The Holy Cow

This refers to your article “Holy Cow With Unholy Fate” (Kashmir Observer, April 11). Of course, the cow has long had a place in Indian politics: the country’s constitution includes a provision explicitly urging a gradual movement toward full prohibition of cow slaughter – a ban that has already been implemented in most states. Mahatma Gandhi said “Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of that lives and is helpless and weak in the world.” Reverence for cows is in the major texts of the Vedic religion. The cow was possibly revered because humans are relied heavily on it for dairy products and for tilling the fields, and on cow dung as a source of fuel and fertilizer.

India has 150 million cows today, giving an average of less than 200 litres of milk per year. The cow has been a symbol of wealth in India since ancient times. However, they were neither inviolable nor revered in the same way today. Now a days, it has been slaughtered in large numbers. The National Democratic Alliance government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee did try to protect old cattle through the provision of monthly allowance—a scheme of the Animal Welfare Board then under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. But the scheme was never implemented. Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live so ling as there are Hindus to protect the cow.


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