Catapulted to fame by the A-rated 2005 film Sins, followed by Loins of Punjab Presents and Missed Call, sultry actor Seema Rahmani isn’t play-acting when she talks about her commitment to seeking justice for animals. Now, after having also been a host of NDTV Good Times’ show Heavy Petting, Rahmani continues to promote animal protection, as she explains to PETA India in this exclusive interview:
How important do you think it is to inspire others to get involved in animal protection?
Considering that animals are fellow living beings who depend on us to create a balanced, peaceful, compassionate and sane world, it is urgently important to inspire people to be involved in animal protection. If we can uncover the love and sensitivity in us for a more helpless living form, our human race has a chance of escaping a destructive lifestyle.
Have you ever helped an animal in distress?
My personal experiences would make for a very interesting book. Amazing and interesting. The resilience and instincts of animals have left me in awe of their understanding of people who care and the trust they place in us. I wouldn’t know where to start the response to this question and when to end it. Too many rescue stories have humbled and empowered me. And each of them strengthened my conviction to love deeper and live with more awareness and compassion.
What is your advice to anyone who sees someone being cruel to an animal?
First, approach the person with the understanding that they are disturbed within themselves. They are either acting out of fear or frustration, however misplaced it may be at times. Interrupt the abuse if possible and approach the perpetrator with confidence and compassion. Call any local animal welfare organisation to help the animal if required, unless you yourself can pick him or her up and take him or her to a vet. If further action is required, have an animal welfare officer send a well-worded warning letter to the perpetrator informing him or her of the offense committed against the law. Depending on the situation, the response varies.
Do you have a companion animal at home? How did he or she come into your life?
I had a dog off the streets of Kuwait who became our family dog for 17 years. And more recently, I had a cat who was a tiny kitten I rescued in the Mumbai July 26, 2005, floods. I named him Al Pacino, and he lived with me for six years. As of 2011, he is happily settled with a friend and her family in Chennai.
How do you feel about adopting homeless animals?
A beautiful, caring and correct thing to do. A privilege, if you have the right environment for the responsibility. And a sign of a true animal lover.
Why is it important to sterilise dogs and cats?
To control the population, since animals suffer if they do not have enough space and food, just like people do – or worse still, since they are less independent than people in some ways. Also, it is the most humane and negative-karma-free way to handle an overpopulation situation and a healthy means to coexist.