Now days, India is witnessing a new trend of cow vigilantism where people of one religion are enforcing law which prevents transportation of cows, possession of beef or consumption of beef in any manner. There has been a surge in incidents of mob lynching or communal clashes among people belonging to different religions over the matters related to cows.
Cows had been a sacred animal for Hindus since ages. Millions of Hindus revere and worship cows. Hinduism is a religion that raises the status of Mother to the level of Goddess. Therefore, the cow is considered a sacred animal, as it provides us life sustaining milk. The cow, therefore, is seen as a maternal figure, a care taker of her people. The cow is a symbol of the divine bounty of earth. Throughout the Vedic scriptures there are verses which emphasize that the cow must be protected and cared for. It is considered a sin to kill a cow and eat its meat. It is believed that all the god and goddesses reside in the cow making it a holy creature.
Being a secular country, India has seen many religions grow and prosper, Hinduism, being one of the most tolerant religion had accepted many religions in past with open hands and is still doing so but what if this practice challenges the existence of basic Hindu traditions and culture? Preservation of cows and banning beef is one of the core issues that Hindu people feel is the need of the hour.
As a result, many people have organized themselves into groups to protect cow and to prevent any activity that they deem unfit or wrong. But the important question arises is are we going on a right path? Are we treating cows the way we treat our mother? There are few things which everyone who considers cow a sacred should think about:
- Many people who own cows leave their animals to wander on roads. This creates traffic problems and chaos.
- Many cows are left to eat anything on roads thereby possessing direct health hazards as the animals don’t know what to eat and what not to eat ending up in consuming a lot of plastic garbage.
- When cows fell ill they are left to die a painful death on roads.
- Very few vigilantes actually take care of the cows and send them to cow sheds or Gaushalas, rest do it for political mileage.
Protecting cow is a very broader issue and needs to be addressed carefully taking into consideration proper care and settlement of cows ensuring food, shelter and medical facilities for them. Until then this cow vigilantism is going nowhere except creating differences between communities and religions
- The cows saved should be taken care of properly and it should be ensured that they reach gaushalas.
- Gaushalas should be funded well and checked for anomalies so that animals don’t suffer.
- Cows wandering on roads should be seized until the cow owner furnishes a bond to protect her.
- The people who are involved in skinning should be organized and a proper channel should be created for management of dead animals.
- If the government allows consumption of beef, then only those animals who are certified for consumption should be supplied to registered butchers.
At the end, it is not only cow, every animal deserves respect and should be treated well.