In the perhaps pathetic show of delink between science and law, the Rajasthan High Court judge had banned the cow slaughter. The contrary judgment is given by the Kerala High court. In India, the cow is not the animal, but it is above human citizens, as the cow slaughter will invite life imprisonment as High Court in Rajasthan judged. India is not a vegetarian country and different citizens have different dietary habits.
The question of the cow is now linked imaginatively to alleged smuggling of cows by our Bangladeshi neighbours. The cow is also becoming an important negotiating term in India’s diplomacy as the demand for India’s meet grows with the possible shrinking export, and India’s relations with its step brothers/sisters: Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Hindutva nationalists have different agenda and the agenda is to create more divide between the close neighbours by alienating the communities that profess the same religion in India. Indian ruling class, whoever they are, must accept the reality that Muslims are the part and parcel of this country and that two nations that emerged are sovereign nation states and the only way to deal with it is by love and persuasion and cooperation. More force and the everything become unstable.
Emperor Ashoka who ruled most of the present day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and extended his soft power as far as Greece can indicate the way forward. He banned animal sacrifices and opened clinics for the animals. He encouraged people to become vegetarian through his personal life and example. He included animal welfare in his governance. Why only cow, all animals, birds, and everything that lives needs nurture and care?
But India being a casteist country everything must be graded from the whims and fancies of the Brahmins. This grading is a big problem. Either there should be the complete ban on destroying the life of any animal or there should be a legal way of dealing with the dietary habits of the human beings. We have a model to emulate in Ashoka, and Babasaheb Ambedkar who followed the footsteps of Ashoka gave us a constitution that can always promote the welfare of not only cows but also humans (humans is relegated to the second position after the RSS/BJP came to power).
The cow protection must start from the care of them and there are many reports that point out to the dire state of cows in the state of Rajasthan, the “Arya” stan as promoted by the Rajasthan Tourism Department. But Kerala is not less; it is God’s own land. It seems that India instead of moving forward is more interested in reviving mythical games that will drag this country in the dark dungeons. Coming back to what Babasaheb Ambedkar would do.
He would adopt the policy of Ashoka, he will encourage the citizens to not only love animals but nurture them. He will not ask people to change their dietary habits. He will leave it to the individuals to chose what they would like to eat. He won’t segregate cow as the special animal but look after the welfare of all human beings. But most importantly, he will fight for the human beings, irrespective of their religious denominations and faiths, if they are killed and lynched by the fundamentalists.
The cow is at the centre stage in Hindutva politics, and the fundamentalists like Yogi has no qualms about pouring the bucketful of milk in the river, Sharayu. India is witnessing a strange economic situation in which Gross Value addition has reduced considerably after the mindless demonetisation and the likes of Reliance are becoming growing liability on the public with a possible default of Rs. 40,000 crores by the Reliance Telecom.
But the Government is busy tweaking the numbers and finding ways to bailout Reliance. Reliance dies or survives is nothing to do with the national development, cows eaten or left free to roam in the streets has nothing do with the national development. But the increasing divide between the rich and the poor, between the communities, and between the genders is a potential threat which might destroy our country.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist