[ by Charles Cameron — a sad incident on the road, and its context & wider implications ]
I’m always on the lookout for what I term “serpent bites own tail” ouroboros reports; here’s another example:
A one-year-old calf was run over allegedly by the car of Hindu Yuva Vahini’s (HYV) Lucknow district convener in Nivada area in Janakipuram locality of the city on Wednesday. A social organisation founded by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cow protection is one of HYV’s main objectives.
Two quotes by Gandhi:
THE COW is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole dumb creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless.
The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian’
Obviously Gandhi loved and revered cows… for what we might call Hindu, or better, Vedic reasons?
These days, under Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) influence, the love of cows has a political edge, leading to such events as this one:
A Muslim man has died in western India after he was attacked by hundreds of Hindu cow protection vigilantes, the latest attack in a spate of mob killings in the name of the revered animal.
Police said on Wednesday that Pehlu Khan, 55, had died in hospital two days after a group attacked his cattle truck on a road in Alwar in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Gangs of “cow protectors” have been implicated in killing at least 10 people in the past two years as the welfare of the animal has become an increasingly charged issue in Indian politics.
This section between triple asterisks added later, from Barkha Dutt today:
We have already moved on from Mohammad Akhlaq who was killed in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that there was beef in his house and whose son, a corporal in the air force continued to believe his country would grant him justice. And I can confidently wager that not too many people would even know, leave alone remember, who Majloom Ansari and Inayatullah Imtiaz Khan are. In March 2016 they were found hanging from a tree in a Jharkhand village, their hands tied together by the nylon chords used to hold cattle. Imtiaz was only 12 years old. A school-going child, he was accompanying Ansari to a cattle fair in the hope of making a few extra bucks for his family. Later it emerged that Ansari had been threatened just a few days earlier by a gang of extortionists who asked him for a 20,000 rupee bribe money to ferry his oxen. The National Commission of Minorities team that investigated the killing reported a “brazen communal bias” in the police handling of the lynching and said that complaints by Muslim traders against the so called cow-protections groups had been ignored. A few months later the Jharkhand Chief Minister declared that “If India is your country; the cow is your mother.” But no mother would allow murder in her name.
Once again: the cow is your mother.
But then on the legal issue, Gandhi is quoted as saying:
How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians and other religious groups here.