Andaman Chronicle

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Become a Dolphin Ambassador

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

I have just returned from an amazing assembly of a 100 very special people with visionary ideas, inventions and research who gathered at the request of Alexander and Nicole Gratovsky at Delphi, Greece. The Gratovskys are Russian anthropologists who are using their wealth to explore the nature of consciousness and the purpose of mindfulness. They believe, on the basis of their research, that the key to survival on the planet are dolphins and whales, and the more we kill them the closer we are to the end of the world. 

After listening to their remarkable TED talk I believe them too. They are not dreamers but practical scientists who live in Tenerife, which is a meeting point for cetaceans, so as to be able to pursue their research with these remarkable beings. They believe that the dolphin is more intelligent than human beings, and far better adapted to saving the world, and they have opened Dolphin Embassies all over the world to represent them. Their site is www.dolphinembassy.org. My friend Dr Ashok Khosla, who has spent his life finding practical solutions for a successful rural economy and runs Development Alternatives, is the Dolphin Ambassador in India. I would like to apply to be one of the people working in this embassy- and so should you. They have a Dolphinity World Festival where they teach about the mind and languages of cetaceans, show documentaries – I saw a deeply moving one that they have just made and show you how to experience personal contact with the universe.

This is what I learnt from the Ted Talk:

50 million years ago Earth’s water was inhabited by cetaceans. Many million years later another species of being, humanoids emerged. But strangely, while the Earth is 70% water, which is three dimensional and feeds life, the humanoids chose islands of land.

People and dolphins have much in common. Both of us are air breathers : dolphins come up to breathe. We have the largest and most organized brains – but dolphins more than people. Both are individuals with specific personalities and unique features. They both pass the scientific mirror test of self awareness (recognizing yourself in the mirror) but dolphins can do it as soon as they are born . Humans can only do it after we are about 1.6 years old. They sing, have a sense of humour, curiosity, wonderment, memory, the ability to learn, a language. The dolphins and humans are the only species that make love face to face, and do it not to propagate the species but for the joy of it.

Both pass the most important test for intelligence: non reactive behaviour. They are both guided not by external factors, but by an internal moral code that overcomes even the instinct for self preservation. Both believe in love, friendship, empathy that goes beyond momentary self interest.

But this is where the similarities end.

Humanoids, or people, multiplied at an astonishing rate. While their destruction of Earth was initially slow, in the last two centuries the development of technology has not been to improve their well being. It has all been aimed at destruction. Humans chose to want to master nature and in the process destroy it.

Dolphins want to interact with nature and use love as their means of preserving it. While they are never asleep, being aware even when they are resting, dolphin actions have three features : play as a means to pass on information, love as a source for every action, and a respect and embracing of their surroundings. Imagine if we could be like them in our approach. People simply want to create and consume material objects and value their success by the amount they have of what they do not need. Dolphin culture is simply to own nothing but to rejoice in each other, the planet and the universe.  They have a complex social interaction and use their brains , hearts and highly developed organs of perception to receive and transmit.

Another important difference that makes them superior to us is that their culture of passing on of knowledge is entirely stable. Ours is so unstable that it depends totally on temporary social contracts, and is often lost or questioned by each generation. Do you remember where your grandmother used to get her food from ? No. But dolphins pass on each bit of knowledge and remember it.

Another feature of intelligence is language. But while ours is now so convoluted, and unstable, that we talk in codes and mostly lie, their language is direct and in perfect harmony with their mental and emotional state.

We, as a species, are entirely disconnected from nature and we make sure that our children move away as quickly as they can. We have no more play – the swings and see saws of childrens’ playgrounds are not play, but simply things to do to use up time. We have forgotten why we came to the planet, what can make us happy. Instead, we have destroyed more than half the species on the planet and polluted 9/10th of it. Most of our non renewables are exhausted. We are the unhappiest we have ever been. At any given point there are over 100 wars going on - local, national and international. In every village in my constituency there are at least 30 fights every week over land, walls, animals, caste and whatever else we can think of to make ourselves more miserable. There are over 20 million attempted suicides every year from loneliness and sickness.

The nobleness, the gentleness, the pure joy that dolphins and whales radiate, makes me cringe to be a human. They suffer, as we do, from depression, but that is usually brought on by external events like the loss of loved ones or the loss of freedom. A new feature of mass suicides is now a part of dolphin culture, but that is brought on by the unbearable acoustic pollution of their environment.

