Last month as I passed by the Defence Ministry, I saw people clustered on a sidewalk and I caught a glimpse of a monkey. I stopped and saw three people making two langurs fight with each other. As soon as they saw me, two of the men ran and so did the government employees who were watching this illegal tamasha. 

The langurs climbed a tree. The remaining man had his pockets searched and, not surprisingly, had a card saying that he was employed by the Defence Ministry to keep rhesus monkeys away. His personal ID card said that his name was Aftab Langoorvala.

This is a large Muslim clan who live in Rohini, Delhi. Their only job is to get langurs from the wild and rent them out to various organizations across Delhi – ministries, schools, hotels, malls.  They have, at any given time, over 100 langurs. They are so arrogant that they have named themselves Langoorvala as well, and they travel openly on motorbikes with their langurs on their shoulders

I called the police. The security incharge of that wing of the Defence Ministry was called. He clearly did not know the law and tried to defend his recruitment. He was severely reprimanded. The Langoorvala was arrested and remanded to jail under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The langurs are with me and they will be rehabilitated soon back in the forest.

You will rarely find a madari in the cities now. Most of them are behind bars or have switched professions ever since the animal laws started being acted on. But in many cities you will find these langoorvalas.  You need to have the person arrested and his employer.

According to The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Langur is a protected species under Schedule II and under the IPC Sections 2, 8, 9, 11, 40, 41, 43, 48, 51, 61, and 62. According to these sections, langurs cannot be owned, traded, bought, sold or hired out. Any violation of this law is liable to a 3 year jail term or fine or both.

But many government offices are openly breaking the law by hiring such people and even giving ID cards to the so called “owners” of langurs – who are actually poachers who have taken these langurs from forests. I am told that during the Commonwealth Games the civic agencies deployed 38 Langurs.

They are badly fed and kept tied to gates the entire day. They are starved and kept thirsty. They sit in the sun and rain and cold.  Most of these langurs die within a year .The Langurwalas simply get more.

Not only is the langur a protected species, it is also becoming increasingly rare.

The Langur is a silver grey monkey with a tail longer than its body, a conspicuous black face, long limbs with black hands and feet. It has a coughing alarm call.

Langurs live in troops that vary from 8 - 20 animals, and are lead by a dominant male. All male groups are also a common feature.

They generally have a favourite roosting tree, to which the animals retire at the end of the day. The monkeys huddle together and prefer to squat on the extremities of high branches, as a precautionary measure against predators. They are extremely arboreal – which means, that unlike rhesus monkeys, they do not like to come down from the trees at all. They feed in the morning and late afternoon and groom each other in between. Morning is greeted with loud whooping calls and a display of high spirits.

Females attain sexual maturity (3-4 years) earlier than males (6-7 years). The young are born after a gestation period of 6 months. The mothers usually have one child, and the arrival of the early ones in a troop causes much excitement, with females of all age groups vying with each other to touch and handle the new born. The mother readily allows this and the infant gets passed on from hand to hand. The young are carried upside down clasped to their mother's belly. By three months they start wandering around and that is when they get picked off by poachers. Any adult who intervenes, responding to the cries of the babies is beaten with sticks or killed.

The species has suffered tremendously due to habitat degradation. They have to come down to the road and sometimes enter human habitation looking for food, making them vulnerable to accidental death while crossing the road. They are eaten by leopards, dholes, wolves, jackals and pythons. Poaching, and attacks by dogs are also on the rise.

Langurs eat leaves, flowers, fruits and berries. They obtain salt, mineral and trace elements by licking rocks, termite mounds and salt licks. This animal is now fed rotis and whatever rubbish passersby give it.

The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has sent a letter on October 15th to all government departments saying that they cannot hire langurs and that any in service have to be removed immediately. The Bureau has written that “For any violation, besides the handler, the officer of the Ministry responsible for hiring the services of the animal will be deemed to have contravened the provision of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and will be liable for prosecution under Section 52 of the Act.” The letter adds: “It is therefore requested that langurs if hired by your Ministry should be removed from their service immediately and the animals be handed over to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Government of NCT.”

Langurs are as protected as bears and tigers.  Can anyone bring tigers or snakes and get “employment” by the government or private companies for domestic or security purposes?

The Wildlife Crime Bureau has now started raiding these Langoorvala families. Many of them are now on the run as criminals and the animals have been confiscated. I have caught 8 langurvalas myself and the court has sent all of them to jail under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which means that the court is well aware, as are the police, that this is a crime under the Indian laws.

