Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here on Friday said smuggling of cows for slaughter to neighbouring nations had come down drastically since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government came to power.
In his parliamentary constituency on a two-day visit, Singh said it was due to the union government’s efforts that the Border Security Force stepped up vigil on Indo-Bangladesh border, as a result of which cow smuggling to the neighbouring nation had reduced.
Earlier, Singh claimed, 13 lakh cows were being smuggled to Bangladesh annually and the number has now declined to 2-3 lakhs, leading to a big hike in rates of beef in Bangladesh.
Attributing this piece of information to the Bangladesh high commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali, the home minister said the envoy had told him that the rates of cow meat had shot through the roof in his country
8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.
Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.
This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.
Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.
Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.
“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.
In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.
Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.
But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.
‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.
Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.
“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.
Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.
“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.
Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.
With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.
There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.
“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.
The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.
“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.
“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.
For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.
“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.
Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.
Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.
“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”
The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.
In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.
Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.
She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”
But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.
(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at email@example.com)
The Bill was passed in the State Assembly and it prohibits the killing of cows and its female calf across the state
In Assam, the slaughter of cows is banned
The people of Sikkim consider the cow as sacred and have an emotional attachment to it
New Delhi, August 31, 2017: Sikkim became the 2nd North Eastern state (after Assam) to ban Cow Slaughter, the bill was passed by Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) which is a part of the BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). On August 29, the Bill was passed in the State Assembly and it prohibits the killing of cows and its female calf across the state.
The legislation was tabled by Somnath Poudyal, the state Animal Husbandry Minister and it was titled Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill, 2017.
As per the Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill, 2017, a cow has been defined as a dry cow, milking cow, calf and under the Act it will be a non-bailable offense and cognizable offense. If anyone is found slaughtering a cow in Sikkim, he/she will face imprisonment of not less than 2 years (it can be extended to 5 years) and the offender will have to pay a fine of minimum Rs 10,000. A repeat offender will have to face rigorous imprisonment for at least 5 years (it can be extended to 7 years) with a fine of not less than Rs 10,000.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, during the discussion on the Bill on 29th August, said that the protection of cow has become vital due to the “need of inputs for organic farming” in Sikkim.
Chamling said, “The government wants to invoke a humane, ethical and sustainable alternative to taking care of aged and unproductive cows in gaushalas (cow sheds).” The Chief Minister said that the state government will construct 2 gaushalas for this purpose.
Until now, other North Eastern states have not banned cow slaughter. However, in Assam, the slaughter of cows is banned with one exception- if ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate is issued to them, those cows will be slaughtered at designated places. Though, they are not strict enough as cow slaughter is not a cognizable offense.
In Sikkim, the majority Nepali Hindu population doesn’t consume beef but the native population of Bhutias and Lepchas traditionally do.
Poudyal talked about how the cow is considered as a mother in India for the dairy industry, agriculture industry, and the mankind. He said, “The people of Sikkim consider the cow as sacred and have an emotional attachment to it.”
Poudyal gave some other reasons as well:
The dairy sector in Sikkim is the single-largest employer along with agriculture and is a major source of income for small and marginal farmers.
Over 80% of the rural households own dairy animals and earn supplementary income from these activities.
He added, “The government has deemed it necessary to frame a legislation to prohibit and prevent the slaughter of cows and its female progeny in the state of Sikkim.”
The new legislation provides an exception- for the cows suffering from contagious or infectious diseases. If one wants to slaughter an infected cow, a certificate is required from the competent authority. A designated place will be chosen to slaughter such a cow which will be according to the rules set in the Act. The dead body of the cow should be disposed of or buried according to the rules prescribed in the new Act.
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. Click here– www.newsgram.com/donate
Politically independent India continued to be dependent on the west for intellectual progress
Nehru and his followers rejected India’s past and envisioned a different nation away from its important culture
August 22, 2017: India’s culture has been its representative in the global arena. The cultural background of the country can be traced back to thousands of years. The Vedas, written thousands of years ago, still dictate our lifestyle and thoughts.
But this remarkable cultural heritage was infused with Marxism and Communism by India’s leftist leaders. David Frawley, in his recent article, traces the impact of leadership on Indian traditional culture.
But, Pandit Vamadeva Shastri also known as David Frawley- the Director of American Institute of Vedic Studies observes how the exclusive Indian culture was outsourced to the left by Pandit Nehru. “Congress outsourced education and cultural development to the far left, Marxists and Communists, with which Nehru had much affinity,” says Frawley in his website vedanet.com. Nehru was vocal about his different idea of the country that goes away from its genuine culture. Nehru, along with his followers, rejected the Indian past.
Although the country had become politically independent, the intellectual progress continued to be dependent on the west, courtesy of the “Delhi elite, which though located in India, kept their minds residing outside the country.” Traditional Indian culture was criticized by these very people.
Indira Gandhi cannot be said to have continued this trend, but she too “supported the same westernized elite for whom Indian civilization was a dangerous myth to be eliminated for modern progress,” writes David Frawley.
Dr. Frawley also highlights that the influence of Marxism on Indian education was known to very few people in the West. Additionally, the West was also unaware of the socialist stand of the Indian economy.
It was the RSS through the expression of BJP that sought to retain Indian values and culture. But the efforts proved futile as it was perceived backward and antique to stick to Indian cultures. As David Frawley rightly observes, “Much of this was owing to Marxist propaganda that has always demonized its opponents, which the Congress dominated media gladly followed.”
There was hope in 1999 when BJP took the power through PM Vajpayee, but not much changed in the mindset of the nation. Rather, “India fell back into the old leftist rule with a vengeance and a massive corruption and nepotism under the UPA in 2004 that continued for ten years,” notes Dr. Frawley.
The 2014 elections saw the formation of Modi government in India. India’s new leader, Narendra Modi, came to national politics with “the power of vision, personal charisma, a forward development agenda and tremendous work to usher in a new India.”
Modi envisions a technologically advanced India through older Indian ethos. The PM plans on introducing “social media, cashless society, smart cities and a radically improved infrastructure.”
David Frawley acknowledges Modi’s love for Indian traditions. The PM has come up with a lot of programs to help the poor masses of the country. “He is not afraid to be a Hindu or to attend Hindu functions, while at the same time excelling as a modern technocrat,” explores David Frawley.
Modi’s beliefs in Hinduism are not confined to sectarian thoughts, rather, a broad spiritual pursuit of “Yoga, meditation, universal consciousness, and self-realization.”
David Frawley believes that humanity can be inspired through a renovated and revitalized India. The Nehruvian idea of India is slowly dying as PM Modi builds a competitive India in sync with its traditions.
– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.