Sunday, July 12, 2009


Protect cows: Muslim leader


NEW DELHI: Adding a broader dimension to the debate on cow slaughter, a prominent Muslim leader has said that the Central law being considered by the Vajpayee government should "not be limited only to 'non-use of beef' but should also protect those cows that wander the streets as 'stray animals' and suffer from the eating of garbage, plastic and other poisons".

In a statement, Maulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi, chairman of the Old Delhi-based Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool, said protection must be provided to those "unfortunate cows who die a slow death on the streets... Indian cows must be protected not just from the slaughtering knife but also from hunger, unhygienic food and dirty conditions". Dehlavi stressed that the cow is the "symbol and worship for Hindus and so protection of cow is very important".

Although in different parts of the world people belonging to different religions use beef, he said, "in India, in view of the respect of cow, the Indian Muslims also have regards and respect for cow and avoid using beef".
Gehlot turn to 'milk' cow

Express News Service

Jaipur, February 27: The Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation (RCDF) is gearing up for some serious milking. Cows are in and buffaloes are out as milk booths in Jaipur gear up to sell ''pure cow milk'' this weekend. Ignoring all talk of a political plot behind the promotion of cow milk in the state, around 500 booths in Jaipur will display gleaming new polypacks of cow milk. By mid-March, all 1,400 booths in the city will follow suit.

Brushing aside all conspiracy theories of political motivation and talk of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot countering the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's cow agenda with his own little gimmick, Jaipur Dairy officials say the entire project is based on the simple principles of demand and supply. ''There is a huge demand for cow milk in the state, especially during festivals and weddings. We are just giving people what they want - pure, unadulterated cow milk,'' says Atul Shukla, Deputy Manager (Marketing) of Jaipur Dairy.

At present, at all the Saras booths, there are four varieties of milk available - all a mix of cow and buffalo milk. Saras Gold, with fat content of 6 per cent, sells at a premium Rs 17. Of the three lakh-odd litres sold in the city, the more popular toned milk packets sell for Rs 13. Priced at Rs 14.50, the new cow milk packet hopes to set the cash registers ringing. With a maximum of 3.5 per cent fat and 8.5 per cent ''solid not fat'' (the protein content), cow milk is being pegged as the healthy milk to drink.

''Cow milk is always popular. In fact, we woke up to the fact when Mother Dairy in Delhi asked us if we could supply pure cow milk to them. After their request, we started doing a little market research and realised that a number of our customers were constantly demanding cow milk at our booths. And so the decision was taken,'' says G.S. Sandhu, Managing Director of RCDF.

The milking cows are all in drought-hit Barmer district. Thousands of farmers in this district own the Rathi breed of cows which, according to dairy officials, have been certified the best by French cheese-making company Le Bon.
Centre mulls ban on cow-slaughter

Express News Service

New Delhi, March 3: The Centre is examining the issue of imposing a ban on cow-slaughter throughout the country, Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today. Ajit stated that 22 states and six Union Territories have already enacted legislations to ban or restrict cow-slaughter. ''Even then the Government of India is examining the issue.'' There was, however, ''no evidence'' that slaughter of cow and its illegal transportation was on the rise. Since West Bengal had not completely banned cow-slaughter, the cattle are transported to the state. They may be smuggled to Bangladesh illegally, he pointed out.

In reply to another question, Minister of State for Agriculture Hukumdev Narayan Yadav informed the members that an expert group, constituted to examine the recommendations of the National Commission on Cattle on banning cow-slaughter, has been asked to submit its report by March 15. He said the Commission, which reviewed laws relating to protection, preservation and well-being of the cow and its progeny, has suggested a constitutional amendment for the enactment of a Central law on this count.Agreed on cow slaughter, LS split on who has power to ban it

Express News Service

New Delhi, March 11: A BJP-supported private member's resolution for a ban on cow slaughter sparked off uproarious scenes in the Lok Sabha today, with the Opposition resisting a vote on it. As both sides resorted to slogan-shouting, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD), who was in the Chair, adjourned the House an hour ahead of schedule.Congress and Left members trooped into the Well saying the House was not competent to adopt the resolution seeking a legislation banning cow slaughter moved by BJP's P.S. Patel. Shivraj Patil (Cong) said the issue fell neither under Union nor concurrent lists. The House was thus not competent to legislate on cow protection.

Gau man gau

Jan 22, 2003

Digvijay Singh refuses to get cowed down Now that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's deep affinity for holy mother cow has been loudly proclaimed - chiefly his reported taste in gau mutra (cow's urine) and his belief in gau dung as excellent fertiliser - you would have to be dumb cattle not to realise that the cow has always been a potent political instrument in the hands of India's rulers.

With elections around the corner, Diggy Raja has clearly decided to take the bull by the horns and attempt to destroy the sangh parivar's monopoly on Hinduism and nationalism. After all it was only a mere fortnight ago when he launched a jhanda ooncha rahe campaign to honour the Tricolour and there is thus reason to believe that with patriotism well hoisted, Singh is now determined to prove that as far as Hinduism is concerned: when you gotta gau, you gotta gau. Since gaumata is a crucial feature of the sangh's definitions of Hindutva, Digvijay is clearly refusing to be cowed down by the BJP's ownership of our sacred quadruped.

Gaumata has had a long political career. Mughal emperors like Akbar and Jehangir imposed restricted bans on cow slaughter. Shivaji declared that Hindus musn't witness the killing of cows. The founder of the Arya Samaj, Dayanand Saraswati, used the cow as a symbol of national unity. Several riots through the ages have been spurred by reports of slaughter of cows.

