About 100 stray dogs at Sanskruthi township near Infosys campus in Anojjiguda were poisoned and burnt on the night of October 5, 2018 by dog killers, hired allegedly by the township committee. It made the headlines nationwide but how many of us were rattled by it? How many of us spent sleepless nights over it? At least one, N. Pravallika, who has spent her entire life striving to get them the personhood they deserve and can hear their muted cries.
My first siblings
Born to the first set of animal lovers she ever knew, her parents, Pravallika was raised in a home that had adopted several stray animals that her parents had rescued. Her fondness for them was, therefore, inevitable, they were the first siblings she knew. "When I was little, I used to wonder why some of the stray dogs would disappear every now and then, till I found out one day that they were been taken away by the municipal corporation and electrocuted. I was shaken, helpless, traumatized. That day I decided to fight for the rights of these guileless, artless creatures. Twelve years later I became a rightful activist armed with knowledge and resolve.
'I have seen suffering of animals everywhere, which shaped me into an animal rights activist. Even as a software engineer, I dedicated my weekends to the welfare of animals and I joined Blue Cross of Hyderabad as a volunteer in 2011. They further honed and shaped my objective and after two years as a corporate employee I quit to follow my cause wholeheartedly'.
The hurdle race to humanity
She has dedicated herself to various animal welfare activities like dog census, feeding them, medical treatment, fostering them, and finding homes for them. But the road is more rock-strewn than one can imagine, she shudders every morning as she picks her phone to learn of animal cruelty cases.
Although she was largely driven by her heart, Pravallika followed her passion by arming herself with formal training by undergoing animal welfare course from TANUVAS, Chennai and attended residential training on Animal Laws of India at NALSAR, Hyderabad.
The horror stories of the 'animal farm'
Mass culling of dogs continues in the state of Telangana despite several public uproars in the past, in fact in May 2018 as well. Is that what we would do to control human population burst? Animal birth control is the no-brainer solution here but obviously that would mean a lot of work that humankind is willing to overlook for cheaper and quicker and often inhumane alternatives. 'As stray dogs were not vaccinated, frequent rabid cases were seen because of which a dog starts biting and people instead of getting them treatment like they would a pet dog, start chasing and killing the dogs brutally', Pravallika explains. Dogs were beaten to death and sometimes axed and beheaded. How can this be amusement to anyone?
Even in this era of evolved human rights and technology, it is alarming that there are still many communities and people who are governed by superstitions and would unscrupulously slay innocent animals to seek illusory benefits. Pravallika deals with brutality, cynicism, counterrevolutionary and rigid mentality. Starting from negligence of pet dogs to killing and poaching of wild animals as well as cats and rabbits, there are several evils that she combats daily.
Champion against the dark ecology
'As an environmentalist, I make sure every step that I take is an eco step and a green move. Leading a zero-waste lifestyle, responsible waste managing, eco-consumerism, growing my own food and living a sustainable life is how I contribute to the fight against the dark ecology facing us'. Pravallika has adopted 12 dogs and she credits her personality and strength to her parents and family who sensitized her to a harmonious living at birth – a belief and a practice that she has endeavours to inculcate. Unfortunately she is trying to evoke sentiments that should not have been missing to begin with. And unfortunately it is man that has altered his planet unrecognizably, beyond renewal and beyond redemption. Take a pause and think, saving humanity biologically and ethically is not the burden of any one person, it will take all of us, every human.