Now you know the law. If you see any langur tied in a temple, factory, educational institution, mela or any government building call the police and the wildlife authorities and make sure that arrests are made. Take the langur. Ask the langurvala where he got the animal from so that it can be returned to its forest otherwise it will die.

The Hanuman Langur is a representative of the god Hanuman. Is this the shameful way in which we use our gods?

Maneka Gandhi

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Bhagwan Rajneesh / Osho once said that a human’s word could not be relied on because his body was not occupied by a single person but a committee and every ten minutes the committee changed its mind on what it thought or wanted to do. 

I agree with him. And go one step further. It’s not just different people that inhabit the human mind. Hundreds of different species of animals make up the human body.

In the Belly Button Biodiversity project at the North Carolina State University, a team of scientists studied the contents of 60 human navels in 2011. It turned out that they look like rain forests. They found 2,368 bacterial species, 1,458 of which may be new to science. Some belly buttons had 29 species and some 107. One person harboured a bacterium that had previously been found only in soil from Japan —where he has never been. Another hosted two species that typically thrive in ice caps and thermal vents. Another area that brims with different species is the underarm. Human skin is like a desert says Julia Segre of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Maryland doing the underarm study. "But as you walk through, you encounter an oasis, which is the inside of your nose," she said. "You encounter a stream, which is a moist crease.” The team found 18 different groups of animals / bacteria dwelling in 20 different skin habitats. For instance, bacteria live in naturally oily regions, such as the outside of the nose, and feed on the skin's fats.

There are billions of microscopic creatures that live on you. The New York University School of Medicine identified more than 240 distinct microbes on the forearms of six healthy people. Each person's "wardrobe" of germs seems to be as unique as his or her sense of style. No two volunteers had all the same microbes on their flesh, though they did have some overlap. The microbes changed as people changed what they used or wore but the number of flora is consistent. “Flora” is microbiologists' term for microscopic life forms. The study identified 182 distinct species, some of which are new to science. Eight to ten months later they retested four subjects and found 65 additional species.

These are on your skin. But you have lots of intimate microscopic companions inside your body. There are armies of microbes in your digestive tract which are so essential to your survival that you might consider yourself a super-organism—human plus microbes equals you.  All of them squabbling and eating and defecating and chattering. Think of yourself as a shell that holds the real people together.

Why real? Because you cannot do without them. These hordes of "gut bugs" perform digestive duties that the human body cannot. They help us ferment our food, produce vitamins for us, and break down toxic chemicals.  

The bacteria primarily cling to the intestinal walls. They hitch rides on chunks of undigested food. According to Dr Jeffrey Gordon of the School of Medicine at Washington University , "It's a whole planet down there. We are never alone. Our partners, who are sentient beings that live within us, are essential to our survival.”

Do you control the gut bugs or do they control you? To get an idea of their power, take koala bears. They carry only a tiny set of microbes, which is all they need to process their very limited diet of eucalyptus leaves. But if they were to be invaded by our gut bugs they would develop a taste for hamburgers and chillies – and would think that it was their minds that were doing this and not the minds of the gut microbes. So when you want to eat, it is not “your” appetite that is telling you, but the collective mind of so many foreign residents.

The human microbiome is the body of the aggregate of microorganisms that reside on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. They include bacteria, fungi, and archaea. Populations of microbes (such as bacteria and yeasts) inhabit the skin and mucosa. If microbe numbers grow beyond their typical ranges, or if they travel to a-typical areas of the body, disease can result.

In 2012, 200 researchers from 80 research institutions comprising the Human Microbiome Project Consortium identified and catalogued the thousands of microorganisms co-existing with humans.

Healthy individuals were found to host thousands of bacterial types, different body sites having their own distinctive communities. Skin and vaginal sites showed smaller diversity than the mouth and gut. Bacteria of the same species found throughout the mouth, are of multiple subtypes and inhabit distinctly different locations in the mouth.

It is estimated that 500 to 1000 species of bacteria live in the human gut and a roughly similar number on the skin. The average human body, consisting of about ten trillion cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in the gut. The metabolic activity performed by these bacteria is equal to that of a virtual organ, leading to gut bacteria being termed a "forgotten" organ.

Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, and there are at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells in the body.

Archaea, primitive living single-celled organisms, similar in size to bacteria but different in molecular organization, are present in the human gut.

Fungi and yeasts are present in the human gut and skin where they consume oils secreted from the sebaceous glands.

