Stray to foster: Bihar man on a mission to save animals
A home guard in Aurangabad district has been protecting stray animals, birds from hunger and thirst, reports Ramashankar
BIHAR: Hard real-life encounters motivate people to be compassionate towards their surroundings. Jai Ram Pathak who cares for the lives of stray animals and birds has one such story to tell. A home guard in Bihar’s Aurangabad district, Jai Ram Pathak developed a strong compassion for stray animals after a real-life incident.
“It all started nearly four years ago when I was sitting at the courtyard of my house when I found a cow in a distress state. It was quite thirsty and virtually on the verge of collapse.” Pathak said he first offered the animal a jug-full of water, but it was hardly enough. The cow was so thirsty that she ended up drinking two buckets of water. “This sight moved me completely and I decided to offer fodder and other food items and water to stray animals and birds.”
Since then it became a routine affair for Pathak. “Now around 10-15 animals, including stray cows, calves, goats and dogs visit my house in Aurangabad in south Bihar thrice a day as I feed them all seasons.”
Stray animals and birds confront difficulties in getting food and water during all seasons. Their problem aggravates during summer when ponds and other water resources dry up. Pathak purchases around 4-5 quintals of fodder from his own resources every month to feed stray animals.
“Since animals and birds can’t express themselves through words, we have to understand their problems and feelings and act accordingly,” Pathak said. Birds fly to the jawan’s ancestral house to get food and water. They normally visit once a day. He has set up makeshift nests for birds. Water scarcity is a big problem for most stray animals and birds. The problem gets compounded when the water level reduces during the summer.
“As the state is reeling under intense heat waves these days, stray animals and birds are falling unconscious on roadside,” Pathak noted. The situation is more grave in urban areas. Earlier, there used to be ponds and drains in towns and cities as well. But with increasing urbanisation, ponds and drains have been turned into streets and roads. Pathak noted that there is no provision of drinking water and fodder for stray animals from the government side. On the other hand, there is a stringent law for leaving stray cattle on roads. Pathak said there are night shelters for the poor in urban towns and similarly there should be a place for stray animals.
Pathak has taken up the task of feeding stray animals and birds and quenching their thirst even though his family’s financial position is not too strong. “I get a poultry sum as remuneration from the police (home) department, but that is not sufficient to run the family,” he rued. It has not, however, deterred him. “I draw utmost satisfaction in doing this work and I enjoy my life even in difficulties,” he added. “There are various ways of following a religion. I consider that I am directly serving God by feeding stray animals and birds and also providing them water,” Pathak said.