100 Days in India Project

Chickens in India

19/ 100 Chickens in India

Whilst wandering the streets of India we often came across elderly people, sitting in chairs next to the road wrapped tightly in several blankets (we were there in the winter), dozing through the day. I am guessing that there isn’t a great state-run care system for the elderly that is accessible to everyone so, if you could, it seemed common to take your parents to work to look after them.

Some of the occupants of the chairs looked so old, and moved so infrequently, that we often wondered if they had, in fact, slipped away right there in the street. Then an old friend would ride past on a mule and shout a greeting, awakening the elderly person from their slumber to mumble something undecipherable before they resumed their nap in the gentle sunlight.

You might notice some cages of live chickens in this photograph. Whilst the old chap slept in his wheelchair I am imagining these these poor birds spent most of their day dreaming of being free range. Not only were they well and truly caged, they had to sit underneath the chopping board of doom where their brothers and sisters were butchered to order. This being a Muslim district of Delhi the chickens were hung for a while with their throats cut, essentially bleeding to death as they wiggled about.

It was pretty gruesome. In fact one of the things I found hard to bear in India was the sight of animals being mistreated. This is a country where it seems acceptable to buy two live chickens, tie their legs together and sling them, upside-down, over your motorbike handlebars. Almost every day we would notice something involving unnecessary cruelty to animals that would make us shudder.

As a side note, you always knew you’d entered a Muslim area of a town because there would be cats all over the place. You hardly ever saw them in the strictly vegetarian Hindu and Jain areas where they had nothing to eat. If you fancy a kebab for tea, follow a cat.