Containing Glanders, dealing with side effects of the measures to do so
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! Shakespeare may or may not be the preferred choice of the ‘desi boys’ resident in Delhi and ready to get hitched this wedding season but they had better start boning up on their Richard III (Act V Scene IV). More to the point, these grooms-in-waiting should commence a search for their own Catesby to help them find a suitable horse, safed ghodi for choice, on which to lead the baraat to their brides’ houses. For, the authorities are considering imposing a blanket ban on the movement of horses in the Capital to contain the spread of Glanders disease in the equine population that would coincide with the start of the wedding season in north India on 14 January (Makar Sakranti).
There is no making light of the seriousness of Glanders disease which 40 horses have already contracted and which can be fatal for the animal, especially as the fears of it spreading to the human population are real. And the Union Ministry of Agriculture has taken the right decision to involve the Home Ministry to ban all movement of horses within and in or out of Delhi after reports from the National Research
Centre on Equines indicated that another 32 horses have tested positive for the disease in Hisar, Haryana. But do spare a thought for the studs looking for their steeds, as it were.
Already, many wedding bands that had been booked for marriages this season are complaining of cancellations — after all, what’s the fun of young and old dripping with jewellery and encased in their finery dancing on the streets with the band blaring popular tunes unless one is doing so in front of the groom astride his horse? Of the two elements that make weddings in these parts what they are — the boisterousness may not be to everyone’s taste but boy do they know how to party — the horse is most definitely one. As a wag remarked, it would be small recompense for grooms who fail to find an appropriate ride to be told that at least they won’t be the asses atop horses on D-Day.
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