Even as the entire nation gets ready for another week of holidays this month, we have to grudgingly accept that Tihar is a discriminatory festival in which some animals are treated more equally than others.
Only crows, cattle, pooches and half-elephants are deemed holy enough to be worshiped next week. Not fair. What about the rest of the animule kingdom? Why leave out pangolins? Is there any reason a gnu isn’t god? How come crow is holier than vulture? The ancient Egyptians had feline goddesses, yet Catmandu’s cats do not make the grade to be venerated. Who made these rules anyway?
Such politically incorrect speciesism has crept into other aspects of our everyday life. For example, during the monsoon it only ‘rains cats and dogs’, not trouts and salamanders. Only a bull is deemed worthy of being taken by the horns in a china shop. Mules are stigmatised as stubborn, whereas beavers are extolled as being eager.
And what really gets my goat every time Tihar comes around is that the psycho mutt who terrorises our neighbourhood and keeps us awake all night by barking at the Universe gets to be garlanded and fed treats on Monday even though he is such an ass whole.
I hereby, henceforth and hereinafter propose to form a political pressure group in the next Parliament to ensure a fairer and more inclusive Tihar under the new Constitution so that this country’s canine elite is stripped of its divine right to monopolise being man’s best friend forever.
As a start, we could begin by cleaning up the English language of all speciesist figures of speech so that no animal is demeaned or diminished, or its feelings hurt ever again. We should purge the language of all animal similes that belittle them, and find alternatives.
For example, when we say that current campaigning for elections in November is moving at a ‘snail’s pace’, are we not being judgemental about the velocity of slug locomotion? Think of what an insult it is to stallions in general and Wolf Blitzer in particular when we say that delegates at the Baddie party convention were ‘wolfing down the hors d’oeuvres’. And in describing coalition politics as a ‘can of worms’ we have to be sensitive about offending our age-old grassroots heritage of vermiculture.
Let us replace speciesist language with more politically correct formulations:
WRONG: Sher Bahadur Deuba’s fifth term as prime minister is proof that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
CORRECT: If Sher Bahadur Deuba is prime minister for a sixth time, we can be sure the country will go to the dogs. Yay!
WRONG: Only those candidates willing to lick the ass of the party president got tickets to contest elections this time.
CORRECT: The party president has been a visionary statesman for donkey’s ears.
WRONG: The Finance Minister has set aside a lion’s share of the budget in allocations that benefit his cronies.
CORRECT: Leopards are generally satisfied with the location of their spots and will not change them even if forced by the Supreme Court.