A small number of bacteria are present in the conjunctiva, which is washed away with blinking and the moisture of the lachrymal glands. 

Research suggests that the relationship between the species in our guts and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship.

From head to toe, your body is a veritable jungle of flora and fauna. Some are visitors, some are permanent residents. For thousands of years, these animals have called our bodies “home” — or at least "food." From bed bugs to eyelash mites, a jungle of insects and arachnids thrives on and around the human.

Then are the visitors that are invented only to live on the human body. The head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, lives on the human scalp and nowhere else.

The human body louse, Pediculus humanus humanus, looks a lot like the human head louse, but it lays its eggs in the seams of clothing, not on hair shafts.

The eyelash mites live in and around human eyelashes and eyebrow follicles, where they make their meals from oil and dead skin cells. They look like tiny cockroaches . At night, the mites may emerge from the follicle and wriggle across your face as fast as their eight legs will take them—about an inch per hour. Almost every adult human harbours them. The mites have tiny claws, and needle-like mouthparts for eating skin cells.  Almost nothing gets them out. If you use eyeliner and mascara, you most definitely have more of them!

Ticks and bedbugs feed on the blood of mammals.

The human botfly lives in the mosquito’s body and is delivered into ours through a bite. The botfly larvae burrow into the skin and begin to feed on the host's tissue. A larva will stick around for a month or two before emerging. 

The scabies mite, arachnids of the spider family, eats human skin. Living in burrows just beneath the surface of the skin, scabies mites cause itching and rash.

Viruses like herpes simplex may loiter for years inside nerve cells. causing surface membranes to erupt in nasty pustules or warts.

And don’t forget the worms: tape, round, hook, pin, live for decades within you and flukes that settle in the lungs and liver.

We are blissfully oblivious to the microscopic life we carry around with us. Considering what those organisms look like, that may be a good thing. But it also begs the question: how many people are you? And who is making the decisions?

Maneka Gandhi

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Proverbs are short statements which express the wisdom and traditional norms based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. I find them great fun, especially the ones that use animals as a way to express a larger truth. What is amazing is that countries as diverse as England and Vietnam have the same proverbs in their own languages – I supposed the experiences of people are the same, no matter where they are. This week I am going to list the proverbs from across the world that I like (this is difficult because I have a list that runs into 35 pages):

Give a dog a bad name and hang him: people who continue to be accused on the basis of a presumed error in the past.

Dogs with short legs bark all the time -(Italian) : It could mean to get noticed - people with little to say, talk the most.  But it is true of short dogs. It could also mean the Napoleonic complex- shorter men make more noise, want more and achieve more.     

 Even a dog can look like a bishop – (Italian).

When one wants to get rid of their dog, any excuse is a good excuse – (Italian)

Those who kill cats and dogs never do anything that's good – (Italian)

Who does not keep dogs, keeps thieves – (Italian)

A fine cage won't feed the bird – (American)

A coconut shell full of water is an ocean to an ant – (American)

No matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water –(American)

Use your enemy's hand to catch a snake – (Persian)

Hunger will lead a fox out of the forest  – (Polish)

If there were no elephants in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal –(Ghanaian)

Cats don't catch mice to please God –(Afghan)

Only when you have crossed the river can you say the crocodile has a lump on his snout –(Ghanaian)

Those who dislike cats will be carried to the cemetery in the rain –(Dutch)

A smart mouse has more than one hole – (American)

When the mouse laughs at the cat there's a hole nearby –(Nigerian)

Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm –(Malayan)

Every animal knows more than you do –(Native American)

No one sees a fly on a trotting horse. (Meaning: Don't go crazy about details because people won't notice them in the big scheme of things) –(Polish)

Don't call alligator long mouth till you pass him –(Jamaican)

Trust in Allah, but tie your camel –(Middle Eastern)

Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet –(Chinese)

No need to teach an eagle to fly –(Greek)

Never try to catch two frogs with one hand –(Chinese)

Judge not the horse by his saddle –(Chinese)

One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him –(Chinese)

When elephants fight, the grass dies –(African)

Books and cats and fair-haired little girls make the best furnishings for a room –(French)

If a girl treads on a cat's tail, she will not find a husband before a year is out –(French)

You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats –(Colonial American)

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song –(Chinese)

Never scratch a tiger with a short stick –(Chinese)

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair –(Chinese)

Even monkeys sometimes fall from trees –(Japanese)

Beware of people who dislike cats –(Irish)

A roaring lion kills no game –(African)

Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when it cries, and you will have a fine pig and a bad child –(Danish)

