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Cows on Ramp: India’s Unique Bovine Beauty Pageant

Farmers from 21 districts of Haryana brought their cows and bulls to participate in the event

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(Representative image) Cows on Maheshwar Ghats, Wikimedia
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ROHTAK: On 14 May 2016, hundreds of cows and bulls, decked up in traditional attire, walked the ramp in a bovine beauty pageant which was organised in Haryana’s Rohtak town for the purpose of raising awareness about animal health and promoting domestic cattle breeds.

Farmers from various districts of Haryana brought their cows and bulls to participate in the event and felt proud when they were walking on the ramp along with their animals at the sprawling grounds of the International Institute of Veterinary Education and Research. The state government was trying to promote local breeds of cows and therefore only indigenous breeds were allowed to participate in the event.

Related Article: Beef Controversy: Origins of beef consumption in India

The animals were judged by a panel of experts. The judgement was on the basis of animal’s size and their overall beauty like length of their horns and for cows- their milk yielding capacity was counted as well. Out of more than 630 animals, 18 were selected as winners in different categories- from the healthiest to best-looking cows and bulls, The Times of India reported.

The Agriculture Minister of Haryana, OP Dhankar was invited as the chief guest at the event, gave the prize money of 250,000 rupees (£2,500; $3,600) to the owner of the winning cow.

Cow at the event Image: News18
Cow at the event Image: News18

While most cows and bulls were swift and walked gracefully on the ramp, other had to be pulled and prodded by their owners to walk for judges and finish the ramp distance with the huge crowd cheering their every move.

Cows hold a unique and a sacred position in Hindu society. Apart of being considered as a sacred animal in Hindu mythology and revered by millions of Hindus, cows are also loved as the source of the milk products used in almost every Indian dish, from curries to desserts.

In 2014, India surpassed the European Union as the world’s largest milk producer. A number of Indian states have recently introduced laws completely banning the possession or consumption of beef.

Compiled By Pashchiema Bhatia. Twitter: @pashchiema

 

 

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    Cow is considered as goddess in hindu religion and people worship them, thus they do not prefer eating beef. But banning the consumption on beef according to the Hindu religion beliefs gives the fear of Rising hindu nationalism. India is a secular state, so Hindus cannot force their religion on other religions.

    • Pashchiema Bhatia

      Its not just about religion, there are Hindus as well who consume and but we cannot ignore the fact that banning anything in India is not an easy task.. Due to rising intolerance, government would have to face thousands of protesters confronting the ban.. And moreover, India is a secular country. It cannot support anyone’s religious beliefs while denying the others’

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    Cow is considered as goddess in hindu religion and people worship them, thus they do not prefer eating beef. But banning the consumption on beef according to the Hindu religion beliefs gives the fear of Rising hindu nationalism. India is a secular state, so Hindus cannot force their religion on other religions.

    • Pashchiema Bhatia

      Its not just about religion, there are Hindus as well who consume and but we cannot ignore the fact that banning anything in India is not an easy task.. Due to rising intolerance, government would have to face thousands of protesters confronting the ban.. And moreover, India is a secular country. It cannot support anyone’s religious beliefs while denying the others’

Next Story

The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

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Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.