July 08, 2020
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Care And Compassion For Animals Come Naturally To Her

Every evening, Bose moves around Patna's streets carrying foodstuff and a first-aid kit with which she tends to stray creatures.

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Care And Compassion For Animals Come Naturally To Her
GIVEN a choice between man and beast, the frail, bespectacled lady with the attractive smile would choose the latter without a moment's hesitation. She's Arpita Bose, Patna's lone crusader against cruelty to animals. Despite being called 'eccentric', 'crazy', 'kutton-billi wali madam' and inviting laughs and jeers from sceptical neighbours. The fortysomething lecturer isn't unduly bothered. She's devoted to Care and Compassion for Animals (cca), the welfare organisation she founded for abandoned, stray and wounded animals six years ago.

"It isn't a cause that I'm pursuing, just a feeling," says Bose, an animal lover since childhood. "I find peace and satisfaction in caring for my quadruped friends." She inherited her love for animals from her parents who had always wanted to do something in this regard. She carried it further by getting down to serious work in the congested, dirty streets of Patna overrun with disease-ridden strays. She began moving around every evening with her bag full of biscuits, breads, rotis and a first-aid kit with cotton, potassium permanganate, soap, cloth, bandages, anything she might need to tend to these wretched creatures. Now it has become a routine part of her life, as she shrugs away the risk involved. "Well... it is indeed risky but once they sense your compassion and honesty, nothing comes in between," says Bose with an infectious smile.

But what pains Bose most is the attitude and the kind of response she gets from the people of her locality. Two years ago, seven pariahs which were being cared for at her residence-cum-shelter were brutally beaten, stoned and tortured to death with iron rods by her neighbours. Reason: the dogs were depriving them of a good night's sleep. What her detractors don't realise is that she's actually doing them a service. The little that she does goes a long way in ensuring that the strays don't run amok crazed by disease or hunger.

Every evening, Bose moves around Patna's streets carrying foodstuff and a first-aid kit with which she tends to stray creatures.

Unquestionably, Bose is influenced by Maneka Gandhi's efforts in the same area and the two are in touch, consulting from time to time over issues such as trainers being employed to sterilising stray dogs. She reminisces about Maneka's visit to the state capital when the then chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav had promised to give her a place or a piece of land to set up a hospital for animals. But like any "politician's promise, it remained just a promise", rues she.

Started in 1994 but registered just a year ago, cca has today seven members who help in its aims and objectives. Says Dr Ajit Kumar, a leading vet in Patna: "What Ms Bose is doing is truly commendable, more because she cares for the mute." Impressed by Bose's untiring efforts, Kumar helps her whenever she calls for him. N. Upadhyay, another animal lover, agrees. "Ms Bose needs the cooperation of the people. What a lone lady is doing for more than half a decade is nothing less than what Maneka Gandhi has been doing on a national level. The difference: the latter get instant support and help because of their status at the national level." Upadhyay has recently joined Bose's cause despite a hectic work schedule.

Ask about the organisation's future plans and Bose starts counting: "First and foremost, we want to create an awareness about the welfare of animals. Then we want to have a hospital, a mobile clinic, an ambulance and a club for animal lovers, apart from creating an animal-friendly ambience to maintain the 'environmental chain' in which we live and breathe. After all, we are all social animals, so we have to be more social towards animals. Otherwise what's the difference?" asks she.

Recalling the words of Dr G.S. Arundale that "the world is crucified when an animal is crucified", this lone fighter for animals is sure that a day will definitely come when people will come forward and join her cause. If you want to be among them, contact her at Care And Compassion for Animals, Makhania Kuan, Patna-800 004, Bihar; or call at 0612-673364.

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