But even more important than who dolphins are, the Gratovskys and their scientific teams have discovered that cetaceans are the only species that are keeping us from total and instant destruction, by preserving our water and air. They bring up chemical compounds from the depth of the oceans to the surface that form two thirds of the planet’s air. Biologists call it the big biological pump. The songs of the whales, which represent the strongest and most harmonically organized sound, have a therapeutic influence on polluted and deformed water (anyone who does not believe this should look at Dr. Masaru Emoto's work, which was laughed at earlier but has now proven to be true).

Annual meetings of cetaceans in different parts of the globe are key events that decide the planet’s survival.

We have just a few Gangetic dolphins left in our rivers. But no government has made any effort to conserve them. Instead, we encourage net fishing and this entangles their gills and kills them, as they cannot surface to breathe. While we and China are decimating our own dolphins and giving Padma Shris to people who write books about them, Japan , Denmark and Norway are doing their best to kill the rest. Japan refuses to obey the world decision not to kill whales, and sends out whale killing fleets every day for no reason, since they don’t even eat them. Denmark’s Faroe Island’s have an annual festival in which they herd hundreds of dolphins into an inlet with their boats and then every human, including children, get into the water and stabs them repeatedly till the entire inlet is full of blood. No reason except the desire to kill. Norway has also decided to kill cetaceans.

Do we not realise that the end of cetaceans is the end of us. In that remarkable book, So Long and Thanks for the Fish, (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy) written by Douglas Adams as a philosophical look at the viciousness of mankind, the dolphins simply decide to leave the planet and, as they go, the world disintegrates.

Become a dolphin ambassador immediately. It means changing yourself to live in harmony with your surroundings, with a lack of want for material things, and going forward to do good for the planet. Don’t eat fish if you want the fishing fleets, that wage war on the creatures of the sea, to stop. Plant trees and nurture them. Meditate. Don’t fight – make a joke of everything. Teach yourself and your children the value of all species. Take an active position against Japan, Norway and Denmark and, if you can do nothing else, write to their embassies here. See the Gratovsky’s Ted Talk on You Tube ( TEDxSadovoeRing – YouTube.  ) It will change your vision. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

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Judgments on Animal Cruelty

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Some of our judges are now beginning to understand what animal cruelty does to a nation and act on it.  Acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Honourable Justice Rajiv Sharma, has written some of the finest judgements on animal cruelty. These should be taught to all judges that come for training, in specific subjects, to Bhopal. Justice Sharma is known for expeditious disposal of cases and his concerns for nature and environment. Justice Sharma has delivered landmark judgments, such as granting living entity status to the Ganga and the animal kingdom. And, when the mind deepens and expands, it understands injustice and suffering for all, so I am not surprised that Justice Sharma has also delivered important judgments such as deletion of caste from FIRs, directives for preventing suicides by farmers, abolishing age-old system of solitary confinement for death penalty convicts, and a series of other reformist orders in the realm of education, health and mental health.

Now comes the judgement from the Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and Justice Arindham Lodha banning animal sacrifice in the temples of Tripura. The public interest litigation was filed by a former judicial service officer, Subhas Bhattacharjee, last year. This is a welcome judgement, because it clearly understands the greed of priests and the economic roots of inventing such a ritual. It also understands that barbaric rites have no place in a civilized society – not even when they go under the banner of “culture”. For the first time in 525 years there will be no sacrifices at the Durga Bari temple in Agartala. And that is wonderful.

All over the world the judiciary is taking note of animal cruelty, and intervening in areas where the executive is too lazy, indifferent, or too vote conscious to intervene.

On August 19th, 2019 the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) released a resolution regarding animal cruelty, and its link to other forms of violence. This is what the resolution says :

"Empirical research demonstrates a direct link between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, including partner abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse. In homes where serious animal abuse has occurred, there is an increased probability that some other type of family violence is also happening. The NCJFCJ is committed to upholding the rights of all parties and victims, the safety of all family members, and the safety of the community. Animal cruelty is a crime of violence and may be indicative of past or future violent acts.".

Researchers have found that 43 percent of U.S. school shooters, between 1988 and 2012, had histories of animal abuse.

The NCJFCJ recognizes that in the context of juvenile and family court cases, including cases of domestic violence, the court should consider the welfare of abused animals in reaching its decisions. There is a demonstrated link to the safety of human beings at the hands of the animal abuser, when animals are subjected to cruelty. Abuse of a companion animal is one of the four most significant risk factors for someone becoming a domestic abuser, and is an indicator of the use of controlling violent behaviours. Eighty-nine percent of women, who had companion animals during an abusive relationship, reported that their animals were threatened, harmed or killed, by their abuser. Children who exhibit cruelty towards animals are more than twice as likely to exhibit violent behaviours.

