Allow me to preempt someone from asking why I chose to write this story. No, really, let’s get it out of the way, this nimisham:
â€¢ Did this really have to be blogged?
â€¢ Slow news day?
â€¢ Arenâ€™t X,Y and Q more important?
â€¢ And furthermore, doesnâ€™t your lack of blogging X,Y and Q indicate that you are a heartless bitch who doesnâ€™t care about Pakistan/the Nuke Deal/the environment/immigration??
refer to my finger, for that last one. Itâ€™s an extra-challenging week at work, so I canâ€™t write anything dazzling, not that the performances which I usually phone in are sublime. I donâ€™t have much time, but when somethingâ€™s on my mind, itâ€™s easier (read: cathartic) to type, so a â€œMusingsâ€ post it shall be.
Unless you were the last person to be found during hide and seek yesterday, you have heard the cringe-inducing-on-so-many-levels news about an Indian man â€œmarryingâ€ a dog (thanks, Aggiebabe). It is somewhat like the whole â€œAish weds treesâ€¦twiceâ€-fiasco…except in TMBWITWâ€™s case, she was doing it to compensate for her apparently unfortunate nakshatram and not because she had killed two trees.
An Indian man has “married” a female dog, hoping the move will help atone for stoning two other dogs to death.
P Selvakumar, 33, said he had been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.
The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The “bride” wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.
Superstitious people in rural India sometimes organise weddings to animals in the hope of warding off curses.[BBC]
Buried among the hundreds of jokes which punsters are giddily guffawing over (enjoy your free pass to bitch about how the bride is a bitchâ€¦but more on that later) is to me the most appalling aspect of this story; this man killed two innocent, defenseless creatures.
I didnâ€™t know how he killed them until I settled in to my seat on the subway this morning and found out that he had stoned them. That detail bothered me so much, because my imagination doesnâ€™t need any assistance in recreating actual events. Have you ever seen an animal cowering in front of a human? Yelping and whimpering out of fear and pain? Itâ€™s heartbreaking, but thatâ€™s what this so-called man saw, as he brutally stoned two dogs. I remember the way our late German Shepherds looked terrified and anxious, when they were merely being scolded…and that was after they had committed capital offenses, like uprooting our only curry leaf plant.These dogs must have been perplexed as to why they were being hunted down by this sadist. The whole crime makes that red, squishy thing in the middle of my chest ache a little bit. Achtung, itâ€™s lame that I have to assert this, but Iâ€™m not some granola-lite, bleeding heart Aggie who puts the welfare of puppies over peopleâ€”no, Iâ€™m someone who, like most of you, is well aware of the connection between perpetrating violence against animals and committing it on humans.
Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder. [woof]
Dogs and cats are simple, available targets, and practice makes perfect, if the definition of perfection involves torture and murder. What else has this person done? And to whom? And I recognize that I was born here, in the first world, that I am privileged because of that and thus view this news story through my very American eyes, but at least Iâ€™m aware of this heinous flaw o’ mine. At least I am ashamed that I have this privilege to be bothered by what some consider a triviality.
But he killed two dogs. Thatâ€™s all my mind returns, when I pause between Outlook storms. Maybe I should add the Humane Society to my slowly-expanding list of Causes on Facebook, since Iâ€™m obsessed with this. And dogs in general (and this cat, but sheâ€™s the exception which proves the rule).
Back to our story- after slaying two canines, the groom lost his hearing and according to most stories Iâ€™ve read, became paralyzed. Obviously this is divine retribution for being such a flaming merde-bag, oui? Oui. How could one fix this? But of course! Have him marry a dog! Easy atonement, even as such atoning is gleefully retold the world over, ensuring that some desi kid at a less progressive, less diverse school– like the ones I went to– will be having a GREAT recess and lunch period.
Crowds cheered the newly-weds at the end of the ceremony in Sivaganga district, about 50km (30 miles) east of the city of Madurai.
The “bride”, who is called Selvi, was led to the temple in Manamudurai wearing a sari before vows were exchanged in a traditional Hindu ceremony.
A relative of the groom who attended the wedding said he hoped Mr Selvakumar would now be cured.
“Fifteen years back Selvakumar was physically fit. But, once he attacked a pair of dogs and thereafter Kumar could not move his limbs freely,” the relative, Ramu, told the BBC.
“He tried every cure for his ailment but could not be rid of his disability.
“On the advice of an astrologer and others, he decided to marry a bitch to get cured. Then we arranged Selvakumar’s marriage with a bitch.” [BBC]
Who is going to look after that bitch and protect her from abuse–no, I donâ€™t want to get in the possibilities– or is the prevailing assumption that he’s learned his lesson and now will behave? Speaking of â€œbitchâ€, that is the final snag on my mental stockingsâ€”the B word. Is â€œbitchâ€ commonly-used in India? Does it have the same connotations? Yes, itâ€™s an even more trivial triviality, atop that other triviality, i.e. my soft shpot for dogs.
This entire story leaves me feeling weird and I donâ€™t feel like I have the â€œprivilegeâ€ to explore one of the other aspects of it, which is bothering me- religion. I donâ€™t know enough about Hinduism and though I eat like one, Iâ€™m certainly not Hindu. What does this story tell the world (or us, or martians, or…) about religion and what we are willing to tolerate within it?
Then again, maybe thereâ€™s some weird Christian tradition that makes even less sense to some girl in Madurai*, I donâ€™t know. Maybe sheâ€™s not even thinking of such things. Maybe sheâ€™s already rolled her eyes, written this off as mega-superstitiousness which has nothing to do with her or the life she leads, and moved on. I wish I could shake this or make sense of the maelstrom this story evoked within, as easily.
*the closest city to where this happened, I think.