Now even Pakistan rips apart India's religious intolerance over cow politics

With every passing day, news in India looks more like a page out of The Onion.

 |  6-minute read |   07-04-2017
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With every passing day, news in India looks more like a really saffronised version of The Onion. Politicians assaulting flight staff, Nigerian students getting beaten up for imaginary cannibalism, dairy farmers murdered by cow vigilantes and more. It’s no secret that India, at present, is in a sad state. So much so, that we now get our mickey taken out by none other than Pakistan, a country that has been, for ages, the default recipient of jibes about a dystopian rule, messed up laws and just general weird sh*t.

In a wonderfully biting satirical piece published in Dawn, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, a much loved and revered journalist from Pakistan, writes: "The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Indian cricket board, the BCCI, to select at least two cows in the country’s cricket team."

Funny though the line is, and totally relatable, the sad part is that it isn’t even that farfetched. In a shocking incident in Alwar, Rajasthan, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer succumbed to injuries after he and his associates were assaulted by cow vigilantes. And while people all across the nation were outraged, Rajya Sabha MP and Union minister of state for minority affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, made the rather nonchalant remark that "no such incident took place as described by the Opposition".

And even as cow vigilantism is on an all-time high, the government, rather than coming down firmly on the lynch mobs, imposed a cow protection surcharge. According to a PTI report, those making rent agreements, mortgage papers and lease agreements in Rajasthan will now have to pay a surcharge of 10 per cent on stamp duty for cow protection.

"In exercise of the powers conferred of the Rajasthan Stamp Act, 1998 and in supersession of this department’s notification, state government hereby orders surcharge at the rate of 10 per cent on stamp duty payable on all instruments for the purposes of conservation and propagation of cow and its progeny," states the order.

Paracha, in his satire, further adds:

"A government spokesperson Anu Kintan Karnik Lal Taneja (aka Bob) said that since cricket was India’s most popular sport, the quota system will first be implemented in cricket and then extended to other sports.

It is believed that since India has a Hindu majority, the selected cows will be included at the expense of Muslim players in the team.

'All (cow) selections will be made on merit,' Taneja explained. 'Cows play their best cricket with those who don’t eat them. Thus, it is likely they will replace Muslims in the team,' he added."

And that makes absolute sense. After all, the beef persecution in India is something that is almost exclusively targeted at Muslims. It is perhaps the same reason that made the BJP decide to not extend its visible meat-crusade towards India's northeastern states, or even try spread the cow love message in Kerala.

cow-cric_040617111627.jpg Photo: DailyO

"Ban on cow slaughter like the one in UP won’t take effect in Nagaland if our party comes to power next year. The reality here is very different and our central leaders are aware of that," Nagaland BJP chief Visasolie Lhoungu told Hindustan Times.

"There would be no ban on cow slaughter in Mizoram and other states in the region where there is a majority Christian population," said Mizoram BJP president JV Hluna, according to the same report.

Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Moving forward from his sharp jibe on India’s cow politics, Paracha makes a not-at-all-subtle joke on the Indian public’s blind patriotism and self-importance. He writes, "Cricket was first invented by cows in ancient India millions of years ago… along with football, hockey, baseball, basketball and nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners."

This is of course an egg on the face of all those who believe that everything under the sun was invented by ancient Hindus; and then try to rationalise mythological stories by pointing out feeble, farfetched “science” in it. Even our prime minister has been guilty of this.  

Soon after his landslide election in 2014, speaking at a function in Mumbai, Narendra Modi had said, "We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time. We all read about Karna in Mahabharat. If we think a little more, we realise that Mahabharat says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb."

"We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time that got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery," he had added.

Alas, he’s not the only one. India’s science and technology minister Dr Harsh Vadhan – the man who had suggested sex education should be banned; rather yoga should be made compulsory – told delegates at the Indian Science Congress in 2015, that Indian mathematicians had discovered the Pythagorean theorem and graciously allowed the Greeks to take credit.

This is (apologies for the sad pun) textbook Dinanath Batra. Batra is the convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, and has been an active advocate of saffronising India’s education system. He is a man who has given us the following gem:

"America wants to take the credit for invention of stem cell research, but the truth is that India’s Dr Balkrishna Ganpat Matapurkar has already got a patent for regenerating body parts. You would be surprised to know that this research is not new and that Dr Matapurkar was inspired by the Mahabharata. Kunti had a bright son like the sun itself. When Gandhari, who had not been able to conceive for two years, learnt of this, she underwent an abortion. From her womb a huge mass of flesh came out.

(Rishi) Dwaipayan Vyas was called. He observed this hard mass of flesh and then he preserved it in a cold tank with specific medicines. He then divided the mass of flesh into 100 parts and kept them separately in 100 tanks full of ghee for two years. After two years, 100 Kauravas were born of it. On reading this, he (Matapurkar) realised that stem cell was not his invention. This was found in India thousands of years ago."

After all, we during the Vedic Age, had attained great knowledge, and then somehow decided to chuck everything and focus on being misogynistic and regressive in the name of caste and colour.

Paracha's satire hits hard, especially right now, when India is on the brink of a major ideological revisionism, where the hardline right seems to be getting more normalised by the day, and the rational and sane are attacked for speaking their mind.

Perhaps the next time a political leader says that we the disagreers should "go to Pakistan", it wouldn't sound as bad as it did a few years ago, when we were not a bunch of Talibanesque hooligans trying to shove archiac beliefs down each other's throats. 

Also read - Intellectuals are fools, only Chetan Bhagat can save Ram Mandir and the world

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Pathikrit Sanyal Pathikrit Sanyal @bucketheadcase

The author is a culture writer who likes talking about the internet, memes, privacy and all things pop culture.

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