Dear Gau Rakshaks,
I am happy to see your anxiety in connection with the protection of the members of my species. I have heard that you stripped, flogged, and paraded some poor men for skinning a dead cow. You flogged them tethering their hands together and fastening them to the backside of a posh vehicle! If you are genuinely concerned about our safety and well being, it means you are very good and kind people. How can good and kind people strip, tether and flog their fellow beings for skinning a dead cow? Don’t you know that India is home to many tanneries and leather industries? Cows are killed and skinned because their skins (hide) fetch money; because many things you people use in your daily life are made of our skins; because you make huge profits by exporting our skin (and meat too). If you stop using such products, if you stop making profit by exporting our skin and meat, automatically there will be no demand for our skins and nobody will kill and skin us. The point I am coming to is that when you see cows are killed and skinned, you should direct your ire against the economic system that makes everything a commodity. And you should go to the bigwigs of leather industry and tell them to stop functioning of their industries, instead of flogging and parading underprivileged people who skin dead cows to eke out a living. Do you have the courage to do so? If you don’t, will you please stop protecting us in order to commit atrocities on the minorities and Dalits?
Don’t you know that millions of farmers have been killing themselves in your country because those who rule the country have preferred safeguarding the interests of corporate business to that of the farmers ever since 1991? If agriculture is given prime importance, there will be a symbiotic relationship between the cattle and the people, and it will spontaneously assure our protection. Why don’t you revolt against the policies of the State and Centre governments that ruin agricultural sector and destroy the bond between our species and your species? When the agrarian economy crumbles due to the corporate servile policies of your rulers, we cattle can only be the raw materials for your meat and leather industries. Therefore try to revive the agrarian economy, try to stop using leather products, and try to abolish the industries that thrive only on our meat and skin. Tell your governments to have a policy shift to achieve such goals. Do you have the guts to do so? If not will you please stop intimidating and torturing the hapless people in the name of protecting cows?
When you stripped and flogged those innocent men, many of you must have worn leather footwear, I presume. Most probably that must be made of our hide. Therefore I think that your cow protection fervour is only a means to commit atrocities on the less privileged. If you ‘protect’ us and ill-treat the Dalits and Adivasis, I think that it is a very bad thing. You should consider the Dalits and Adivsis as human beings just like you with all the rights you are entitled to have. You should protect the weakest sections of the humans and ensure their safety and well-being before coming to protect the cows and bullocks.
Do you know that the river Narmada has become a trickle as a result of the dams of the SSP? The mighty river shrunk to a width of 400m instead of 1.5 km near Bharuch, the city at the mouth of the Narmada in Gujarat, and the sea water has entered up to 40 km inside, leading to serious salinity of drinking and irrigation water. The SSP is a huge ecological and social disaster, says Ashish Kothari of Kalpavriksh in an article (Chronicle of a tragedy foretold) published in The Hindu (July 19, 2016). Why don’t you go and shatter the SSP, tether the hands of those who are responsible to the death of the river and flog them? Do you have the courage to do so? It will not be as easy as committing inhuman atrocities on hapless and defenceless people. If you can’t stop the state-sponsored killing of the rivers and the forests that sustain human beings including you (even if I have serious doubts on the humanness of the vigilantes like you) on earth, why do you thrash those poor people in the name of cow protection, you cowards? We cows are ashamed of you criminal elements pretending to be gau rakshaks in order to commit atrocities on the poor. You are not gau rakshaks but anti-social elements who shatter social harmony and peace.
People of your kind demolished a five hundred years old historic edifice in 1992 and caused widespread communal riots in the country. You people said that it was to avenge the Muslim rulers’ invasion of our country and forced conversion of the people to their religion you demolished the edifice. If foreign rulers could invade and conquer India in the Middle Ages, was it not because you lacked social coherence and harmony? If people converted to a foreign religion en masse, was it not because your religion denied the breathing space and human dignity to them? Was it not because your religion kept a vast number of people underprivileged and deprived? And why don’t you listen to the wise words of our one and only visionary Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru written in The Discovery of India? He says that “it is wrong and misleading to talk of a Moslem invasion of India or of the Moslem period in India, just as it would be wrong to refer to the coming of the British to India as a Christian invasion, or to call the British period in India a Christian period. Islam did not invade India.”
It is high time you stopped arm-twisting the weakest people and the minorities instead of removing the rot within. How can you who can’t protect the hapless people among you ‘protect’ us the animals?
Yours own Gau Ma.
Postscript: It seems that Indian democracy is under siege by the vigilante groups. The vigilantes of various hues belonging to a particular religion enjoy impunity to indulge in hooliganism in the name of protecting the cow or the culture. In a democracy the weakest sections should enjoy safety and security just as the strongest sections. But in the present day India atrocities are perpetrated on the Dalits and Adivasis with greater impunity than in ancient India. The killing of Kalburgi in Karnataka, the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in U P, the flogging of Dalit youths in Gujarat, spring from the same source—the cultural intolerance or fascism that is diametrically opposite to democratic values.
The basic problem seems to be that the Modi government has nothing to deliver for the well-being of the people as a whole, especially for the well-being of the downtrodden. The government is looking after the affairs of the corporate sector in deed and only in words it looks after the downtrodden. That is why the vigilante groups are given absolute freedom to ‘engage’ the people. In his 32-minute long speech delivered extempore at the Central Hall of Parliament on 20th May 2014, Narendra Modi said that his “government is one which thinks about the poor, listens to the poor and which exists for the poor. … The new government is dedicated to the poor. This government is for the villagers, farmers, Dalits and the oppressed, for their aspirations and this is our responsibility.”
In the wake of the growing atrocities perpetrated on the Dalits ever since the NDA under the leadership of Mr. Modi has come to power, can we say that this government is really for Dalits and the oppressed?
What an honest man Mr. Modi is!
Sukumaran C. V. is a writer from Kerala