Don't strike a flea on a tiger's head –(Chinese)

At high tide the fish eat ants; at low tide the ants eat fish –(Thai)

After eating a hundred mice, the cat embarks on Haj pilgrimage (pretence of repentance, of nobility after being wicked) – (Indian)

It's a brave bird that makes its nest in the cat's ear –(Indian)

Never stand in front of a judge or behind a donkey –(Indian)

Speak like a parrot; meditate like a swan; chew like a goat; and bathe like an elephant –(Indian)

You may lock up the cock, but the sun will still rise –(Indian)

It is easy to threaten a bull from the window –(Italian)

It is bad for puppies to play with bear cubs –(Danish)

The heron’s a saint when there are no fish in sight –(Bengali)

A house without a dog, a cat, or a child is a house without love or affection –(Irish)

Love is a donkey freed of all tethers –( Cameroon )

Having seen as much as I have of history being made, and seeing how written records are so far from the truth of what actually happened, this is my favourite proverb:

Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter –(African)

Maneka Gandhi

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Not all proverbs convey words of wisdom. Some of them are complete nonsense and we should stop using them as references to our behaviour. Proverbs about women, weather and animals should be revisited and examined as to whether they actually impart any understanding. The ones about animals certainly give a wrong image about animals, teach the wrong lessons. 

Lets take some of the more common ones:

“Let sleeping dogs lie”: Dogs are the lightest sleepers in the world. You don’t need to let them lie – they will be awake long before you even get near them. But that doesn’t mean that as soon as they awake they are going to bite you.

“A barking dog seldom bites”: This depends on the circumstances. If he is barking to greet you, OK. If he is barking to keep you away, he might bite.

“A dog is valiant at his own door”: And everywhere else depending on what he is protecting.

“A cock is valiant on his own dunghill”: No animal stands on its own faeces voluntarily. A cock is one of the bravest creatures in the world and will go into battle to defend his honour and his family.

“Every dog has its day”: Unfortunately very few dogs or any other animals have their day- and most humans don’t either.

“You can't teach an old dog new tricks”: as a matter of fact you can teach a dog anything at any age. I adopt 9 year olds and in one week they learn their new names and new habits to adjust to the new place.

“To kill two birds with one stone”: Why do you want to kill any bird? And I doubt if a thrown stone would kill even one.

So many Hindi proverbs are gross and off the mark:

“What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger”: In fact monkeys have a really discerning palate.

“To play a snake charmer’s flute in front of a buffalo”: Probably means a waste of time but the buffalo, like a large number of animals, specially cattle , actually likes music. It is the snake that is totally deaf – and yet the snake charmer plays for him and thousands of people watch this nonsensical display.

“Come bullock and hit me” is a proverb which means asking for trouble. Why bullock? This poor castrated bull is the meekest of all animals. Subjected to whips and beatings, it never retaliates.

“A frustrated cat scratches the pillar” means misdirected anger. No cats scratch pillars out of anger. In fact they are the happiest when playing and scratching pillars and it is essential play for them along with keeping their nails sharp.

“With God on its side, even the donkey can be a wrestler”: Again idiotic. The donkey is always strong. Most of your houses are built by the bricks this poor animal carries.

“Turkeys, parrots, and hares don't know what gratitude is”: They should be grateful for being caged or eaten ?

The worst one is “Ghar ki murgi dal barabar ”: The chicken dish at home is treated like lentils. It means that one takes one’s possessions for granted and those of other’s seem better. Why should a dead corpse of a chicken be treated as superior to the lentil? This phrase obviously originated during the Mughal period. It’s as bad as “If you have no bacon, you must be content with the cabbage. (You’ll probably live longer and healthier) or “Better a mouse in the pot than no meat at all” - Romanian. Yuck! 

In Italian “Let's go where the dogs never bite” means “Let's go to a safe place”: It should be removed. Most dogs never bite and no dog bites unless he is severely provoked. For that matter no animal bites voluntarily – not even a snake. The Italians have another one that needs to be removed: “Men have teeth like dogs”: if they don't bite you today, they will bite you tomorrow. And this: “Who has nothing to do combs dogs”.

Here are some awful American ones:

“A hog in satin is still a hog” is another version of “A donkey laden with gold is still but a donkey” or “An ass burdened with books thinks himself a scholar”: I find donkeys sensitive, intelligent and very thoughtful – and I find most pigs beautiful. However I find satin disgusting and gold inelegant.