Tilak's first campaigns centred around safeguards for the life of the cow and, in the seventies, Vinoba Bhave went on a hunger strike against cow slaughter. The VHP's gau-raksha campaigns began the era of aggressive Hindutva and for groups seeking to emphasise the anatagonism of Islam to Hinduism, the so-called Muslim attack on the cow has been seen as a fundamentally hostile stance against the majority community.

No wonder the book, The Myth of the Holy Cow by D.N. Jha, in which the author provided instances of cow slaughter in the ancient period, been banned. When politics operates in an overwhelmingly agrarian and pious land, its symbols are naturally bovine.

Not that gau mutra isn't healthy. Those who have sampled it, swear by its scientific rejuvenating effects and the properties of cow dung are in evidence all over the rural countryside, not just as fertiliser but also as fuel. Digvijay's gau campaign thus isn't complete hogwash, although it shows that in Indian politics you can never say gau man gau.
Advani seeks blanket ban on cow slaughter

New Delhi: Deputy PM L.K. Advani today called for a Constitutional amendment for a blanket ban on cow slaughter across the nation, asserting that soon there will be enough democratic pressure for such a demand.
Advani was speaking at the inauguration of the All-India Conference and Exhibition on cow products-based economy at the IIT.

''Article 48 given by the Constitution makers should have been more comprehensive in its scope. Then the situation today would have been substantially different had it fully addressed the issue of cow slaughter,'' Advani said. ''The signature campaign by the RSS after Independence is a great movement that placed the issue of cow slaughter in the centre of public debate till as late as 1979,'' he added. (Agencies)
Holy cow! Look what they're talking about

Tavleen Singh

There are moments when politics in India acquires a surreal quality and we are currently in the throes of one such bizarre moment. How else to explain the current obsession with cow slaughter and beef-eating at a time when the world edges ever closer to war? The story, for those of you who may have been following cricket or the impending war instead, is that the Congress Party in Madhya Pradesh suddenly and quite inexplicably decided to charge the Prime Minister with being an eater of beef. Gau hamari mata hai, Atal Behari khata hai. This is the sort of stupid accusation that is best ignored but the Prime Minister chose to answer it. So, his government was ordered to launch a counter attack in the form of a terse press release from the Ministry of Commerce. ''Export of beef is banned. The prohibition is listed as item 02021: all consignments of meat are subject to pre-shipment inspection.''

In case this was insufficient defense of the Prime Minister, his party also leapt into the act with Vijay Kumar Malhotra coming forth with the theory that when Hindutva hero, Veer Savarkar, suggested cow slaughter was a good thing he meant foreign cows only. God knows what he meant but he should have been talking of Indian cows whose plight is so pitiable that the poor creatures would be better off dead. European cows, on the other hand, live better than most human beings do in India. At the India Economic Summit in Delhi last November, an economist drew attention to the fact that cows in Europe lived on two dollars a day, twice as much as Indians below the poverty line get to spend.

Now, there is something that our two main political parties should be discussing. With nearly half our population living in desperate poverty it would be interesting to know what excuses, explanations and ideas our politicians have to offer. With what face do they tell us that we are on our way to being the world's next economic superpower when so many of our countrymen continue to live on less a day than European cows? What is worse is that most of them are as illiterate as European cows as well and yet we never hear our political parties discuss the shambles in our education system. In recent times, there has been much hysteria over ''saffronization'' of education again, oddly enough, on account of beef and cows. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, that leading champion of the Indian cow, deleted from history textbooks all references to Brahmins eating beef in ancient times and secular hysteria rose across the land. Fine. But, why do we never see similar rage over the disgraceful state of the Indian school system? So appaling are conditions in our schools that to have a classroom is a luxury. Most rural schools do not have this luxury and if they do they are usually reliant on the services of a single teacher who often finds no time for the mundane business of teaching.

For things to improve we need to spend at least twice as much on education as we currently spend but I cannot remember the last time there was a serious debate in Parliament on this issue. For that matter, when did you last hear our politicians discuss the shaming state of Indian healthcare? We have government hospitals in which it is not unusual to find stray dogs and cats wandering about the wards, not to mention rats so large they have been known to eat newborn babies. And, if you wander into smaller towns and villages it is not unusual to find health centres and hospitals so filthy that to enter them is to risk your life. According to one recent survey, Indians spend more on private healthcare than almost any other people, but can you remember the last time there was a debate in Parliament, or even a public discussion on this subject?

What is it with our politicians that they find so much time to discuss cows, religion and temples and so little to discuss education, healthcare or our desperate need for such fundamental necessities as electricity and drinking water? Speaking of water, there was a truly surreal moment recently when everyone panicked over the quality of bottled water in India. The government responded with remarkable speed and last week the Consumer Affairs Ministry withdrew certification to eight brands of bottled water on grounds of unsafe quality. What makes the exercise truly surreal is that nobody, least of all the Minister of Consumer Affairs, appears to have noticed that the water that ordinary Indians get through their taps is of such dubious quality that only the foolhardy or the desperately poor dare drink it without first filtering or boiling it. Certainly, if analysed, it would be declared unfit for European cows.

To return then to cows for whom we see so much concern from both Congress and BJP, can we expect that their lot will improve in the near future? As things stand, to be an Indian cow is a fate worse than death. With cow slaughter banned, when cows grow old they are simply abandoned so clusters of them can be seen seated sadly on busy streets in every Indian city. Most die such slow painful deaths that if it was possible for them to have a say in the matter they would almost certainly vote for lifting the ban on cow slaughter. Perhaps, it's time to seriously consider Savarkar's views on the subject, he was after all the man who invented the idea of Hindutva.

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