiles that pollute the City. These days, unlike my days of 1950s and 1960s in Mysuru, the City is well connected by trains in other parts of India, certainly very well connected to places like Mangaluru, Chennai, Belagavi etc.., but yet there is a multiplication of airjourneys from Mysuru and these are bound to multiply further. Aviation is one of the worst environmentally destructive transport systems . Then there is expansion of intercitty lanes from Mysuru to Bengaluru. Indians adopted the car culture in a mindless way, so much so that the footpaths in Mysuru are disappearing fat and if they are still there, thanks to the corrupt MCC, stalls spring up forcing the hapless pedestrian-if there is one in Mysuru these days. to the road. India with its massive 1.3 billion people leave a massive carbon footprint . Taken all of them above, Indians and Mysoreans are not best placed to criticise Brazilian president’s action in respect of Amazonian Forest.

  3. Govind Pai says:

    I take your point, Jalandara. Speaking for myself, I returned from the West because its mindless consumerism and the endless desert of shopping malls sickened me, only to see that we are blindly aping them in these things (without learning things we could from them). I don’t own a car or vehicle, only a bicycle and travel by public transport or walk. When I have to travel to Mumbai or Chennai or Bangalore I use the train. Try to walk the talk. Live as simply as possible in other ways, trying to generate minimal amount of garbage. Have always been a vegetarian (and trying to reduce milk consumption as well) not because of religious reasons, but for ethical reasons and now, additionally, for environmental reasons. Still wear many of the same clothes I wore as a student in the US in the 1980s! Use only mobiles that my daughter has discarded! My role model has always been Thoreau. ” Let your affairs be as one or two, not as hundred or a thousand. And keep your accounts on your finger nail.” Sure you walk the talk too.

  4. jalandhara says:

    I studied and lived in the US during 1970s,and never liked the insurance-driven healthcare, the car culture and packaged fruits and vegetables etc.. that defined their culture. I too remained a vegetarian.teetotaller mostly vegan during those days in the US when I was considered a s a freak. I remain so until today , in Europe, which has a better appreciation of work-life balance, socialised healthcare and has traditional weekday street shops. You can see the latter in Paris , Berlin, London and other cities of Western Europe. The big positive is also the network of good public transport. There is no need to buy a car at all.
    I am assuming that you have recently settled in Mysuru. Having born, bred and worked in Mysuru for a decade until 1960s, I can testify that this city was a heavenly place, with pedestrians and cyclists living in harmony. We used to look at Bengaluru and thought how the quality of life there was many shades inferior to Mysuru. The huge mistake that both the local government and the state government made was to open up Mysuru for huge commercial and industrial ventures, and thus exploitation, and by doing so they destroyed in one stroke all that was good about Mysuru. The car culture, the denuding of forest around the city to bring in more extensions etc.. ensured the eco destruction. Now, the final nail in the coffin is this airport.
    If you abhor the Brazilian president and what he stands for, you would also detest what Modi is trying to do. He is so fixated about the US and the techies that have moved from India, he forgets completely what India was and should never be, another patch aping the US. Once people like him in power starts doing this,there is an inexorable slide towards consumerism and environment destruction. The proposal to make the Chamundi Hill a commercial tourist centre is a good example of the massive onslaught on the eco-balance. What Mysuru and India needs is not a Western , particularly US style culture, with all the negatives that are attached to it, but the recognition that India is not a Western country and there is a crying need to bring back what was lost before this misinformed attempt of transformation. It is too late for that. India, in a way is like Brazil, and when you look at Indian politicians at the state and the centre, they look not different from this Brazil president. That is the massive indictment for a country, which failed to carve its own path based on its tradition and culture.

  5. Govind Pai says:

    Jalandhra, I couldn’t agree with you more! The only reason I had mentioned the Brazilian president was to make the point that Modi inviting him for our Republic Day is a clear signal that they share the same debased vision of exploiting and destroying irreplaceable natural resources for short term gains. Modi and his henchman are leading us to a hell, while promising a heaven. A false prophet who will lead us to our doom, one without any positive vision for our country, good only at bombast and PR and rabble rousing, a snake oil salesman peddling a fake Hinduism.
    On a lighter note, yes, to be a vegetarian in the West in the 1980s was much more difficult than it is now! Remember people asking me where I got my protein from! Like Thoreau did 150 years before, I had to ask them where their cows and cattle got their protein from!

