Tuesday, January 5, 2010

24. Every dog has its day

What has the dog been speaking into the phonograph cylinder? One could not be sure, but author Mabel Louise Robinson wondered if it didn't echo the dog's point of view - that his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog! Cunning because the dog is often named after the one his master loves to hate. Frances, Peter, John, Baker and Abbot are no coincidences, each name for the dog has been aimed at denigrating the colonial master - the Gora Saheb. Carryig an abusive expression, kutte has been conveniently adopted by Bollywood movies. No one could tell the villain, "Kutte, Main Tera Khoon Pee Jaoonga!" (Dog, I will drink your blood) more convincingly than actor Dharmendra.

The border conflicts of the 60's and 70's saw many a canine caught in the crossfire. Several were then called Bhutto. Wonder, what political honours were bestowed upon tail-wagging counterparts on this side of the fence? But why has the beloved dog been the only carrier of hate? Why not cat? Is it because we haven't got the guts to bite people ourselves or because the canine has given us its absolute all? Socio-psychologists would need to unveil the lingering enigma of our times. For Winston Churchil, the answer lay in the eyes of the pet. Dogs look upto you whereas cats look down upon you, could be one reason. Try a pig - it looks into your eyes and treats you at par.

Times have changed and so has our hate quotient. With pet nomenclature having gone through dramatic transformation, expression of hate has lost its canine cushion as well. Chunmun, Freddie, Saloni are some of the new names for dogs - rhyming with packaged products - that do not provide the passive route for expressing hate or anger. The net result is active expression, growing violence being the manifestation of intolerance. The therapeutic value of dog is surely being missed. The dog may be the carrier of hate but continues to remain a symbol of what love has on offer - selfless devotion. Though paradoxical, dogs helps humans strike a delicate balance between love and hate.

No wonder, to err is human and to forgive canine.