There is a live experience which Shri T N Seshan, former Election Commissioner in India, shared. He was a unique officer in the I A S category, who was bold enough to execute some of the most needed amendments in the voting process. One of those days, he was out on a tour with his wife, in UP. What was special with the mango grove he saw on the way was that it had a lot of sparrow nests hanging on almost all trees. Quite attracted to this rare scene, they stopped there for a while. In between, his wife said that she loves to take two active nests home. Seshan told the boy he saw near that he would give him 10 Rs. if he can bring them two nests. But he refused to do it. Seshan raised the offer but he replied that he won’t do it for any amount of money. He said that if he gives them to him, the sparrows will not see their hatchlings when they come with food. The boy said that it is quite hard to hear their loud cries.
Seshan wrote that they were shocked to hear this answer. He reflected that this village boy could humiliate him seriously and that to the size of a mustard seed. It was not easy for him to forget that episode.
The first sloka ever written in Sanskrit is believed to be that written on the killing of a partner dove by a wild hunter. It very much moved Valmiki. He wrote, ‘Ma Nishada …’ and the shlokas that continued ended up in the great epic, Ramayana. In Jainism, Jains wear masks to ensure that they do not harm any living insects, either. Virtually, what I don’t accept is the human attitude of killing for pleasure. My opinion is that we should have love and compassion for all kinds of living things – plants and animals.