  6. What a culture! says:

    @pai remaining a vegetarian even in 1960s in the US was not difficult, but required a disciplined approach in preparing food for lunch, and if the lunch problem was solved, the dinner or breakfast in the apartment were relatively easy. The problem was always special Mysuru vegetarian dishes, but where there was a will there was always a way. By 1980s, Indian population in the US mushroomed and hence Indian grocery stores were coming up. Otherwise, there was plentiul supply of semolina, rice etc.. plus vegetables.
    I suppose, you arrived in Mysuru assuming that the city was the same as it was in 1950s? During 1950s , and in 1960s, cycling was not so much hazardous, although by early 1970s, two wheelers and autos made life difficult for cyclists. These days, when every Indian wants a car as a status symbol, and the roads are cluttered with these marauding vehicles,I would be really petrified to take my bicycle out , even after praying Goddess Chamundeshwari. Life is cheap in India, and the drivers of these vehicles do not blink even once, before running over a cyclist. Corruption means , the police charges mysteriously disappear.
    I too live in the West, but it requires selection of a place that mostly suits to one’s requirements. At least as Jalandhra said, people are relatively honest in the West and particularly in Europe where the gun crimes are less ( though there are odd incidents). Cycling is not looked upon as the vehicle of a freak. Yuu must have read, that the Indian Nobel Prize winner, Prof Venky Ramakrishnan, the president of the Royal Society in London, cycles to work to his lab in Cambridge from his home in the nearby village..
    Mysuru is almost completing with Bengaluru as a polluted city . The destruction of forest around Mysuru shocked me, when I visited the place 20 years ago. The drinking water coming from the tap is contaminated. The private clinics, dozens of them sprung up in Mysuru,are polluters too, and they fleece you, if you ever become ill!
    Your name suggest that you are of Mangalore/Udipi origin ( viz., TA and TMA pais, the bankers were from Udupi), and if I were you, I would have settled in Udupi, the abode of Lord Krishna, a place I liked much. There was a great poet a name sake too. Mangalore before the linguistic reorganisation of states, belonged to Tamil Nadu. That explains why my friend Dr Hande , the health minister in the MGR cabinet, made his name in Chennai.
    Considering how the shoppers cheat in Mysuru and the adulterated produce that one uses every day, the US Malls after all not that bad!

  7. Govind Pai says:

    What a culture! Jalandhra and Strangeworld! I find the recollections of you three musketeers quite fascinating! All of you with memories of Mysore from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s. And all of you now living abroad.
    Yes, What a culture! TMA Pai was my grandfather’s cousin, though, as my father moved to Madras as a child, we were not in close touch with the family. I do remember him visiting us in Madras in the late 1960s when I was a young boy. Think his concept of wealth as coming from the community and rightfully going back to nourish it, has been lost by his descendants who are merely debased money grabbers. TMA Pai’s pygmy deposit scheme which gave security to thousands of marginal families is rightly recognized as a forerunner to the type of experiments in economic behavioral engineering for which Richard Thaler got the economics nobel a few years ago (https://www.livemint.com/Sundayapp/QQysmmrYn4wvbcSLu87hmM/Before-Thaler-there-was-Pai.html). And yes, my namesake is Manjeshwar Govind Pai, the first poet laureate of Karnataka. My father-in-law knew him well. Apparently a polyglot who was fluent in about 14 languages, both ancient and modern!
    Yes, Dr. Hande was well known in the Madras of those days and was known to my father.
    Your account of your culinary experiments in the US struck a chord! Upma or uppitu with “cream of wheat” was a staple, as was a sambhar incorporating all the vegetables I could get hold of! Many of my Indian friends used to beat a path to my door for that sambhar which they named the “rainbow curry” since Jesse Jackson’s bid for the presidency in the 1980s with a so-called “rainbow coalition” was the talking point in the politics there at the time!
    But, listening to the three of you, wish we had gone a different way (is it too late?) where we had an economics where people (and the rest of nature to which they are connected) matter, not profits and luxury for a few. Where we are not viewed as consumers, but as sparks in an interconnected world encompassing all things animate and inanimate. Remember my trip up the Ganga to Joshimath a few years ago (recreating the diary of my uncle’s travels by mule in 1950) past all the prayags. I felt that sense of the sacred very strongly, until brought to earth by the ‘pilgrims’ throwing plastic and other junk indiscriminately around. And our ‘development oriented’ Modi is planning to widen the roads (piece meal, so environmental regulations can be bypassed) so we can have more of these ‘pilgrims’ jetting in and out over the weekend.

