Animal sacrifice at the altar of religion

Maneka Gandhi

Maneka GandhiLast week my team in Delhi raided a shopkeeper who sold religious artifacts. They found tiger and panther claws, cut pieces of tiger and deer skins, peacock feather fans,necklaces of snake bones and fans made of yak tails ( called chowries). The man was arrested. This is not the first time we have caught wild animal parts destined for the “pooja” table. Muslims buy owl feet and dozens of owl traders have been caught by us.They take the feet and the Hindu mendicants take the eyes of this poor bird.

Many Hindu mendicants, swamis, that defy all the wildlife laws in this country and are responsible for a large parallel trade in killing and selling animals. They sit on deer and tiger skins , they wear deerskin slippers, many who congregate in Allahabad for the Kumbh openly wear big cat skins which I am sure they sell and regularly replenish. They fan their idols with chowries which have been taken from dead yaks and act as fly whisks, they blow their trumpets on conch shells which are the skins of the very rare sea snail or mollusk from the Turbinella family ( The conch is supposed to represent life. How killing the animal will bring life is beyond me). Many of them wear tiger and bear claws on filthy threads round their necks supposedly to drive away evil forces. Ever since the fengshui practitioners have been blabbering on about turtles bringing luck to a house and forgetting to mention that they mean stone turtles, the Hindu mendicants have now added turtle shells to their ungodly collection of pooja items.

The list doesn’t stop there.

Deer musk ripped out of the stomach of slaughtered male muck deer – of which there are only a few hundred left in one protected sanctuary- is put by them as tikkas on the forehead. In fact we found that the Thirupati priests were capturing civet cats from the wild and taking musk from their anal glands – which can only be gotten if the animals are whipped. This was being sold to devotees for Rs 500 per tikka. Unfortunately the priests could not be sent to jail as the Trust makes so much money that it has political protection.

Black buck horns are also used as conches. These are not shed but cut from the head of dead antelope after they have been shot. Cobra bone necklaces are another favourite – with Buddhist monks as well. I bought one from a shop in Kashmir and they claimed they had got it from a monastery. Skulls are another decoration: they range from small domestic cat and monkey to panther/tiger.Then there is ivory of every kind: from the tusk itself to bangles , carved teeth or simply bits and pieces which have been “ blessed”. Some of them have the elegant long fingers of the Hanuman langur strung together on a thread like charms on a bracelet. The bones of the rhesus macaque monkey are sold separately. Some even carry shriveled monkey eyes.

Along with all this paraphernalia are the small musical instruments : usually tribal drums covered with cow skin but more often monitor lizard skin. And many of them , specially those “ priests” that have small mandirs usually made on community or forest land that they have grabbed and deified overnight by building a ramshackle mandir keep Hanuman langurs which are tied to the entrance.

No wonder these Hindu priests just won’t give up animal sacrifice. In Kamakhya they slaughter pigeons every day , in Kalahandi it is goats and buffaloes. In Darjeeling it is the Mithun, in so many of these shady wayside “mandirs” it is chickens. Sacrifice has nothing to do with Hinduism which is the kindest gentlest religion possible with its link to all creatures of the earth. We accept the killing of chickens,goats,pigs and buffaloes. How about this :” Hindu priests butchered dogs in a Kutta cleansing ceremony performed to remove the vibrations created by the Bali bombing. Their heads were kept during the yagna ceremony. Balinese Hindus believe today's ceremony will expel evil from the island.” The only lot that need to be expelled are these fraudulent Hindus.

Hindusim stands for the ethical treatment of animals and is compatible with the Vedic teachings which had replaced the earlier pre-Vedic practice involving human sacrifice with non-human (animal and vegetables) offerings in the Vedic era. Now all animal sacrifices need to be stopped. It is a natural evolution of human consciousness for the better treatment of the environment and other creatures.The Vedas repeatedly enjoin the Hindu to take care of Creation and act responsibly.

You can help rid the country of these poachers and traders disguised as religious men. Whenever you come across a religious artifacts shop ask for one of the articles I have written about and then call the police under the Wildlife Protection Act. When you see one of these mendicants ask him to sell you something for luck and if he brings out one of these parts from his filthy bag, have him arrested. People for Animals does this regularly and thanks to our teams , there are many many godmen saying their prayers in jail

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