Cow protection and the vigilantes – What’s there in PM Modi’s mind?

The biggest challenge India faces today is, our political parties have become insanely corrupt over last few decades where leaders are shamelessly defending cow slaughter in the name of human rights. By this they have reached new heights of insensitivity towards animals rights.

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Thanks to Narendra Modi’s government, cow protection has lately become the talk of the town. His recent remarks condemning violence and business in the name of cow protection have also picked up momentum. Unfortunately, along with Modi comes politics and come along with politics those filthy, dirty tricks and shameful attempts to convert anything and everything into vote banks.

Modi has been accused by the opposite parties of using cow politics to secure votes from certain communities. The Dadri lynching case, blown  out of proportion by biased media and fueled by India’s sick politics, caused enough unrest in the country and now the Dalit violence case is taking the same, political root. Both incidents are, somehow or other, linked with cow protection.

While it is understandable that opposite parties have direct interest in destabilizing the government, their attempts to do so at the risk of destabilizing India cannot be justified. No political party nor business house should be allowed to misuse or misrepresent cow protection activities carried out by thousands of sincere gau rakshakas across the countries. Similarly, no one should be allowed to provoke violence in the name of cow protection.

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Cow protection is a commitment from BJP government

We recognize that Narendra Modi faces a tough road ahead on many fronts and, due to various undesirable reasons, cow protection is one of them, but what concerns many is his style of making cryptic and interpretable statements that can go against his genuine interest for a stronger India. For example, the statement he recently made about so-called gau rakshakas and subsequent police action on some gau rakshakas in Punjab could discourage genuine cow protectors and encourage anti-social elements who support cow slaughter. PM Modi said some people are opening shops in the name of cow protection. He also spoke firmly in favor of the Dalits. Both make sense.

The two questions asked are:

  1. Is making money out of cow protection ethical?
  2. Is Narendra Modi using cow protection for political gain?

Is making money out of cow protection ethical?

First of all, from commercial point of view, well protected cows can generate an enormous amount of wealth. Gujarat’s Amul dairy is one such glaring example with its turnover rising to Rs 20,000 crores (approximately USD 3 Billion) in F.Y. 2014-15. Cow protection can play a significant role in strengthening India’s economy. Making business out of cows is condemned but getting financial benefits from trading cow milk and other cow products while selflessly protecting cows is within ethical parameters.

Selflessly protecting cows means serving them for the sake of serving them and not with an intention to make money out of them. There are people who protect cows for financial gain. Not ideal, but they are still better than those who don’t protect cows at all. Cow protectors can generate wealth by trading cow products like milk, curd, ghee, cheese, and even cow urine, which has extraordinary medicinal value and is widely used in India, since generations, for curing multiple diseases. At the same time, under no circumstance should people be allowed to indulge in demoniac practices such as using mechanical devices to milk the cows, feeding them chemicals, unnatural food, and using injections to drain out more milk, and forcing cows to engage in artificial breeding. These are criminal activities and those engaged in them should be suitably penalized. Not allowing calves to drink the milk is also unethical and unacceptable.

It is not necessarily a crime if people engage in selling cow products. But it does become a serious crime when the same “cow protectors” abandon or irresponsibly sell off old, diseased, or non-milking cows for protecting their bank balance. Sending them to slaughterhouse is not even considered an option, and personally I see no reason to have sympathy for those engaged in such heinous act. If they are not suitably punished in this life, they will certainly suffer more in some other life because that is the law of Nature, gradually becoming well-known to the world as Karma.

As per Vedic teachings, cow protection automatically brings prosperity but it is just a by-product. The main benefit is spiritual in nature and so eternal. God Himself takes pleasure in being known as Gopal (go-pala), meaning the protector of cows, and because He is pleased with those sincerely engaged in cow protection, He, who is the master of the universe, offers them peace and prosperity as a token of reciprocation. Those who serve cows for the pleasure of Lord Krishna go back to Him after death and live eternally blissful life in the spiritual world.