“A mischievous dog must be tied short”: which makes it certain that he will bite you one day. Have you never heard of love?

“A sheep that is no trouble to shear has little wool”: this explains the terrible shearing practices of sheep herders who make a sheep bleed when cutting her wool off.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”: why do you want a bird in your hand. A bird in the bush saves forests, the rain and the world. A bird in your hand simply dies.

“Don't sell the bear's skin before you have caught the bear”: only America with its children encouraged to kill the shambling, vegetarian bear would have this proverb.

“Even a fish wouldn't get caught if he kept his mouth shut”: So now it’s the fishes fault? What about the millions caught in nets?

“He that lies with dogs comes up with fleas”: If the owner could not be bothered to remove them, what does that say about him.

“Don’t flog a dead horse”: Just a live one?

Here are some more that should be buried: “There are more ways to kill a dog than choking it with butter”. “There is a black sheep in every flock” (what’s wrong with a black sheep?). “You never know the length of a snake until it is dead”

When the snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length" –African. Just kill it? 

“It is not a fish until it is on the bank” - Irish.

“A pearl is worthless as long as it is still in its shell”: So no creature is valuable unless its dead and can be used?

“Throw a lucky man in the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth” - Saudi Arabian. Even when he is drowning he will think of killing?

“The best way to eat the elephant standing in your path is to cut it up into little pieces” - African 

“Govern a family as you would cook a small fish -- very gently” - Chinese . Cook the family? Why not? The Chinese eat everything.

“The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread” -Portuguese. Dogs that are beaten and starved remain true to their owners as well.

“One hundred people can sit together peacefully, but two dogs in the same place will pick a fight”: Have you seen ten people sit together and not fight? I have 400 dogs in my shelter and they are fine together. 

“Without a shepherd, sheep are not a flock” -Russian: No animal needs humans. WiId sheep make their own flocks.

“Show a dog a finger, and he wants the whole hand” -Yiddish . Only to lick and kiss. 

“Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow” -Italian. No wonder their nation is bankrupt. Why not just eat lentils and vegetables?

“A donkey always says thank you with a kick” -Kenyan . Not true. One of the gentlest of all animals.

“The fish comes to his senses after he gets into the net” -Turkish. So you are doing him a favour by catching him?

“Help a dog out of water, and it will splash water all over you” - Finnish: So leave it there?

The saddest of this bunch is unfortunately true “When one wants to get rid of their dog, any excuse is a good excuse” –Italian.

As someone who runs a shelter I see animals abandoned everyday with their owners giving the strangest of stories. The saying just means – the human is going to do what he wants and he will justify it any which way. Even using vicious proverbs!

Maneka Gandhi

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We may treat animals badly but our culture, our dreams, and our waking thoughts are full of them. They dominate religion, art and language. Every language is full of animal idioms. An idiom is a word or phrase which means something different from what it says, its meaning is not literal, but can be understood by the users of that language and region. 

Let’s look at some today.

Some of them have a history – for instance in English “No Room To Swing a Cat” is a maritime idiom:  sailors were punished by being whipped with a whip called a "cat o'nine tails" and a space was cleared on the ship so that the person doing the whipping had room to swing the cat. Some are nonsensical but rhyme like the “Bees Knees” which means a person of importance. “Dog's breakfast” is an idiom used to describe a total mess or disaster. If a particular recipe was botched so badly that no person would eat it, it would be given to the dog. 

Going after the wrong solution to a problem?  "Barking up the wrong tree." This goes back to the practice of hunting with dogs. If a dog followed the wrong scent it might find itself barking at a tree that held nothing.

The "dog days of summer" are the hottest days of the season. It dates back to the ancient Romans who first noticed that the hottest days of the summer coincided with the appearance of Sirius, the "dog star". They called it the Canicular Days.  One Australian idiom refers to the practice of sleeping alongside a dog for warmth during cold evenings. A particularly cold night might require more than one companion; hence it is a "three-dog night."  Heavy rains bring the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs." This goes back to the bad sanitation of Britain in the 17th century. Garbage, including animal dead bodies collected in the streets. When it rained the water would carry the bodies and it became fashionable to say that the animals had fallen from the sky. 

Strangely enough, many of them are the same all over the world – and were used long before travel began. “As cunning as a fox”, “fight like cats and dogs”, “water off a duck’s back”, “crocodile tears”, “eat like a bird”, “like a cat on hot bricks”,  mean the same in Vietnamese as it is in English.

Agricultural countries, nomadic countries, maritime countries – all of them look at animals differently and this reflects in the idioms.