  8. What a culture! says:

    @Pai I wonder why you chose to live in Mysuru, and not in Udipi. My message was whilst we remained vegetarians in 1960s-there were not that many Indians in any US city or town, with the help of the ingredients the US supermarket had, 1980s your time in the US was not difficult, as there were so many Indians in a typical middle size city ( n a typical Mid-West city , in 1960s, you could count hardly 5/6 Indians, and by 1980s, there were at least 300 of them or more!), and as a result of this influx, many Indian grocery stores sprang up-compared to just 1/2 shared between 2 cities in 1960s. Hence, vegetarianism was relatively easy. There were not many microwave ovens in 1960s and in 1980s, one cold buy a cheap microwave oven, which made reheating of Uppuma., rice and Sambar very easy. In 1965, I was the only one who went to the US for studies in our neighbourhood, and in 1980, there was 2 dozen who went to US. During late 1960 and early 1970, the US was mired in political crisis of Watergate and Nixon, and the returning of those US soldiers from Vietnam meant that foreigners found it difficult to get even part-time jobs. Not many permanent visas were issued. The election of Jimmy Carter eased the situation and 1980s were not bad . Hence the influx of Indians from that time.
    Living in any Indian town or village, and remaining a vegetarian does not require effort these days. You might like to investigate what the Fresian or Jersey cows in farms in Bengaluru are fed. Farms in India these days have these high milk-yielding cows by the way. These cows may be fed with high protein ingredients which may not be sourced from plants! Many these days, do not tolerate cow s milk-lactose intolerance is more widespread. I wonder why India does not produce rice milk, grow soya crops to produce the milk and protein related products.

  9. What a culture! says:

    @Pai Regarding Ganga, plastic waste is harmful, but if you had carefully watched, the whole Varanasi sewage is let into this holy river. Modi’s constituency and yet the cleaning process is very slow or not at all. Meanwhile, Modi is taking selfie with yet another world leader or techie billionaire.

  10. Samir says:

    What a culture! Jalandhra and Strangeworld!, Govind Pai, you all pretend to be the cconsciece keepers of the nation and arrogant to bulldoze others opinions about everything that you don’t agree everything in spite of your lack of basic common sense! Haven’t you noticed that you are making this section to either carry your private socialization with fellow mentally retarded individuals or nonsensical rant which only you 4 can appreciate! If your family has not told you which is the obvious truth, you all need psychiatric help!
    Also let me tell you, you are no heroes ! Because of people like you ,decent people have stopped commenting about even relevant topics, you attack them like wild dog and tgey are too decent to point out the fact that you guys are mentally retarded!
    Please don’t take it personal! You guys really need to get your head examined by a good psychiatrist! I request the readers to suggest a good one and tgey all can get the help of the same doctor and bond with each other!

  11. Rahul says:

    @Samir, Thank You very much for pointing that these 4 useless old farts using comments section as their private channel to bond with each other and ganging up snd insulting others at every chance is nauseating! SOM should have to have some check for such people from misuing the public space!

  12. What a culture! says:

    @Samir. Your name shows that you cannot be trusted in India. Have you heard about the CAA?
    @Rahul, you are as dimwitted as your name sake, that fat son of Sonia. Both of you are mere wastrels. If do not like a post do not read it.

  13. strangeworld says:

    Samir, you would have got 20 lashes in a gulf state. Infidels like you can say whatever want in Hindu India
    Rahul, you are a dimwitted non-entity.
    If you are the future of India, God help the country

  14. Sunil says:

    @Rahul,Samir .. Shame on you guys for ridiculing old age and mental retarded! Yes, they strongly display those traits, but they deserve sympathy, not ridicule! You and to understand, many who grew up in Nehrru Congress era had no way of knowing that reality other than what the text books and news 9apers wrote and tgat was underbtge control of Nehru family! When technology advanced and internet revolution started, these people were too grumpy old people to follow ! So, tgey hate everything tgey can’t understand! That is why tgey are bonding with the fellows who are in the same situation!probably tgeir family gas written them off and are seeking friendship with the people with similar issues! Other thing is, tgey have plenty of time tgey don’t know what to do and SOM provides the relief that tgey can spend tgeir entire day writing comments!
    Tgey are like the Japanese soldier in a remote island near Japan who live in a jungle still believed second world war was not over you need to let them live in their reality! Trying to educate them about their misunderstandings is a wasteful effort! Let them complete their life peacefully in their sunset years! Don’t hurt their feelings! As per the proverb, They are too old to teach new tricks!

