Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Dining on Diwali

Come Diwali and its celebration time. Lights, crackers, festivities and of course, food! Several arcadian creeds and tribes, make this an occasion to treat themselves to a tasty meat dinner. High on the list of favourites among these is boar meat. The scene is not very different from Obelix's Gaulish village sometimes, with the whole community feasting together on wild boars.

Year after year since my early days, I've witnessed this annual ritual of boar hunting. And this is how it's done. A large group of atleast a dozen people enter the bush with wooden staffs. Hooting and bellowing, they literally beat the hell out of the place. Raising as big a ruckus as they are capable of, they scare these shy and peace loving animals out their hiding and into the open. The fleeing beast is either shot with a rifle, trapped with a net or just brought down with a spear. The ones that are trapped using a net are captured alive, with their legs tied, as seen in the pictures here. Their throats are slit and they are allowed to bleed to their death before their meat is extracted at the meat shop.

This year again, when I had been home for Diwali, I got to witness this, should I say, barbaric act? Four boars were caught alive, of which atleast two were young nursing mothers, who hadn't even grown their trademark tusks. Their piglets supposedly disappeared back into the bush. Without their mother to nurse them, death would only be a matter of time for them. The four captured boars were unceremoniously dumped onto the back of a three wheeler and trucked away. Weighing upwards of 50kgs each, with the meat selling at a hundred rupees a kilo, each of these was easily worth several grand!

Shooting pictures of these helpless beasts struggling to free themselves, I was struck by two thoughts. One, of my own greed of making a story out these creatures' death. I don't want to justify my act by drawing parallels. The other thought that occured to me was how the food chain gave one the authority and/or justification to kill in the name of sustenance and survival. In this case however, it was apparently neither. Yet, there lay these hapless beasts before me, shocked and traumatized, waiting to meet their end.


Nithin "Kitta" Shenoy said...

Boars live near your house? Where is your house exactly? Not in Manipal?

vk said...

Technically speaking, I live in a place where boars live :-D Its a small village called Yedthady, 20kms from Udupi. There is a lot of bushland around where you can also find peacocks, cobras, monkeys and hares among other things.