Meet Fizzah Shah.
She is not the regular shalwaar kameez clad aunty next door. Nor does she indulge in petty gossip. She is a lady on a mission. On a mission to defend the animals who cannot speak up for themselves. Pelt a dog, cage a bird, and if you are spotted by her, then may God help you!
Meet Fizzah Shah. Animal lover. Animal Rights Activist. Vice President of In Defence of Animals. One of the bravest and the kindest ladies I have known.
In a brief interview, we get to know the lady a little better.
When was the first time you protested against a cruel act, how old were you then?
The first time I protested was when I was about ten years old. My parents had abandoned a white cat, which used to visit our house for milk. They got bugged and asked the sweeper to pick her up and leave her far away. I came from school and did not find her at her usual time. After enquiring my mother told me the story. My heart cried, I did not eat for two days and stopped talking to my parents for many days. Since I have been born in Muslim family I have witnessed many animal sacrifices which used to leave me wondering why these animals are sacrificed in the name of God, since they are also creation of the same God. Anyway, now I am fifty years old but still wonder about the same thing.
Being an animal rights activist from Mumbai, which is the cruelest incident you have witnessed?
Selma, cruelty is cruelty, it cannot be less cruel or more cruel. The animals suffer from all form of cruelty. What cruelty we feel is more cruel is a different issue.I can tell you when I was handling the skinned calves case, it was a horrible sight to see that hundreds of calves were skinned alive and thrown near Mahim creek. The crows and dogs were feasting on their dead bodies.
And the kindest?
Of course there are many incidents of kindness, which have always encouraged me to carry on my mission courageously. I used to see an old lady carrying dog food in big bags with her feeble, shivering limbs. She used to roam in the streets of Seven Bunglows in winter wearing a shabby sweater, in rainy season wearing that useless rain coat and in hot weather dripping with perspiration calling each and every dog with her particular whistle feeding them with her own hands petting them and applying medicine if they were wounded. Sometimes I used to stand in one corner and observe her devotion, the happiness and the contentment on her face while feeding all the strays. I think today my major work, that is feeding stray dogs, is due to her influence on me. I will be always grateful to her for inspiring me for such a heavenly work.
What inspired you to start IDA?
By seeing so many animals suffer I felt suffocated because there was hardly any help available for these ailing souls. So I came across few like minded devoted people and IDA was formed with the intention of “NEVER SAY NO TO ANY CALLS FOR HELP”. By the grace of God today IDA is a largest animal organization in Mumbai working tirelessly for the benefit of animals and many more people have joined us.
How do you see the problem of the stray dog population in Mumbai getting solved?
Selma, that is a tricky question. I feel it’s not only a job of few animal lovers to solve the stray dogs population problem. I think our government should take this issue very seriously and undertake a project by adding more NGOS and establishing more centers for sterilization by fund and infrastructure in to it.
The animal birth control programme should be taken very seriously. Also I believe the citizens of Mumbai should come forward and help the NGOs to make this programme a success by extending donations and other help. Sometimes I feel that people see the dog population as a problem which can be solved only by animal lovers. This is very wrong. It is a civic problem and it can be solved with the support of government and citizens.
If I witness an act of cruelty what should I do? Should I call somebody up?
If you witness a act of cruelty first of all as an alert citizen you can stop that cruelty. But if you cannot manage it, call animal NGOs or police to take action against the offenders under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. You should also acquire fair knowledge of animal laws so you can work in convincing way and the culprits should realize that they could be prosecuted.
I am free on week ends, can I volunteer to help with the IDA Activities?
Oh, How nice of you! You are always welcome to come at IDA center and help us out with our activities. We need volunteers like you who believe in working for the souls who cannot express their pain and sorrow through their voice, but their eyes tell us the story of their suffering.
I wish to donate some money to the IDA, can I?
Since we are charitable organization registered with charity commissioner you can donate any amount to IDA by cash or cheque. You will get the receipt for your donation which is the tax exempted under section 80G. Your small donation means a lot to us.
What is written on the IDA Ambulance?
The IDA ambulance carries our name and address with the name of donor who has donated the ambulance to IDA. Also we have written a good slogan, our web address and our e-mail id. So anybody can acquire more information for our work and activities. You can also visit our website www.idaindia.org and our e-mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your message to the readers of this blog?
My message is very simple: BE KIND TO ALL LIVING BEINGS. LIVE AND LET LIVE.