Sunday, June 3, 2012

Crows and men

Some forms of life and humans have a symbiotic relationship which dates back to thousands of years. Dogs and cats have manipulated us to their survival advantage. So are the food crops like serials and grains, not to speak about meat on hoof.

Crows and sparrows too have lived with us humans and have depended on us for their survival. Some time ago I wrote about the disappearance of sparrow from urban centre and the advent of jungle crow at the expense of house crow.

Some Hindu castes have this yearly ceremony of commemorating the dead forefathers once a year. Female ancestors are not considered worthy of commemoration. This ceremony is confined to three generations to make it convenient. The ceremony involves offering of cooked rice balls to crows. Crows are considered to be representatives of the three generations of the dead. Only when the crows eat the offered rice the family can eat is the rule.

Crows are becoming rare in the city centre and the report of a family waiting for over six hours for a crow to arrive made hilarious reading. As this ceremony is quite sacred and a must, these Hindu castes have to think seriously as to ways to assure that crows are around.

One way is to keep the crow as a pet like one does with the parrot and put up with its constant cawing. But would the free spirited crow accept captivity? Would non availability of the crow and inability to complete the propriation ceremony land these Hindu castes in trouble? The disquieted spirits of the three generation of the ancestors would probably haunt the living with unknown dire consequences!

Why have the crows become rare? May be one reason is the garbage collecting system which is in place for the past ten years.  It may also because modern Hindus are giving up the yearly ritual as a worthless ceremony? Or is it because the priestly class of Brahmins who officiated these ceremonies is becoming rare and therefore necessarily there is no rice offering and therefore the crows have vanished?

Interesting thoughts.