In some countries dogs help human beings. They watch the houses, herd sheep & goats, help in hunting. Therefore the idiom “man’s best friend” originates from there.  “Old dog for a hard road” (a faithful companion), “love me love my dog”. In countries where the dog is not regarded as anything other than food, the idioms used to describe it refer to it as stupid, cruel, unscrupulous,: “Being kind to dogs makes them disrespectful.”

The same applies to horses. In English, horses represent strength, willingness to work. “As strong as a horse”, “eat like a horse” (eat a lot). However, in the East horses represent stubbornness. The young horse is always aggressive; “as stubborn as a wild horse.”

In Asian countries the dragon represents power, excellence, and a benevolent force. In England it represents villainy, cruelty. In Vietnam, if someone passed the national exam and became a mandarin, the phrase “the fish turns into a dragon” is applied. When someone with a high social status visits a lower one, then they use the idiom “the dragon visits the shrimp”.  The dragon is associated with royal families. In English a “dragon lady” is “a woman who is domineering or belligerent”. A dragon lady in the east is someone who is extremely genteel.

A vast number of English idioms and proverbs originate from the Bible, especially sheep which were important to the Hebrews. They represent God's people: “a lamb to the slaughter” (unaware of catastrophe), “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (an enemy disguised as a friend), “black sheep” (the least reputable member of a group).

These also originate from the Bible:

- “a fly in the ointment”: a little flaw that ruins something good.

- “a little bird told me”: to keep secret a source of information.

Language is very powerful and sometimes we use it to be mean to animals, to assault our relationship with the animal world. So many similes and idioms are detrimental, and as the world changes we should try and change them. Violence in language leads to violence in deed. A nasty woman is not a “cow” or a “bitch” or a “pig”. “Sick as a dog”, “sly as a fox”, “fat as a pig” or “filthy pig”, “drunk as a skunk”.

Here are some that need to go:

“Beating a dead horse” – to carry on long after the battle is over.

“Albatross around your neck” – something preventing you from succeeding or accomplishing a task.

“Cook someone’s goose” – to ruin their plans.

“Lame duck” - weak.

“Her bark is worse than her bite” - someone’s words are worse than their action.

“Bull in a china shop” - a person with no tact.

“Cash cow” - a good way to make money.

“Curiosity killed the cat” - being too nosy may lead a person into trouble.

“Dog-eat-dog” - willing to hurt others to get what one wants.

“Dumb bunny” - stupid or gullible person.

“Go ape” - become highly excited or angry.

“Horse trading” - hard and skilful bargaining.

“Hit the bulls-eye” – be absolutely correct.

“Let the cat out of the bag” - reveal a secret.

“Live high on the hog” - live extravagantly.

“Rat out on” -  betray.

“Rat race” - confusing way of getting ahead.

“Road hog” - car driver who takes more than his share of the road.

“Scaredy-cat” - someone who is easily frightened.

“Buy a pig in a poke” - buy something without knowing anything about it.

“Throw someone to the wolves” - send someone into danger without protection.

“Be a guinea pig” - to be tested on.

“Take the bull by the horns” - take decisive action and not worry about the results.

“Call off the dogs” - to stop threatening or chasing or hounding someone.

“Cast pearls before swine” - to waste something on someone who will not care about it.

“Champ/chomp at the bit” -- to be ready and anxious to do something (a “bit” is put into a horse's mouth for control of the horse).

“Dog in the manger” - someone who prevents others from doing anything.

“Go hog-wild” - to behave badly.

“Go to the dogs” - to deteriorate, to become bad.

“Hit the bulls-eye” - to reach the main point.

“Keep the wolves at bay” - to fight against some kind of trouble.

“Kill the fattened calf” - to prepare an elaborate banquet for someone.

“A lone wolf” - someone who spends time alone and has few friends.

“Make a monkey out of” - make someone look foolish.

“A monkey on one's back” - a serious problem that stops someone from being successful at something.

“A white elephant”-- something that is not useful and costs a lot of money to maintain.

“To hound someone” - to pursue or chase someone, to harass someone.

Hindi has thousands of ones that should be removed. “Ulla Ka pattha” (the son of an owl) - stupid.

“Bandar kya jaaney adrak ka swaad” (what does a monkey know about the taste of ginger) is the same as “Cast pearls before swine”.

“Ghar ki murgi” (a chicken in the house) - something of high value is always taken for granted at home.

Think about the language you use because all attitudes start from there.

Maneka Gandhi

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