August 20, 2016: Cow vigilantes have made the situation precarious and have hurt the sentiments of Punjab. PM Narendra Modi’s assertion and the warning to the disservice of Gau Rakshaks have now got a new angle.
“Cow Worship and compassion of Gau Seva,” as our PM said, is now a debatable issue especially in the case of Hingonia and many other cow shelters where cow conservators are reaping the benefits of milk revolution. Sheltering cows are not new to the people of this country; even deities and castes are linked with this sacred animal and are believed to share an inseparable bond. In Hindu Mythology, Lord Krishna is known to be ‘Yaduvanshi’ and till date the Yadavs, a Hindu sect is known for protection of cows and its conservation. Religious significance attached to it has helped us to protect the animal- “gau hamari mata hai.”
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.
There is a big gap between political sensitivity and people’s nature towards animals, which has proved to be very useful in numerous ways. It is beyond doubt, that there are thousands of cowsheds which are engaged in cow breeding, conservation, dispensaries, and care. They holistically work to save the Indian breeds and take care of the old age cows. Gau Seva versus Gau Raksha are the two corners of this real story.
Media reports said, in Punjab, a particular body is behaving like an army of cow protectors and willfully harassing people who go against their views or ideas. Gau Raksha Dal is a menace which is taking place due to the sentiments and lawlessness of the state. Even cow organisations are now opposing them and the Hindu organisations are now facing heat to ideologically support them. Cow protection through law is more challenging than public awareness campaigns.
PM Modi knows the value of cows especially when its status is venerated. In 1966, when thousand of saints marched towards Delhi; they went through a brutal time and many bruises had created. In this November, 50 years of this fateful day will be remembered in full glow. There are many organisations who work for cow protection and has now teamed up to do a big show in Delhi where PM Modi will be invited. The initiative to ‘save the cow’ campaign revolves mostly around beef and illegal trade. A few months back a saint from Punjab, Swami Krishnanandji got disappeared. He was known for his best practices and services to save the cow.
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
The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe
The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.
The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.
Here are few things about it you may not have known before :
Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.
The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.
The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.
The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.
It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.