Sunday, December 4, 2011

Myth vs Reason: Spurt of crow deaths invoke fear among people #birdflu #H5N1

Myth vs Reason: Spurt of crow deaths invoke fear among people

RANCHI - A strange and baffling happening in Jharkhand has given rise to debate among the intellects. Within a period of three weeks the State has witnessed death of crows in large numbers. The figure has already crossed the alarming 2000 mark till date. The worst affected were Bokaro, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh. Now it has spread to Ranchi too with the Roman Catholic Church reporting a large number of dead crows in the courtyard of the church.
Many of the intellectuals are divided in their opinion as to the exact cause or reason behind this sudden happening. Intellectuals who are religious minded ponder whether there is an omen behind the happening or can it be just simply attributed to natural causes.
According to mythology, like the raven, the crow is a bird which appears as a soothsayer, an omen of death and as a creator and cleanser, taking away all that was decayed. Full of intelligence, cunning, and playfulness, the crow was seen as a guardian of the sacred among the tribes of North America, a creature whose far-seeing eye saw past, present, and future all at once. For the Algonquin peoples, Crow was the bringer of grains and beans. In the Ghost Dances, which are danced to solicit the help of their ancestors, Crow is a primary spirit messenger.
The remarkable Crows have roles in legends and myths worldwide. Their wisdom, intelligence and flying powers were used by Ancient Gods and Kings. These birds and superstitions surrounding them also played a role in the day-to-day lives of people. As group, Crows demonstrate admirable examples of intelligence and they are considered by many to be the most intelligent birds. They seem to show signs of planning and communication between individuals.
If this could be trusted and believed then the crows would have had enough time to foresee what was coming! If scientific reasons are to be believed then how come only a few thousands have met their end instead of multiples of thousands as it happens at farms due to ‘bird flu’?
Many from the orthodox sector firmly believe that something terribly inauspicious is bound to happen in the near future! What exactly they are unable to explain however! It is surprising that as yet the number of so called astrologers and ‘pundits’ have not invaded our living room with their theories and predictions! Maybe it is because that this particular incident is restricted to Jharkhand alone!
Both the Central as well as State government has given an alert call on the matter. The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Bareilly, U.P has conducted tests and submitted its finding to the Center. According to information passed on to the State government the dead crows were infected with Influenza ‘A’, a highly contagious virus among birds and subtype H5NI, also commonly known as ‘Bird Flu’ is the main reason behind the death of these 2000+ crows. Chief Conservator of Forest A K Gupta confirmed the receipt of report.
The worrying factor is that the virus would be difficult to control on the crows as it would be for the poultry farms and moreover the infection is likely to spread through the crows to these farms. Hence, all precautionary measures have been advised by the centre to the State’s Animal Husbandry department.
The positive side of the matter is that the IVRI report should be more than enough to stop the gossip mongers attributing heavenly signs to the crow deaths. However the coming days would be interesting to watch whether the deaths were just due to momentary infection and not bearing far reaching dimensions!

No comments: