KARNATAKA

A remarkable transformation

Special Correspondent

Talakad witnesses a peaceful jathra on the eve of Mahashivaratri Dayananda Swami took up the animals' cause five years ago

MYSORE: The transformation has been remarkable. And a generation of villagers at Talakad near T. Narsipura used to the abominable practice of animal sacrifice to mark religious occasion, have given up the tradition. Since five years, the river of blood that used to flow in the ancient site has dried up, thanks to the initiative of Dayananda Swami who is now working in tandem with the Akhila Karnataka Prani Daya Sangha to create awareness among villagers.

Their joint efforts are bearing fruit and Talakad witnessed a peaceful jathra on the eve of Mahashivaratri this week when not a single animal or bird was sacrificed. Instead of the gory sight of blood being offered to the deity, what was witnessed was tender coconut, plantains and the like being sold in large quantities and the villagers attending the jathra have opined that this was more peaceful.

When the lone crusader Dayananda Swami took up the animals' cause five years ago, it seemed to be a hopeless task as he was fighting against all odds what with the local police turning a blind eye and in most instances being partners in this grisly killing as they used to reportedly partake in the feast and revelry that followed.

But not to be cowed down by seemingly heavy odds stacked against him and armed with law and Supreme Court rulings, the swamiji challenged the authorities, campaigned in the villages and, with police assistance, put an end to the killings. Though the villagers resisted initially, they have now acknowledged the senselessness of such killings and have abandoned the practice.

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