“As judicial officers, it is our responsibility to consider the importance of animals as family members in juvenile and family law decisions,” said Judge John J. Romero, Jr., NCJFCJ president. “The NCJFCJ is calling for judges to consider the time and resources necessary to address animal cruelty allegations associated with cases that come before their bench to achieve just results and prevent future violence against both humans and animals.”

The NCJFCJ will collaborate with animal welfare organizations and experts to develop, and make available, educational resources and trainings to assist judges in better understanding the issues and implications of juvenile and family court cases involving animal cruelty.

Earlier this year, the NCJFCJ and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) held the first-ever judicial convening on animal cruelty. The meeting resulted in the resolution and the creation of the new technical assistance bulletin, Animal Abuse Issues: What Juvenile and Family Court Judges Need to Know,

providing guidance for judicial officers regarding the link between animal cruelty and family, and interpersonal violence; animal cruelty in relation to family violence, child abuse and neglect, juvenile offender, and elder abuse cases.

Judges all over the world are in a unique leadership position to spearhead an understanding of the link between animal abuse and other forms of violence. Their judgements can lead to sustainable solutions to build safer communities for both, humans and animals alike.

Are they the only law enforcement people that think that animal crime and crime in general are related ? No.

From January 1st, 2019 , acts of cruelty against animals are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI’s criminal database. The Bureau’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is now collecting detailed data from law enforcement agencies on acts of animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse, from 18,000 city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies. Their studies show that cruelty to animals is a precursor to larger crime.

In the United States, a sheriff is an official in a county, or independent city, responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. Many sheriffs have the role of a police chief. The National Sheriffs’ Association has been a leading advocate for adding animal cruelty as a data set in the Bureau’s collection of crime statistics. The association for years has cited studies linking animal abuse and other types of crimes—most famously, murders committed by serial killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz. The organization also points out the overlap animal abuse has with domestic violence and child abuse. “If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting a human,” said John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “Identifying and analyzing animal cruelty crimes will provide an important tool for law enforcement. People need to shed the mindset that animal cruelty is a crime only against animals. It’s a crime against society. By paying attention to these crimes, we benefit all of society.”

If you know any judges, please cut this article out and send it to them. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

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Having Animals as Party Symbols

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Many years ago, when T.N. Seshan was Election Commissioner, Dr. Jayalalithaa’s party had a rooster (cock) as a symbol. During the state election thousands of birds were tied to the top of fast moving vehicles. Their legs broke and there were dead bodies of cocks strewn all over Tamil Nadu every evening. I prevailed upon the EC to have a deeper look at animals used as symbols, and he promptly banned as many as he thought fit. Unfortunately, the BSP remained with its elephant and they misuse this poor animal horribly. During my election in Sultanpur in 2019, my opponents rented an elephant and took her from village to village. She and her mahout died stepping on an open wire lying in water. The party says the elephant symbolizes physical strength, will-power and the hugeness of the Bahujan Samaj. The Assam Gana Parishad also has the elephant which signifies physical strength, willpower, fearlessness, stability and excellent foresight.

Two other small parties, the MGP and the Hill States People Democratic Party, have the lion. For the MGP it represents  determination, and the HSPDP says it stands for “party’s objective to defend the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the state from probable political selfish motives” – whatever that means. The All India Forward Block West Bengal has the tiger which represents “Symbolic strength and determination of the leadership of a statesman like Netaji, prepared for worst circumstances.” The Shiv Sena has a tiger on its flag, but its election symbol is a bow and arrow.

There are 48 parties across the world who have animals as their symbols.

The American Democratic Party symbol is the donkey. Apparently the democratic presidential candidate in 1828, Andrew Jackson, got so fed up with being called a jackass that he made the party adopt the donkey as a symbol, using it to personify strong will and flexibility. The Republicans have the elephant. Once the cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a donkey in sheep’s skin terrorising other animals. All the animals are scared except the strong, fearless elephant that is labelled as “The Republican Vote”. The Republican Party promptly adopted it.

The Prohibition Party of the US has the camel. “Camels don't drink very often, and, when they do drink, they drink only water”. It had one hump first and then it became two humped so as not to confuse it with the logo on Camel Cigarettes. The Constitution Party has the Bald Eagle which is the official bird of the US and has been brought back from near extinction. The Modern Whig Party has the owl representing wisdom and the middle ground. And the American Solidarity Party has the pelican – a Christian bird that represents the seeking of the common good before its own, valuing love over power.

