We, the Citizens
By Hugh & Colleen Gantzer
The information we give in this column should have been offered by the sarkar, because it is about the health and wellbeing of our citizens. But our netas, and particularly our mysterious High Commanders, are pre-occupied with higher things. High-flying things. Like expensive chartered flights packed with their political livestock to be corralled in five-star byres in Gujarat and then, even more securely, in weather-ravaged Assam. So who is paying for all these activities? Must you ask? What are Election Bonds for if not to bind the elected in chains of gold?
Who cares for the health and wellbeing of citizens? We do!
Hordes of predatory animals have become a menace in Uttarakhand and Himachal. According to a news-report in a regional daily of 26 June, “4,000 acres have been left fallow in this kharif season” in a Himachal district “due to the growing menace of monkeys and stray cattle”. We shall come to the toxic combination of simians and bovines later in this column. First, however, is the grave and present danger of marauding monkeys. Simians migrating to human colonies frequent garbage dumps. Here their teeth and claws pick up toxins, germs, bacteria and viruses breeding in those festering waste heaps. When such monkeys bite or claw humans, these often lethal bodies pass into the victim’s blood stream. The first action we must take is to hold the wound under clean running water for five minutes to wash away the filth. Then apply an antiseptic and a clean dressing before rushing the victim to a hospital or First Aid Centre. Generally an anti-tetanus shot will ALSO be administered.
But there is also a worst case scenario. The monkey could be a carrier of Rabies, also known as Hydrophobia. It is, therefore, also necessary to start a course of Anti-Rabies shots. We have enquired in Mussoorie and had confirmation from Chemists and Pharmacies. A. Kumar on the ground floor of the Mussoorie Library Building, Singhal Medical Centre in the Library Bazaar, and Pioneer near Batas in Kulri, stock these injections in refrigerators in their establishments.
Please remember that it is extremely necessary to take these shots as soon after the bites as possible and certainly within 24 hours of the bite. Not all monkeys carry the rabies infection but the ones that do are the most aggressive and infect their victims with this madness. The closer the bite is to the brain, the faster the infection spreads in the victim. Once the infection has reached the victim’s brain, there is no cure. The victim starts with a fever and then, quickly becomes violent, biting other creatures, growly and snarling, filled with a terrible thirst but unable to swallow water. In fact the victim is scared of water hence the malady’s other name Hydrophobia.
Hydrophobia can be transmitted from any mammal to any other mammal. It is transmitted through the animal’s spittle. Therefore, all herd animals can get it and transmit it. Therefore, when an abandoned cow competes for grazing rights with other infected mammals, it could be bitten and become a transmitter of rabies through its saliva. IF OUR NETAS, PROTECTED BY UNIFORMED GUNMEN, CAN NOT KILL MAD MONKEYS WHICH THREATEN THE LIVES OF THEIR VOTERS, HOW WILL THEY EXTERMINATE MAD COWS, BULLS AND CALVES? AND IF THEY ALLOW SUCH CREATURES TO THREATEN THE LIVES OF THEIR VOTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, CAN THEY EXPECT VOTES FROM THOSE HEART-BROKEN PEOPLE?
Our Netas and High Commanders should realise that their planned photo-op feeding a stray cow could be their last. Care for the humans who elected you, netaji. They vote, Animals don’t.
(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 firstperson articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.)