The world’s religions are witnessed to possess varying beliefs about cattle. In one of the oldest religions of the world, the Hinduism, cows are deeply known to be sacred and held in high esteem. A ban on the slaughter, eating and serving of certain types of animals and their meat is not uncommon across the globe.
“Gau mata”(cow, the mother) is once again becoming a convenient political tool for the Indians and is witnessed back to their favourite pass time: Minority bashing and protection of the sacred cow. Predictably, all hell broke lose last month when the public flogging of low caste four (Dalit) men in Gujarat’s Una town for allegedly killing the cow which they were skinning went viral on social media and naturally, politicians of all hues rushed there to milk the political fallout of the incident.
In fact, every bit of the cow is useful. Even its urine has miraculous medicinal value. Therefore, it has a central place in religious rituals as well as free rein to roam in streets. Over the years, a majority of States (26 or 27) have passed controversial slaughter laws, which make killing local cows illegal. Leaders in India need to remember that India is conceived as a democratic rather than majoritarian country wherein the minorities have certain basic rights. This is the essence of being secular. It is about tolerating differences and not beating it to a pulp with a meaty bone.
Politicising Hinduism to tailor to their ambitious needs and electoral gains where one man’s opium is another man’s poison. If this trend goes unchecked society will get dangerously fragmented.