Hiranmay Karlekar’s book is not merely about human aggression against stray dogs, though it begins with the Bangalore municipal authority’s indiscriminate slaughter of stray dogs in response to two children’s death by rabies. He not only declares their response brutal, but also explores the vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry that benefit from such campaigns. He demonstrates how India has many folk tales of the bond between animals, particularly dogs, and humans. Religious mythology is replete with such stories.
Karlekar analyses the behaviour of the municipal authorities, the judiciary and people at large, who formulate policies, make sweeping generalisations and conduct campaigns based on the belief that this planet was created exclusively for man. It also exposes the ugly side of man, who indulges in senseless killing, intrigue, greed, jealousy—attributes not found in animals. He finds a subtle caste system in operation: the elite’s attitude to stray dogs is different from their attitude to pedigreed ones.