  15. Govind Pai says:

    @What a culture! I enjoyed your exposition on the gradual intrusion of Indians (we had to be careful to call ourselves The India Students Association. Indian would mean native American!) into the US. Remember when I went I took $350 with me as that was the maximum allowed by the RBI. We had to be sponsored and had to have a research or teaching assistantship to get a student (J-1 or F-1) visa. After 1993 and complete current account convertability all that changed and you began to see students from rich families who had got a visa purely by showing assets in India and were supported by their family money in India.
    Yes, as an animal lover, I get very upset at the the meat and dairy industry, both in the West and in India. When science and industrial methods overwhelm humane feelings, we get Auschwitz like treatment of sentient beings.
    I agree about the effluents flowing into the Ganga from Varanasi and other places. Other than speeches, nothing is done on the ground. I have a friend who was in the managing committee of the Sri Krishna Mutt in Udipi and he told me that the lack of action on cleaning the Ganga and the inaction on “bringing back black money” hugely upset Vishwesha Tirtharu swamy.
    Now we have the delicious irony of seeing the conman Trump being taken around the Taj Mahal (built by the Mughals) and his wife wanting to see a Delhi government school (built by AAP) and them driving past a wall in Ahmedabad, so that they don’t
    get to see the “Gujarat model” at work!

  16. What a culture! says:

    @Sunil I bet, you are the degraded, disoriented and disgraceful band of the new generation of Indians who have no faith, no principles and no education. No wonder, Modi is treating you like animals who should be tamed. We as old generation are more healhy and better educated than you the socalled young who have no clue where India is headed. We are not addicted to the Internet, and have had better degrees than you. Look at the achievments of D t Govinda Pai,. I bet you are not fit to lace his shoes.

  17. What a culture! says:

    Correction: Achievements of Dr Govinda Pai

  18. What a culture! says:

    @Pai I have enormous respect of what you are trying to do in a country which has lost all its moral values. Although, I am of a different faith-an advaita follower, I never missed a lecture by then younger Vishwesha Tirtharu swamy. who was a living saint then. I admired his passion of what was good and what he believed, which I could wholeheartedly subscribe.
    India to day has an younger generation, most of them, some are excepted and hence do not brush all of them with the same accusation, have very little knowledge and belief of where the country is heading to and what responsibilities they have. You see that example by the posters above, who you can guess have no moral compass. I blame their parents for raising them as humans with no appreciation of what the previous generation did . Ask them about the history of India for centuries. They will rush to the Internet. The emphasis of IT education ( I have a computer scientist since the days of IBM 360, and have used every version of microcomputers in to this day of Apple models)eant it has skewed the necessity of learning from other disciplines too_ a well rounded education, I mean.
    The absence of any moral compass means you see drug taking, rapes, alcohol abuse and pornography at a level, not seen in the West. That is in Mysuru and Bengaluru. It is a reflection of India today. We need many like Vishwesha Tirtharu swamy. and politicians who have fervour like those good men and women in AAP. I doubt, it will happen.

  19. Sunil says:

    @WhatACulture aka Crap.. All I was suggesting is to take your private male bonding love affair to outside this comment section! With so few brain cells, you could not get the point! I know senile people have hard time getting the message! You guys say Ganga is not clean? Why didny7you stay back? You guys were in the right place for good after life at least! You guys missed the chance!
    Modi at least tried to clean Ganga. Do you think we should have given a contract to Vadra to clean Ganga? That would make Nehru’ s soul and you guys too vary happy .
    I can understand your frustration life around you has moved too fast! Even Chai wala and vegetable vendors on street use cell phones and Paytm! They can handle technology better than you ! All you guys are capable is 2 things , Blame Modi and talk of your Nehru days! 2. Wait for death .unfortunate to SOM readers that you have all the free time!

  20. what a culture! says:

    @Sunil Your pathetic rant shows more about your dismal upbringing for which your parents should be really ashamed, Your brain seems to have been morphed the wrong way.

  21. Sunil says:

    @What a culture.. you are a stupid pathetic lowlife arrogant a$$hole who can’t even mention your real name! That speaks volumes about your upbringing

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