Recently our Prime Minister Narendra Modi while launching a programme in Mathura for prevention of livestock diseases said that “Some people when they hear the words ‘Om’ and ‘gaay (cow)’ think it takes the country back to the 16th century.” The programme aimed at vaccinating 36 million female bovine calves annually in its fight against Brucellosis disease. It is nice that the programme has two components to control the diseases by 2025 and eradication by 2030. It is reported that with 100 per cent funding from the Central government till 2024, the Rs 12,652 crore disease prevention programme aims at vaccinating over 500 million livestock, including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs against the FMD. Modi has rightly said that rural economy cannot be imagined without animals and therefore the government is focusing on animal welfare.
As regards the word “OM”, it is the highest sacred symbol in Hinduism which contains everything from Vedas. This single word produces the sound and vibration which allows you to feel at one with the universe. It is considered so divine in Hinduism that they place it before and after every other Mantra.
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. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world,” Gandhi regarded Cow better than the earthly mother, and called her “the mother to millions of Indian mankind.” Cow protection has become a highly politicised core of the Hindu religion. Killing and maiming innocent animals for human consumption is the most irreligious, immoral and lowest human act. Indians have reasoned that killing a cow is like killing your own mother.
In India, the cow is considered holy, and many devout Hindus devote themselves to protecting cows from slaughter and abuse — sometimes with violent results. Cow protection didn’t become India’s top political issue in 2017 overnight. There is a strong history and background to it that allows the BJP to garner such widespread public support while championing the bovine cause. Cow vigilante groups have become increasingly active in many parts of India. Rather than encouraging these cow vigilantes to take law into their hands, the government should strictly enforce laws so that no such illegal transportation or cow slaughter occurs in the first place. Not just cows but all the animals should be protected and not murdered to merely satisfy our taste buds.
Breaking his silence on cow vigilantes in the country our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly condemned their actions, saying most of them were anti-social elements masquerading as gau rakshaks (cow protectors). 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. Nowadays, it has been slaughtered in large numbers. Commercial benefits are not the only criteria in a human life. Cow-based farming has been the backbone of our agriculture for centuries. The cow is very much attached to the sentiment and the cultural traditions of the people. It is to be remembered that cow is the back-bone of Indian economy. India was golden bird until cow was base of agriculture. It is our duty to inform the poorly informed the bad consequences of animal slaughter for human consumption. We call the cow our mother. It’s not our duty to protect our mother? It is nice that the government runs several gaushalas, shelters for old cattle, across the country, but these are too few and are not governed by serious norms. Government must put a check on the people who are running shops in the name of cow protection which welcomes donations and outside help in the name of cow protection. We need to spread awareness about the cow and its many uses.