Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982) was an Indian advocate of non-violence and human rights. He fought his whole life for a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter and quite aptly said that the ‘misapprehensions of the secular character of state and protection of the cow are misunderstood’. But Mahatma Gandhi had clearer thoughts regarding cow slaughter. “Cow slaughter can never be stopped by law. Knowledge, education, and the spirit of kindliness towards her alone can put an end to it. It will not be possible to save those animals that are a burden on the land or, perhaps, even man if he is a burden” said Gandhi in 1946.
Cow has always been a tricky issue for our political class- be it Beef ban or export of Beef. It’s a common fact, that we are exporting a large quantity of beef to numerous countries and we are happily garnering a pink revolution. The real problem is the politicisation of the animal who is considered Kamadhenu- a cow who is worshipped by Gods and instead the animal fulfils wishes of the Gods. Strange but true, that no one feels pity when they see cows roaming on roads and when urban infrastructure too, lacks space to serve the animal in a better manner.
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Rajasthan has the largest livestock population and the state has a cow welfare minister as well. But when it was heard that due to the strike of staffs, around 500 cows died in a government-funded shelter, it was quite saddening for the nation. The cow has proved its role by the milk cooperatives movements and from the desi ghee revolution of Swami Ramdev.
– by Bhavya Srivastava, a freelance contributor. He is a member of International Association of Religion Journalists and can be contacted at Twitter: @MeBhavya