This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Caste, Race and Puppies
I was reminded of this old friend last week, when an adolescent St. Bernard named Chaplin jumped on me as Basko had done. Chaplin's owner was profusely apologetic, no doubt worried that his pet might have damaged the grey old coot who was silly enough to play with big dogs.
Chaplin's nervous owner also refused, initially, to permit him to play with my Pappu, who is fourteen weeks old and is what I describe as a Pedigreed Mongrelus Gangeticus. Pappu is a quarter the size of Chaplin, and the man was concerned that Chaplin might sit on him and so cause what is known in the trade as Sad and Untimely Demise.
The youngsters are now good friends, and they play together when their walking times coincide. It took strenuous persuasion, but in the end the argument prevailed that puppies know a damn sight more about romping and tumbling than adult humans do.
Alas, Pappu cannot play with another fellow puppy, Boxer, which is a confusing name for an Alsatian. Boxer is walked by a woman whose nose is elevated because of the price she paid for her possession. She speaks of it far more often than she does of Boxer's destructive achievements, as ordinary owners of ordinary puppies do. Boxer is her possession rather than a pet, in the same class as her motor car and her jewels and her chiffons.
A group of small girls plays with Boxer every evening. They had taken to playing with Pappu too, but that stopped abruptly. I could not understand why children who had once come rushing to us began running the other way when they saw us.
Then the littlest little girl, my special friend Sam, let slip the truth. They had been told by Aunty, she said, that Pappu was a stray; he was not from a respectable family. I tried to argue that Pappu was not a stray but a pet, and held up the leash in my hand as evidence. I added that he and Boxer were children just as she and her friends were children.
Sam would have none of it: "His mummy was a stray, so he is a stray. He mixes with other strays. Boxer is a German Shepherd Dog and can't play with dirty strays."
Racism, as the human world practises it, is thrust upon the canine world; and the foul notion of ritual pollution embodied in the word "dirty" - Hindu India's most notable contribution to the planet's bilge - creates castes and untouchability among the furry.
Pappu is a pariah, in every sense of that word. For that I hold him a bit closer when he sleeps with his head in the crook of my arm.