MILKING THE HOLY COW & HOW?

COW

Not that we didn’t know of the idiosyncrasies surrounding our socio-political system; But when these take epic dimensions with debates around stray cows becoming more sacrosanct than jobs & economy, we can only look heavenwards for divine intervention.   

BY DANFES

Such can be the impact on political discourse created by the vagaries of an election by ballot that it forces the aspirants to eat their own humble more too often. That the incongruent, ignorant, innocent cow can act as a messiah, an elixir for politicians to gain or retain power, speaks volumes about the competitive eccentricities that defy any progressive rationale whatsoever. A truly amazing phenomenon that is straight out of the ancient stable of fables. While the self styled champions of Gau Raksha (Cow Protection) & Cow Vigilantism may get the benefit of doubt for their dabbling in histrionics & bluster, the joining in the bandwagon of the opponents hook, line & sinker is baffling to say the least. The contradictions notwithstanding, it would be interesting & of some academic interest too if a quota is also on the anvil for cows based on their size, shape, color, ownership, usefulness & breed, they belong to. That would be the ultimate tribute to the Holy animal that up till now was only known as milk & manure producing livestock. But to the politicians back home, this animal is simply divine that also helps them win elections & score brownies.

Quite dramatically the Madhya Pradesh Government has booked few people from Agar Malwa district under the National Security Act on for allegedly transporting cows illegally. This comes days after the Kamal Nath led Congress Government invoked the stringent Act against three persons accused of cow slaughter in Khandwa district. It is insignificant as to what caste or color the alleged accused belonged to. The fact that they have been charged with disturbing public order & for transporting cows illegally, is in itself debatable. Following their arrest, a local court sent the accused to a jail in Ujjain city. Whether the Congress is intent on appropriating cow protection or does it pre-empt disruption by the inimical forces & hence this action, only time will tell. But for the time being, this is competitive, electoral politics at its worst. The underlying disquiet is about the he stringent NSA being invoked against the culprits. Is this the majority appeasement, a new form of Congress-ism or is it something that is in sync with the law of the land? More of the former than the later, we are afraid the Congress might have gone too far in this matter.

Cut to UP & the Adityanath government has allocated Rs 447 crore for cow shelters in one of its budget announcements. The state finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal, who presented the state budget for the 2019-2020 financial years also earmarked Rs 459 crore for the modernisation of madrasas. It is as hilarious as it could get. Yet again the vicissitudes of an election have forced the BJP government to do an about turn on the issue of Madrasas which it thought were the breeding grounds of fundamentalist propaganda. To earmark a fund for their modernisation may well be a fine balancing act in the hope that it is able to create some dent in the SP-BSP vote bank of Muslims come 2019 Lok Sabha polls. So while the government has allocated Rs 247 crore for maintenance and construction of cow shelters in rural areas, another Rs 200 crore was set aside for the Kanha Gaushala and destitute Cattle Shelter Scheme in urban areas. Earlier this year the administration had approved a plan to set up temporary cattle shelter facilities in urban and rural areas for stray cows, and impose a “cow welfare cess” for the maintenance of these facilities.

On its part the Modi Government has approved the setting up of a national cow commission for “conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny”, as per a government press release. The Centre said the setting up of a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will increase growth in the livestock sector, and this will benefit women, small and marginal farmers. The commission will be tasked with providing a framework for cow conservation and development programmes, said the government. The commission will collaborate with other government institutions working on research in fields such as breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure and biogas, the press release further elaborated. As per some estimates there are 19 crore cows in the country, and around 10 crore bulls,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “This is a major resource for the country. Hence we have made this commission.”  It was the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal who had first announced such a commission in his budget speech in Parliament on February 1.

The Congress-led government in Rajasthan has asked district collectors to felicitate citizens who adopt stray cows on Independence Day and Republic Day. The order by the Directorate of Gopalan, dated December 28, said the initiative was aimed at motivating organisations and “charitable and sensitive citizens” to adopt cows. India’s growing stray cattle problem has been making frequent headlines. In the last week of December and first week of January, farmers across western Uttar Pradesh began to herd stray cattle into district schools to prevent them from attacking their crops. In Aligarh, farmers locked up 800 cows in district schools on the night of December 25. A few days later, farmers in Agra did the same. In Shahjahanpur, the police registered a case against 28 people for breaking open a school on the night of January 2.

India no doubt has huge stray problem that is assuming epic proportions. You can see cows in droves blocking roads & highways. They are exposed to grave danger of being injured or run over by the traffic. The uglier sight is cows eating plastic & waste from the garbage dumps that lay all over the place. Even the bonafide owners act indifferent at times by letting their assets roam around the town. The countryside has its own woes to share. Their problem is that the strays vandalise their crops in search of proper nutrition. It is one thing to advocate Cow protection, cow reverence etc, but it is quite another to come up with some concrete measures once & for all.