Journey of Conservation
Progress in Cow Protection
Our forefathers in the epic period loved and cared for cows like their own children. Cow was significant in offerings and exchanges during Yagas. A person’s wealth was measured with the number of cows he owned. In the form of taxes and honours paid to kings, cow was more important than cash, jewellery, elephants and horses.
Measure of Social Status :
Qualifying count of cows to achieve different social status
- Nandaraja : 1,00,00,000
- Vrishbharaja : 50,00,000
- Vrishabhanu : 10,00,000
- Nanda : 9,00,000
- Upaanda : 5,00,000
- Vraja : 10,000
Cow Protection Leads to Prosperity :
- Raghu’s dynasty - Raghuvamsha - in Ramayana starts with the blessing of divine cow.
- Service to cows by Shree Krishna and his clan in the age of Mahabharata is exemplary.
- Adi Shankara gave a prominent position to cow when he re-established Advaita philosophy.
- Kautilya’s Economic Framework of Maurya era required appointment of a government officer (Godhyksha) to govern the care of cows, grazing land, and feed. (Kautilya Arthashastra - Godhyaksha Chapter)
- Ashoka the Great believed that cows should prosper for the country to be rich and glorious.
- Satavahana dynasty treated care for cows and cow offering as supreme.
- Rajputs bet their lives to protect cows. Mohammed Ghori attacked Prithwiraj keeping cows ahead of his soldiers with wicked intensions. Not willing to kill the cows, Prithwiraj surrendered.
- When he was 17, Shivaji beheaded a butcher, unable to bear the sight of a cow being dragged to slaughter house.
- Babar, the founder of Mogul dynasty, mentions in a letter to his son Humayun never to kill cows.
- Abul Fazal records in Ain-e-Akbari that Akbar prohibited consumption of beef in his kingdom, honouring the sentiments of his Hindu subjects.
- Burnier mentions in his travelogue that Mogul king Jahangir had prohibited cow slaughter and this law was strictly implemented.
- Though majority of the population ate meat in Vijayanagar Empire, none ate beef.
- Mark Cubbon, commissioner of Mysore State (1834 - 61), divided the state administration to nine departments, of which ‘Amritha Mahal’, named after the breed of Karnataka’s pride, was dedicated to cow rearing and cow welfare.
- A Supreme Court judgement of 1958 notes about an 18th century order by Hyder Ali that if one was found killing a cow, his hands would be cut.
- Mysore state had created 240 grazing fields covering 4,13,539 acres through the state, for ‘Benne Chavadi’ breed of cows, which flourished around 1617 under state patronage. In Tipu Sultan’s time, the breed was renamed ‘Amrita Mahal’ and the reserved land was named “Amrita Mahal Reserved Land.”
- Use of cow and pig fat in cartridges by the British caused the first struggle for freedom in 1857.
- Madhava Rao Peshwa was the strongest in his dynasty. He prohibited cow slaughter in his kingdom and opined that cow-eaters should be banished from whole of India.
- Under the leadership of Namdhari Sikh community, Kuka agitation of 1872 fought against establishment of slaughter houses in Punjab.
- Leading freedom fighters like Veer Savarkar, Chandrashekha Azad, Balagangadhara Tilak, Gopalakrishna Gokhale, Vallabhabahi Patel and Mahatma Gandhi raised voice against cow slaughter. It was also promised that independent India would ban cow slaughter.
- 18th section of the constitution suggests ban of cow slaughter.
- In 1966 Lakhs of people agitated near the Parliament in Delhi demanding ban on cow slaughter.
- In 1979, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2000, private bills were introduced in the parliament demanding ban on cow slaughter.
- In 1982, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wrote to the states requesting ban on cow slaughter.
- Cow slaughter was legally banned in Gurjarat in 1944. Subsequently, Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan, Chattishgarh.
- National Commission on Cattle (NCC)was created in 2001.
- Gopala Govardhana Goshala, Pathmed, Rajastan, rears and cares for more than 1,00,000 cows under the leadership of Shree Datta Sharanandaji Maharaj.
- Go-vigyan Anusandhan Kendra of Nagpur is doing salutary work with research on cows and cow products.
- There are 4 patents related to cows.
- Kamadugha movement under the leadership and guidance of Poojya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shree Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamiji of Shree Ramachandrapura Math has four causes - protection of Indian breeds of cow, their prosperity, research on them, and their welfare. Amritadhara Gouloka in Hosanagar is protecting and prospering 30 out of the 33 remaining breeds of Indian cows. Plan includes establishing 108 such centres in the country. Financial viability of the project is encouraging.
- Breed Development Centres are set up for Rati in Bikaner, Devani in Bidar, Andhra Pradesh, Amrita Mahal at Ajjapura, Karnataka, Hallikar at Tumkur, Khilari at Haveri, Krishnateera at Hosanagar, Malanad Gidda at Muliya, Karirangala and Bhankuli, Karnataka, and Kasaragod at Bajakudlu, Kerala. Tharparkar, Haryana also has Breed Development Centres.
- Currently several religious and other organisations are active in cow protection and prosperity. Pinjarapol network of cow centres is famous.
In Other Parts of the World :
- Fidel Castro banned cow slaughter in Cuba, which is effective since then.
- Iran legally prohibits cow slaughter.
- Eating beef is prohibited in Nupanisa Island of Indonesia
- 98% of the cattle in Brazil belong to the Indian Ongole breed.
- Countries like Australia have created ‘Brahman Breed’ by cross breeding local and Indian cows.
- South Africa has a tradition of offering 20 cows as dowry.
- Burma used to punish killers of cow with capital punishment.
- 110th Ahal Sunnat of Afghanistan had issued fatwa against killing of cows.
- During Babylonian and Sumerian civilization, cow slaughter was banned.