Gau Raksha, which literally means “Protection of the cow”, has become the talk of the town since the past few days. The cow is considered to be holy and is worshipped as the “mother” by the believers of Hinduism, the major religion of India. While anyone is free to follow his religion and follow its ideologies, a particular group of people have recently become fanatics over the issue of cow protection.
The issue has been gaining momentum since the past few months, starting with the murder of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over the allegation of consuming and storing beef. Now it has come a long way, encompassing appalling incidents like the beating up of beef transporters on road and forcing them to consume cow dung and flogging of a Dalit family in the context of skinning dead cattle. More people are being thrashed with each passing day by some self-styled ‘Gau Rakshaks’ or cow protectors. These protectors have gone to the extent of claiming to be proud of being called ‘goons’ for protecting cows.
Protecting someone or something should not be at the behest of hurting other innocent fellow beings or their sentiments. Beating up people and creating anarchy over the issue of skinning of dead cattle should not be a news headline in a developing country like India. If Gau Rakshaks are so compassionate about protecting the cow, they need to develop a judicious approach for the same which will actually protect the cow.
While there is this huge hue and cry over Gau Raksha, how many of the vigilantes are aware of the fact that about 500 cows have died of starvation in Rajasthan Government-run cattle shelter due to some workers’ strike?
When will Gau Rakshaks ensure that cattle shelters are functioning smoothly and the cattle are well fed and looked after there?
When will vigilantes question the Government about what has been done in the Veterinary Sector to improve the livelihood of cattle? How many veterinary schemes have been developed in the name of gau raksha or protection of any other animal?
What have the gau rakshaks done to check the consumption of littered plastics by cows on the streets?
What has been done to improve the productivity of milch cattle so that dairy products, especially milk, can contribute a higher share to the country’s agriculture GDP?
I believe, Gau Rakshaks and their mission will be successful only when there is a befitting reply to such questions and when there is better treatment of cows in avenues like fodder, shelter, maintenance, medical treatment and productivity. Till then, Gau Raksha will just serve the purpose of acquiring cheap publicity by self-styled cow protectors, playing the victim card by the oppressed classes and gathering a confident vote bank by political magnates.