By Salman Sultan,
We attained freedom at midnight. In words of Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India “at the stroke of the midnight hour when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom”. After almost seven decades have we achieved that light which was pledged to us by the Freedom Fighters? Of course, we have taken great strides in the field of communication apart from others like defense technology, rural electrification, road networks etc. As a pluralistic society and with diversified culture evident throughout the length and breadth of the peninsula, we are proud to hold our democratic traditions and have survived even the worst onslaught of emergency years. We, the people of India, have shown great resilience to uphold our secular fabric in the face of repeated attempts of polarization for electoral gains. We still hold dear our tradition of amicable living of communities in an environment of mutual cooperation, particularly in our rural region.
However, recent attempts of mob/group violence resulting in utter humiliation and even loss of lives in many cases is a matter of deep concern for all peace loving, law-abiding citizens of our beloved country. Directive Principles of State Policy, 48 states: the Constitution requires the State to “take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves in other milch and draught cattle.” While Cows have been mentioned but it is along with other milch and draught cattle but we hardly witness any attempt for the welfare of other milch cattle like buffaloes, goat etc. It is ironical that scores of cows are dying in Cow Protection Homes (“Gaushala”) as happened in Rajasthan. In order to raise local breed ‘desi cows’ NDA government allotted 500 crores. For Hingonia Goshala, Jaipur, government spent Rs. 10.78 crores on improving infrastructure in the year 2015-16 up from Rs. 3.59 crores in 2011-12 but even then hundreds of cows died due to neglect and malnutrition. (http://www.ohmyindia.com/cow-deaths-in-hingonia-goshala-rajasthan-the-real-and-complete-truth). It is interesting to note that while cows are dying in State sponsored ‘Goshalas’ in Rajasthan, Marwar Muslim Educational & Welfare society maintains a ‘Goshala’ with 200 plus cows. When Mr. Mohammed Atique, General Secretary of the society, was asked about the supply of cows, he replied that people come and handover unproductive old cows. Why we see scores of Cows loitering on city streets posing great danger to traffic? In Gujarat this can be witnessed in Mehsana as well as even in the state capital Gandhinagar. While travelling to Gandhinagar, dozens of cows seen on main thoroughfares prompted this remark from fellow traveler “Is it Gandhinagar or ‘Gai-nagar’?”
When Ekhlaq was lynched by an unruly mob in the name of Cow, government, instead of arresting those who have taken law into their hands, was ironically trying to establish the identity of meat found in his house. As per article 21 of the constitution: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” One is fully aware of the sentiments of our fellow citizens towards Cow and even Mughal Emperor Babur advised his son Humayun to care of the sentiments of his subject in this regards. However, one cannot deny the fact that buffaloes and goats are not visible as traffic hindrance on our roads as Cows and that this is simply related to economic viability.
In the name of Cow vigilantism, people involved in skinning carcasses or moving cattle were thrashed or lynched as happened in Una or elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh, J & K and Jharkhand etc. Have these so-called Cow Vigilantes ever adopted abandoned Cows loitering on our streets? Have they ever cared for the painful death of these Cows after eating rubbish like Plastics? Why these vegetarian vigilantes have not raised objection over our flourishing beef exports which has increased by 15% and put our country at the top of beef exporters even ahead of Australia and Brazil in this NDA government? Ironically, world’s largest cow-meat supplier company, Pepsico, is headed by a Tamil Brahmin woman. Have these so-called Cow Vigilantes boycott PepsiCo products?
Our country will really attain freedom when it upholds the dignity of human life and treats all its citizens’ welfare on equal footing irrespective of their vote shares and tendency to vote.