The 'Holy Cow' is again making it to the headlines. This time it has come forward by taking away the life of Mohammed Akhlaq. Few weeks ago, a mob of hundred in Dadri village had stormed into the house of Mohammed Akhlaq and lynched a man to death on the rumours of eating beef. And now the debate is raging like a wildfire. Ministers, MPs, and MLAs of ruling party are making controversial comments. Many have defended the act and others have given smart statements which seem neutral but are more inclined towards defense of the act. In fact, this incident has been successful in turning the attention of the countrymen from 'development', promised by the central government, towards 'holy cow'.
There are many organizations, most of them linked with RSS, which are trying to protect cows from slaughtering. They have their own reasons and arguments against cow slaughtering. It is necessary to discuss about this issue as men are being slaughtered as a revenge for slaughtering of cows. People are confused and are taking stands without understanding much about the issue. The arguments put forth in the defense of ban on cow slaughtering and murder of Akhlaq are highly confusing. Let us try to see what is inside these arguments and whether they stand the test of logic, reason, and facts.
Argument No. 1: "Cows are sacred for Hindus"
It is argued that, according to ancient Hindu scriptures like Vedas, cows are considered sacred and divine and hence slaughtering of cows is prohibited. But invasion of Muslim rulers brought beef eating to India. Muslims eat beef because they want to hurt the sentiments of Hindus. So naturally Hindus of Dadri got angry and killed Akhlaq as he had eaten beef.
But people who argue this way cleverly forget the fact that neither beef eating was introduced to India by Muslims nor Vedas hold cow as sacred. There are many references in Rig Veda about the practice of beef eating by Brahmins. Maharshi Yagnavalkya in Shatapatha Brahmana says that he eats beef because it is very soft and delicious. Vasishta Brahmasutra goes a step further and declares that if a Brahmin refuses to eat meat offered to him on the ocassion of 'shradda' or worship, he goes to hell! There are plenty of such evidences which clearly show that ancient people of India were relishing beef two thousand years before the Muslim rulers entered India.
People who claim that Vedas hold cow as sacred have never tried to refute these evidences! They simply ignore and bombard the common people with their blatant lies. They are using social media to spread these lies and are well aware that 99% of the users never check the source or research more about the matter they read.
Argument No. 2: "Cow is like mother to Hindus"
When first argument fails, the protectors of cow turn to this argument. "Should we eat beef because ancients did?" they ask. "The mother who gives birth to a child feeds him milk for less than three years but a cow feeds him with milk for rest of his life. She also gives curd, butter and ghee which we use everyday. She is so much useful to us. Her urine can be used as disinfectant, her dung can be used as fertilizer. Should we kill her just because she is no more profitable? Do we kill our mother because she has become old and no more useful? If someone pose a threat to our mother, do we sit and watch like cowards? No! Akhlaq slaughtered cow and ate her flesh, so Hindus took revenge on him."
Now, we should go to the basics. Are cows voluntarily giving us milk or we are forcefully taking away the milk? First thing, we are taking away the freedom of cow by tying it to some post using rope. Cow is whipped by its owner now and then. Cows are forced to carry heavy loads. Now when cow produces milk for its calf, we forcefully snatching it away! What right do we have to take possession of a cow and drink its milk? Isn't it immoral? Why the protectors of cow still drink its milk? Why don't they fight for the freedom of cows? Do they tie their mothers with rope? Do they whip their mothers? Do they force their mothers to carry weights? If no, how can you let cow, which you consider as your mother, to be treated this way?!
Most of the people who talk about protection of cows have never raised a cow in their life. They don't know the difficulties and cost incurred to raise a cow. They use leather jackets, shoes, belts and purses without ever caring from where it came. This is my firm opinion.
Argument No. 3: "Cows are also living beings like rest of us"
It is argued that cows also have a life. They also feel pain. Hence cow slaughter must be banned.
If we look a little deeper into this, we find that it is just the first two arguments in disguise. Otherwise, why should be that extra emphasis on cow? If they cared about living beings, they should demand ban on slaughtering of all animals. It must be noted that, according to a survey conducted by Anthropological Survey of India in 1993, 88% of the communities living in India were non-vegetarians! That means even majority of the Hindus are non-vegetarians! If the protectors of cow demand ban on animal slaughtering altogether, they would become a minority. Then the slogan of protecting cows would lose its political significance. BJP, the political wing of RSS, has been successful in passing laws against cow slaughtering. That is enough for them because other animals are not as living as cow!
Argument No. 4: "Even constitution is against cow slaughtering"
It is argued that, constitution also prohibits cow slaughtering. There is a law in UP banning it. Despite of knowing it, Akhlaq slaughtered cow and ate beef. So he deserves what was done to him.
This argument sounds like the arguers are lovers of democracy and respect our constitution. But it is quite the contrary. In democracy, we have judicial system to give judgement. Judgement is given by the court according to the law. Whether the law is right or wrong we shall discuss separately. Accused person is given due opportunity to defend himself. Both the parties in a case are allowed to have their say. Evidences must be produced. After all these procedures, if a person is found guilty, punishment is given as per the law. But in Akhlaq's case, none of these democratic norms were followed. The act was carried out in a barbaric fashion, that too over rumours. If a mob of hundred is to decide right and wrong, what is the necessity of police, courts, laws and constitution? So it is beyond doubt that those who defend the killing of Akhlaq are no lovers of democracy.
Then why all these clamours about cow by 'Hindutva' forces? It is because of its political significance. Majority of the Hindus, despite being non-vegetarians, don't eat beef. But majority of the Muslims eat beef. Britishers used this fact to extend their rule by pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other. Now it has been a definite tool in the hands of Hindutva forces to unite Hindus against Muslims for their political gains. And that is why they hide the fact that Vedas endorse beef eating. Even today, many communities in Hindu religion eat beef. But these organizations don't kill them, they don't even talk about them. But when a Muslim eats beef, it becomes a matter of life and death of Hindutva forces.
We must also note that the central government led by BJP is not able to fulfill its tall promises of 'Development'. They are pursuing the same old policies of Congress which have ruined India and have made life miserable for common man. Hence to divert the attention of people from real problems, they are doing politics using cow. Now it is time that we understand the communal politics of these organizations and not fall prey to it.