Is Narendra Modi using cow protection for political gain?

If Narendra Modi is angry at pseudo cow protectors then it is justifiable. Expressing anger at those committing violence in the name of cow protection is also understandable. However, only criticizing them will not do the job. In fact it may backfire as it happened when the Gau Raksha Dal’s Punjab unit chief, Satish Kumar, lashed out at Modi and accused him of using cow protection for political gain after he was booked by Punjab police. “The PM’s statement is politically motivated. It is one-sided. If he had warned the butchers not to slaughter or smuggle cow, then his statement would have been justified. He is doing vote bank politics to get the butchers’ vote,” Kumar was quoted saying.

I heard about this person the first time today. I also read some accusations against him. Nonetheless, he has made a point, and that needs to be addressed.

Has the government warned the cow smugglers and butchers not to indulge in killing cows? Has the government strictly instructed concerned police officers to stop any such unlawful activities? Have they taken stringent action on offenders when they are caught red-handed? How can the government expect Indians to wait until their complaints reach and penetrate its nearly deaf ears, especially when doing so means thousands of cows losing their lives? And even if they do, how long? No surprise we see people taking laws in their hands. Agreed, every citizen must abide by government laws, but does it absolve the government from its decades long mistake of not legislating rules to prevent animal slaughter?

It is safe to assume that the UPA government had no interest in protecting cows. One reason BJP came to power was its commitment to cow protection. If the BJP government turns a blind eye on cow killers or, for whatever reasons, goes slow on imposing strict ban on cow slaughter, it can be seen as a support to it. BJP government’s not-so-hard stand on cow killers allows undue criticism of true cow protectors and, in some cases, even gets them punishment. All under the banner of maintaining law and order.

Considering the current scenario in India and the world, it is undoubtedly an extremely difficult task to implement a nationwide ban on cow slaughter and the initiatives taken by the BJP government in the right direction are praiseworthy, Nonetheless, it remains a concern that cow protection is not given due priority that it needs. For good reasons, Modi is all for cow protection but at times his diplomacy does seem to play a negative role in certain sensitive areas.  This needs to be recognized.

Is it possible that Modi made some statements against cow vigilantes under pressure? Whose pressure? RSS has already aligned with him on what he said about the vigilantes. Besides, in the past he has shown that he can, in a way, distance from even RSS when it comes to maintaining his image as the Prime Minister of India. Nonetheless, his stand on certain issues do seem to be affected by external pressure. If not any particular lobby, it is the public opinion at a given time that compels him to make certain statements. This is understandable considering he has to run the country and needs to win more elections to achieve what he wants to for India.

One concern, however, is that if Mr Modi’s strategy is to gradually turn the wind in his favor and eventually implement a nationwide ban on cow killing, then he needs to keep in mind that, God forbid, if he fails to do so, he would have, by then, prevented many genuine cow protectors from saving cows, quite often at the risk of their own lives, and allowed hundreds of thousands of cows to be killed. For this reason also, the mission to stop cow slaughter needs higher priority. If BJP, with support from RSS and VHP, cannot protect cows then there is no hope for India to see its old golden days, as other parties don’t seem to have any interest in such good work, and killing of cows and being peaceful don’t go together.

The biggest challenge India faces today is, our political parties have become insanely corrupt over last few decades where leaders are shamelessly defending cow slaughter in the name of human rights. By this they have reached new heights of insensitivity towards animals rights. They seem to have lost their last drop of good intelligence, or else any human being, especially those born in India, would not allow animals to be killed the way it is happening now in the country, not to speak of killing the most magnanimous cows.

Foreign forces influencing Indian media is another nuisance that needs to be eradicated. If Indians can be adequately educated in Vedic science and trained in practicing Vedic philosophy, the myriads of challenges that the country faces today can be resolved without committing any violence. This will also help the world see the peace that is missing on the planet since centuries.