The Bear is the symbol of the United Russia Party, which has dominated political life in Russia since the early 2000s. The Russian Bear (a Eurasian Brown Bear) is a widespread symbol used in cartoons, articles and plays since the 16th century, and relates to the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the present-day Russian Federation. Westerners use it in caricatures to imply that Russia is "big, brutal and clumsy."

The Capitalist Party (ZACP) of South Africa has the head of a purple cow. Cattle represent wealth in sub Saharan Africa and purple is the colour of prosperity . It was a toss up between showing cash on the flag. So, instead the cash cow was chosen. The Inkatha Freedom Party South Africa has three elephants representing majesty. Botswana Congress Party also has a cow, but it is black and represents both cattle and mining as the twin pillars of prosperity.

Ghana’s Convention People’s Party has a red cockerel to bring in a new dawn. The Maat party of Zimbabwe has a mythical bird called the Sankofa Mythical Bird: a bird flying with its head facing backward, a precious egg held by its beak, and its legs facing forward. Sankofa, translated from the Twi language, means to return and take it, to have a successful return to your roots. The Social Democratic Party of Nigeria has a white running horse as its logo, symbolising progress.

Kenya has lots of parties and most of them have animal symbols. The Agano Party uses the lamb which represents meekness, purity, blamelessness and reconciliation. Like the sacrificial lamb, party members are ready to die for the sake of Kenyans. The Shrikisho Party of Kenya has the shark, peaceful yet dangerous when enraged. Its size symbolises greatness and power. The Party of Development and Reform has the symbol of a bull, implying that it is unstoppable from assuming power. Its sharp horns are its protection against enemy parties. The People’s Empowerment Party has the elephant, signifying the strength and firmness of the party in protecting human rights, and the rule of law, through people’s empowerment. The Third Way Alliance of Kenya has the camel. Its ability to live in harsh environments is a sign of determination. It is a master at survival and teaches how to make the most out of its resources. This implies that the party will be resourceful and determined to create wealth for all. It supports education for nomads and pastoralists. The National Liberal Party of Kenya has a giraffe: gentle of spirit but strong of kick. Its long neck symbolises the ability to see the future and obtain things that are now out of reach. Kenya African National Union has a cock symbolizing the dawn of the new day, freedom and agriculture and national reserves.

Closer to home, Nepal’s Rashtriya Prajatantra Party has the holy cow on its flag. Sri Lanka’s New Democratic Front has the swan as a symbol of hope. Since the swan is not native to Sri Lankan, and it is better known for fidelity rather than hope, it seems an odd choice. Myanmar’s National League for Democracy has a peacock as its symbol. The green peafowl is one of the national animals of Burma, adopted by the monarchy in the 18th Century and then appropriated by the anti-colonialist movement as their emblem. The NLD continues the tradition. Union Solidarity Development Party of Burma has a lion which symbolizes solidarity. The All Pakistan Muslim League has a falcon who symbolizes martial strength. Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif’s party, the PML, is symbolized by the tiger. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle has a red-eyed bull with curving horns - President Sukarno, known as Bung Karno is symbolized as the bull. The Great Indonesia Movement has an eagle called Garuda Panchasila symbolizing strength, power, glory and religious tolerance.

The Libertarian Party, UK’s choice of a blue and red porcupine, representing docility and defensiveness, is an original thought. The UK Independence Party has a Purple Lion’s Head. Alliance Belgium has the Belgian Lion, also the national symbol, representing unity and strength. The Communal Democracy Party of Cyprus has a dove to symbolize peace. The Slavonia Baranja Croatian Party has a running Marten, a type of weasel. In the Middle Ages, marten pelts were used as payment in Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia. Thebanovac, a coin used between 1235 and 1384, included the image of a marten. This is one of the reasons why the Croatian word for marten, kuna, is the name of the modern Croatian currency. The National Party of Slovakia has the eagle which symbolises the uncompromising struggle for people’s rights.

The Democratic Party, Turkey has a white horse on a red background. Interestingly, it derives from the popular rural mispronunciation of its name, Demokrat Parti as Demir Kırat ("iron white horse"). The logo became a white horse on a red map of Turkey. In 1990 the horse became the national animal of the Turks. The Democratic Left Party of Turkey has a white dove to symbolize pacifism and social accordance.

Agricultural People’s Front of Peru has a fish which represents coastal agricultural communities. Brazilian Social Democratic Party has a toucan. Party members are called tucanos. Cartago Green Party of Costa Rica has a Toucan to represent ecological ideas, and so does the Ecological Green Party of Mexico. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

  • Written by Denis Giles
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