What a great day for gau rakshaks! These animal rights purists, without raising a finger on a Dalit or a Muslim, have been able to secure a countrywide ban on sale of cow for slaughter.
One welcomes the mainstreaming of the animal rights movement, but will it also extend to chickens that are stacked like sardines in cages, just before the bloodletting?
What a great day for cattle in general and cow in particular - these gentle, docile, affectionate and extremely civilised creatures, so tolerant of other animals - in short, a mirror image of us Hindus!
We can finally atone for their historical suffering and oppression; we can worship them to the heart's content - not just by depicting them on calendars as a mascot of our cosmic identity but as truly God's creature that must be protected at all costs from non-Hindus.
One must congratulate the Modi government: the State, despite its other onerous responsibilities such as implementing the GST and fighting militancy in Kashmir, has decided to protect the humble defenceless cow in its leisure time.
And that too during the animal's entire life span - chauffeuring it from birth to death - so that it dies with dignity. Hope we will take care of our swelling geriatric population, too, in a similar fashion!
One, of course, feels sorry for the hamburger and steak industry but that I am sure is momentary guilt and it will only spur us into corrective action in other areas. And this may be a radical notion: but what if meat does not come from an animal? I think we are on the cusp of becoming a vegan nation!
Are they perpetually doomed to wallow in urine and dung and garbage?
So, this is the great Modi vision - one nation, one language, one anthem, one diet, one civil law and, of course, one animal!
Possibly, the utopian idea is to create a society of zombies - where conformism is the mantra. It is not too difficult to achieve either - we have all done this in the school assembly - that is, wear the same nondescript uniform, sing the same bland prayer, do the same mindless exercises and salute the same headmaster - the possibilities are endless.
So, from today cows can lord over the roads, loiter in thoroughfares, squat in garbage dumps, eat plastic until their bellies are full, and when tired, retire to their stinking barns where they can be tethered and milked by a grateful nation. What a liberating thought!
But no going to the market, please!
I have a honest query here - though the milch cow is assured of care as a calf and in adulthood, what happens to the infirm, abandoned cattle? Will the State take care of them in a hospice or dispose of them in a proper scientific manner in modern abattoirs? Or are they perpetually doomed to stand in gaushalas and wallow in urine and dung?
And, pray tell me, what difference have the ill-defined restrictions made to this divine creature in the 20 odd states where these curbs are already in place?
Perhaps this is a historic time for dedicated gau rakshaks to rise to the occasion and reinforce their Hindi identity by actually doing their bit for the animal. They can do so by henceforth taking upon themselves the onerous task of disposing of the carcasses of cattle lying in public places.
Until now, this responsibility was diligently and silently discharged by those living on the margins of society - mostly Dalits. But after the random lynching of these "public servants" in places like Gujarat, maybe they too would like to move to safer pastures.
But this could prove a social catastrophe for "others" in the Hindu community since they would now be obliged to join in the ritual of clearing the dead animals. Unless, of course we can outsource the activity!
If I remember my Veer Savarkar tutorial correctly, he was against extreme cow protection if it shamed the humanity. Surely, lynching qualifies as a dishonourable activity that shames the community?
I have a sneaking suspicion all this has little to do with cattle and more to do with the culinary habits of a section of the population. I also suspect all this has less to do with animal rights and more to do with the livelihood of thousands of poor souls who subsist on meagre earnings as roadside hawkers.
That all this should bother a progressive centrist party like the BJP - which should be more concerned about protecting the interests of corporates and big interest groups - is beyond my comprehension. Why a government should be bothered about liberating us from a particular diet is another of those historic mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle that I will never be able to crack.
I would have presumed that a corporate-friendly government will not take such a socially regressive step that will sharpen the existing faultlines, turning them into cleavages? Or does the ruling party want just that?