By Kamlesh Tripathi
Human beings are the biggest killers on earth. They have the discredit of liquidating many species for their own whims and fancies. They alone had the devious mind to invent fire-lance much before firearms. But the question remains who is a bigger destroyer of fauna; the inventor of firearms or the user. The debate will ever be on.
But in the milieu of the killing world, this is what the Burmese tribal have to say about the green imperial pigeon that I read in a novel. Although a fiction but the very thought puts human species in shame as it is so very touchy.
“Look out!” said Flory, “here’s an imperial pigeon, Let’s have him!”
A large heavy bird, with flight much slower than the others, was flapping overheard. Elizabeth did not care to fire after her previous failure. She watched Flory thrust a cartridge into the breech and raise his gun, and the white plume of smoke leapt up from the muzzle. The bird planed heavily down, his wing broken. Flo and Ko S’la came running excitedly up, Flo with the big imperial pigeon in her mouth, and Ko S’la grinning and producing two green pigeons from his Kachin bag.
Flory took one of the little green corpses to show to Elizabeth. “Look at it. Aren’t they lovely things? The most beautiful in bird Asia.”
Elizabeth touched its smooth feathers with her finger-tip. It filled her with bitter envy, because she had not shot it. And yet it was curious, but she felt almost an adoration for Flory now that she had seen how he could shoot.
“Just look at its breast-feathers; like a jewel. It’s a murder to shoot them. The Burmese say that when you kill one of these birds they vomit, meaning to say, ‘Look, here is all I possess, and I’ve taken nothing of yours. Why do you kill me?’ I’ve never seen one do it, I must admit.”
“Are they good to eat?”
“Very. Even so, I always feel it’s a shame to kill them.”