The Donkey Who Went To Jail Breaks His Silence


The Donkey Who Went To Jail Breaks His Silence

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

I used to think that the class system in India was only restricted to humans, but I was wrong. My cow friends can walk in the middle of the road in heavy traffic, have Aadhaar cards issued to them, people will fight and kill for them, but I eat when I’m hungry and suddenly I’m in jail! To cows who complain all the time about their difficult life: You need to check your privilege.

I was arrested and jailed for four days for eating some plants. Even people who get arrested for tweets and Facebook posts were laughing at me, which I thought was a bit rich. I don’t want to create controversy, but didn’t some guy threaten to behead an actress? He’s still roaming free but I have a criminal record now. Vijay Mallya owes the country so much money and we still let him go to the United Kingdom but sure, I’m the most stupid animal on the planet.

Okay, we probably made the mistake of consuming expensive plants but I’ve been raised in India and I’ll do what we Indians usually do, point fingers at others. Are monkeys ever arrested for playing with wires and cables? Are crows arrested for shitting on people wearing white shirts to work? Isn’t this a case of police overreach?

Now the jail authorities say that they did warn me, even though we don’t even speak the same language. But no one believes me. If I were an adult in my right mind, spoke the same language and said what I felt, would that change things? I doubt, ask Hadiya. Sure, they could have detained my master Kamlesh (no, not the soluchan kid) who understood everything that was being told to him, but they always go for soft targets, don’t they? As a donkey, I am offended that we are used as a slur for stupid humans.

As a donkey, I am offended that we are used as a slur for stupid humans.

I thought India was about due process of law but we were all just locked in without an FIR or investigation as our master kept searching for us. It was like a game of hide-n-seek, except we weren’t playing voluntarily. I must admit, I was excited about the mugshot, it was the only time someone wanted to click a picture of me. Eight of us were stuffed in a cramped cell, the jail condition was so bad. Sanjay Dutt really gave me a false impression of what prison time would look like.

We all know that animal rights are a sham in India. PETA is busy with elitist issues like veganism but who will speak for poor donkeys like us? Nobody takes anything seriously that has the word donkey in the sentence. Donkeys could’ve executed a terror attack but people would still read the headline and laugh. Our PR game needs to be stronger to change mindsets — maybe we should approach Rahul Gandhi’s team. Only he would know what we go through.

If there’s a silver lining to my ordeal, it was that our master went to a BJP leader who helped bail us out. I think it is going to do wonders for the leader’s CV. Not many administrators can boast of having used their political clout and influence to set free a bunch of donkeys.

Which brings me to the real, all-important question: Who is the real donkey in this country? I’m certainly not the one jailing animals, and letting criminals roam free.