South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Life in Modi-2.0’s la-la land?
Amjed Jaaved

More problems than just cows
In post-election cow-vigilante’s India, fanatic Hindus’ new pastime is to lynch cap-wearing Muslims. A mosque-goer Muslim in Gurugram was told by a group of cap vigilantes to remove his skullcap and chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. After his failure to do so, they thrashed him with sticks. A lecturer was arrested for his two-year-old post on Facebook justifying beef eating by adivasis (tribals). Kashmiri students in various Indian states were expelled for their unpalatable posts on Facebook. Three persons forced a Muslim to shave off his beard and then posted the whole episode on the Internet. A migrant doctor was beaten up by nine vigilantes even in his new abode in New Delhi.

Cow-related lynching is an old phenomenon dating back to at least 1714. It is eerie that India has outpaced Brazil as the largest exporter of beef since 2014. Contributing quite a bit to these exports is Al-Dua, among the leading exporters of halal meat to Arab nations. Even if every Muslim shuns beef as anathema, there would still be 12.5 million Hindus who would continue doing so. Vigilantes would still find some other excuse to attack Muslim community, like Hindu-Muslim marriages.

It is strange that ‘status of cow’ overshadowed all other issues in India’s elections. One is shocked to read that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath equated cows with human beings last July. Some political wizards have even tried to distort religion. They say it is a sin under various religions to eat beef (Islam and Christianity included). A Goa legislator complained that cow vigilantes (gau rakshak) intercept beef trucks into Karnataka and put phenyl on the meat to make it unfit for eating.

Unlike the Christians, Muslims are a scared minority though they are 14 per cent of population. Muslims are weak. Their share in Parliament is not proportionate to their population

Mr Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court talked in detail about the benefits of the cow in his 193-page judgment. His judgment, a mélange of scriptures and law, glistens with hijinks like ‘Peacocks Don’t Have Sex’, ‘Cow is a Surgeon’, ‘a complete pharmacy’, and Cow is a ‘National Animal’. The judge says in his verdict: “Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country.” His verdict relates to a Public Interest Litigation by an organisation which sought steps for the protection of cows.

Later, in an interview to CNN-News18, the judge said, “The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). He never has sex with the peahen. The peahen pecks on the tears of the peacock to get pregnant. That’s how she gives birth to a peacock or a peahen.

This is why Lord Krishna also wears the peacock feather. This is why the peacock feather is used by sadhus.” The judge revealed that when Lord Krishna came to earth, he brought down a cow with him to Vrindavan. And he knew that the cow could suffice for doctors and surgeons because cow’s milk is medicinal in nature, and cures all kinds of ailments (except insanity).

The judge’s reflections are not the first-ever ‘scientifically inaccurate and outright asinine’ outbursts Earlier, Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani proudly proclaimed, defying all boundaries of human knowledge about mammals, that the cow is the only animal that inhales as well as exhales oxygen. Speaking at the Hingonia Goshala during an event organised by Akshaya Patra Foundation on January 14, the minister said, “The cow is the only animal that takes in oxygen and also releases oxygen.” “It increases religiousness and piousness. This is what makes cow’s milk so important”. It is repugnant to common sense that cow milk alone could cure malaria, dengue, smallpox, Ebola and AIDS.

Even if Muslims give up dairy farming and eating beef, about 12.5 million Hindus would continue to do so. The extremists would lynch or demonise Muslims on other excuses like when a Muslim marries a Hindu sweetheart, or simply because a Muslim voyeur stares at a Hindu woman sharing a seat with him in a bus. When Rahul Gandhi met some Muslim intellectuals in New Delhi, he was dubbed pro-Muslim and his party ‘a haven for the Muslim’.

A bird’s eye view of India’s real issues is given in Barkha Dutt’s book This Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines. In the chapter A Society in Flux, the writer pointed out that ‘seven out of ten households in India live on less than Rs200 a day’ India is home to world’s poorest 1.2 billion people and 1.4 million children die before their fifth birthday’ The book also recounts violence in Indian society (Samjhota Express Blasts 2007, Malegaon blasts 2008, anti-Sikh riots 1984, anti-Muslim riots 2002, and lynchings by cow guards (gau rakshak).

Ignoring real issues, India’s Uttarakhand Assembly passed a resolution for ‘declaration of cow as rashtriya mata, national mother’.

A detailed report on benefits of cow-and-dung recipes published online included things like: (a) A cow-dung-and-urine beauty soap could stall ageing. Krishna looked like a 12-year-old as he used such soap. (b) Cow dung and urine (gau, gober and gau mutra) could prevent radiation when used to construct a bunker or rubbed on a mobile phone. This compound can defuse even an atomic bomb. (c) Pregnant women should have cow dung-urine derivatives for normal delivery.

India’s prestigious ‘Institute of Technology has received about 50 proposals from top research institutions across the country to explore benefits of panchagavya, (mixture of cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee and curd). India’s Union Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a 19-member panel to conduct a detailed research on cow derivatives and their benefits.

Unlike the Christians, Muslims are a scared minority though they are 14 per cent of population. Through sheer hard work, Indian Christians developed niches in all walks of Indian national life. They include former and current chief ministers, governors and chief election commissioners. To the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s chagrin, Christians are the second most educated religious group in India after Jains. Muslims are weak. Their share in Parliament is not proportionate to their population.

Post-election phenomena of cap lynching, and Facebook persecution, caricature Modi’s post-election slogan sab ka vishwas (all inclusive).