Of all the rebuke and criticism that the so-called left-liberals direct at majority sentiments in India, the most toxic is for their veneration of the cow.
A recent news report saying the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has ordered help-desks, oximeters and thermal scanners for cows left this bunch exasperated, almost gasping for breath in outrage.
'Are cows more important than humans?', they asked. 'Better to be a cow than human in Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh', they declared. 'From CoWin to COWin', they joked.
The report, based on a press release by the government, turned out to be yet another false alarm. The government clarified that the equipment was meant for the staff managing the thousands of gaushalas across the state, and not cows.
An official in the government, without wishing to be named, told Swarajya what really unfolded: At a review meeting of Covid-related measures taken in the state, Yogi Adityanath gave verbal instructions for ensuring necessary equipment in various government buildings and institutions. An official responsible for upkeep of gaushalas, reportedly about 5,200 in numbers, asked whether the facilities extended to his area of work, and the chief minister said yes.
“The agency responsible for preparing the press release mistook it as an instruction for cows. It was of course for gaushalas and their staff. Have you heard of oximeters for cows? At least the UP government doesn’t have them,” the official said. “After the press release was sensationally reported in the media, we clarified that the message sent out was wrong. That should put an end to the controversy.”
Several publications have indeed revised their reports since the government’s clarification. Others, like the West Bengal-based The Telegraph, which has earned a dubious reputation of speaking truth to powers outside of West Bengal only, continue to misinform their readers.
On social media, cow jibes abound. After all, no opportunity for cracking cow jokes should be missed, even in the middle of a pandemic.
Over the last seven years, the left-liberals have, to great success, been able to repackage the majority sentiment towards protection of cows as a political project of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
As per their widely-propagated narrative, the ‘Hindu nationalist’ BJP is trying to place the cow at the centre of India’s culture as a beacon for the Hindu Rashtra that it’s certain will dawn. Thus, any cow lover is branded a ‘sanghi’ or a ‘bhakt’.
Parallell to this, a sustained propaganda is being run that the very sentiment of cow protection is violent in nature. That cow protection means mob lynching, has been firmly established through all means at their disposal - biased reporting, selective outrage, concocted data, and shameless ignoring of the rampant dark trade of cow smuggling and slaughter.
Thus, questioning the sacred status of the cow is the new ‘speaking truth to power’.
Slaughtering a cow on streets is the new ‘rebellion’.
Cracking cow jokes is the new ‘resistance’.
Asking ‘is cow more important than human beings?’ like a broken record is the new ‘journalism of courage’.
Even a shallow scrutiny would debunk the oft-repeated claim that ‘cows are better than humans’ under the BJP rule. However, before that, let’s examine the relevance of this argument itself.
If questions can be raised on any expenditure on welfare of cows because ‘humans are more important’, then why have animal welfare boards or legal punishments for hurting any animal unless the welfare of every human in India is ensured?
If questions can be raised on government-aided gaushalas for keeping non-milch stray cows abandoned by dairy farmers because ‘humans are more important’, then why have any government-maintained animal or bird sanctuaries unless home to every human in India is ensured?
If questions can be raised on a special law against slaughtering a cow because ‘humans are more important’, then why have a special law against insulting religious prophets unless complete end to insult of any human in India is ensured?
Returning to cow jokes, let it be understood that such jokes can be appreciated only by those ignorant of history – of how invaders slaughtered cows to subjugate the cow-revering natives, and how Hindus and Sikhs made cow protection a form of fierce resistance against invaders.
Read a previous piece in Swarajya on this here. Below are a few excerpts:
Al Biruni, narrating the conduct of Muhammad Bin Qasim during his conquest of Multan, wrote: “Qasim first asserts the superiority of Islam over the polytheists by committing a taboo (killing a cow) and publicly soiling the idol (giving the cow meat as an offering)."
In his fourth invasion of India, Ahmed Shah Durrani attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar and filled its scared pool with the blood of slaughtered cows.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq got bags full of cow’s flesh tied round the necks of Brahmins and had them paraded through his army camp at Kangra.
Jehangir’s memoirs mention that the corpse of Guru Arjan Dev was wrapped in cow-skin to cause offence to the Sikhs.
And so on.
It was because of cow’s sacred status that heroes like Maharaja Ranjit Singh banned cow slaughter during their rule, even making it punishable by death in some cases.
It was also because of this history and majority sentiments attached to cow protection that makers of the Indian Constitution made banning cow slaughter and beef consumption one of the Directive Principles under Article 48.
A complete ban on slaughter on cow and its progeny has been in place in various states since the 1950s even though left-liberals would have you believe that it was the BJP that introduced it after coming to power in 2014.
It is in line with the Constitution that the ban continues in non-BJP states such as Rajasthan, Punjab and Telangana.
If 70 years later, so-called ‘liberal’ Indians mock the sentiment around cow, it shows their ignorance. Or their express alignment with the ideology of invaders, evident from how Kashmiri terrorist Adil Ahmed Dar hurled gaumutra jibes at Hindus before blowing apart 40 of our jawans.
Every time a government measure for cows or gaushalas is blown out of proportion in the media to create a false alarm of ‘are cows more important than humans’, it reveals more the hatred that the left-liberals harbour for majority of the country than the love of any government for cows.
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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