Three communal incidents have rocked India in the last fortnight.
A 15-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid, was killed in a train. Let’s concede it was a communal murder. Arrests have been made, weapon recovered.
Then North 24-Parganas in West Bengal erupted over a Facebook post where Hindus bore the brunt of Muslim backlash. The State’s silence is viewed by most as complicity. Arrests have been few and far between. The Chief Minister hasn’t bothered to visit and soothe the nerves.
A bus on way to holy Amarnath yatra in Kashmir was ambushed by terrorists who gunned down seven and injured 19 pilgrims. All the right noises have since been made.
If the binary is only Hindu-Muslim divide in this country, the score would show: 2 Muslims; 1 Hindus. Yet you wouldn’t guess so by the narrative being played out.
Junaid’s murder, within hours, was branded as one by cow vigilantes with the implicit blessing of the ruling party in Centre.
West Bengal was dubbed as a convoluted political ploy by BJP looking to secure the upcoming Gujarat elections.
The tragic Amarnath killings were again linked to BJP for its hand in letting Kashmir become a blood-drenched valley.
In between, the stories abounded of a Hindu LeT terrorist (since proven wrong), a stray fake image on Facebook (true) and a prominent Hindi daily (see image) accused of dramatizing the horror of Amarnath yatra survivors.
None of the Lutyens Media, who I prefer to call DALALS (Damn Left and Lutyens Scribes), ever described it as an “Islamic terror”–like they do with concocted “Hindu terror” theme – and, instead, drowned us with the virtues of “Kashmiriyat” and justly heroic “Salim bhai”, the driver of that ill-fated bus.
The DALALS have concentrated on the “form” and not on “substance” or they would have highlighted the onset of Jihadi presence in India stoking and riding on Hindu-Muslim divide.
This is an anti-Hindu brigade. Since Hindus have largely hoisted BJP in the Centre, the corollary is unmistakable. This bunch is partly “brainwashed” and mostly “funded” which either way is not good for India’s unity.
The “brainwashed” ones are no better than the leaders of pre-Independence India who claimed “principle” in public but “compromised” in private with the British. Most of them were lawyers –like Gandhi, Patel and Nehru—and the first two, despite their Indian attire, had political theories of Western orientation. British had nicely sized them up and like monkeys—no offence intended for we have monkey as Gods–made them jump through the hoop.
The “funded” ones are of more dangerous variety. But they conform to the pattern of India’s history which is replete with “betrayals.” These Jaichands and Mir Jafars must have been in the mind of French Francois Bernier, physician to both Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb in the 17th century, who wrote back home that a capable French general with 20,000 soldiers could subdue all of India.
Take the case of Nizam of Hyderabad. In 1767 he joined the English and the Marathas against Haider Ali of Mysore. He then switched side in Haider’s favour. Once Haider was beaten, he again came back to the English side. Ten years later, in 1779, he again was by Haider’s side against the English. In 1786, he had joined the Marathas against Tipu Sultan, Haider’s son. In 1790, he revived a triple alliance with Marathas and English against Tipu.
There is a reason why India could never expel a foreign enemy. The likes of Alexander, Timur, Abdali or Nadir Shah only withdrew. India was a ripe picking for all and sundry—Shaka, Kushans, Huns, Arabs, Afghans and succeeding invaders. And that’s because Indians of then and Indians of now could barely rise above their petty interests. India was and is NOT a single entity in their psychology.
The same unfortunate India is again unfolding in front of our own eyes. The subjugation and invasions of over 1000 years has taught us nothing. There are still embedded forces within who are ready to betray India for personal gains. The real beneficiaries are (a) colonial powers of West and (b) Islamic forces who are breathing down its East and West flanks.
Fortunately, the majority Indians are not with them and have reposed their trust in BJP to govern the country. The danger is BJP and other Hindutva forces are still measuring themselves through the prism of this pseudo-sickular gang. It’s time to bite the bullet and say India is a “Hindu Rashtra” who protects and safeguards the interests of its minorities without distinction or prejudice. Israel has no qualms in declaring itself a Jewish state.
Or else, this fortnight of communal violence will keep itself repeating till BJP themselves falls by the wayside, losing the trust of the majority. Indians want them to stand up for India and against the DALALS.
Or the succeeding generations would hold us accountable for the misfortune which is bound to be their fate.
We all know Shaktimaan the horse. From March 14 to April 20 this year, between its unfortunate injury and death, it remained a front page news on our lily-pure newspapers. Such love for protection of animals doesn’t extend to illegal cow slaughters. Never ever a word. Instead, cow-protectors are seen as a plot of Hindutva’s agenda. That veneration for cows, without VHP, RSS or BJP prop, doesn’t exist.
Before I am dismissed as a Hindutva foot-soldier, an anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, anti-beef Hindu fundamentalist, let’s look at Indian constitution’s position. After all, this is where all hysteria should end.
Prohibition of cow slaughter is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Article 48 of the Constitution. It says: “The state shall endeavour…in prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of anti-cow slaughter laws. Only Kerala, West Bengal and India’s northeast don’t have any restrictions on cow slaughter.
Before you burn me at the stake on beef trade, remember most beef produced, consumed and exported is buffalo meat which is not considered sacred to a Hindu. Besides, most cow-slaughterhouses are illegal. It’s a rampant illegal practice where cows are shipped to restriction-free states. Wikipedia says: “In 2013 in Andhra Pradesh, there were 3,100 illegal and 6 licensed slaughterhouses in the state.”
Sure, in practice, States take uneven position on the matter. Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have the strictest laws against cow-slaughter. Assam and West Bengal permit slaughter of cows 10-14 years old. In many states though cow-slaughter is a non-bailable offence. The terms of imprisonment could extend from a mandatory 6 months to 5 years.
So get this straight. Cow slaughter makes you a criminal in most of India. And please spare me this Hindutva tag. For cow slaughter was opposed by notable Muslims from the Mughals’ times.
Muslims and cow-slaughter
Emperor Babar ruled in 1526 that killing of cows was forbidden. Akbar (1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-1627), Ahmed Shah (1748-1754) all had restricted bans on cow slaughter. Yes, Aurangzeb deviated but Bahadur Shah Zafar completely banned cow slaughter in 1857. The de facto sultan of Mysore, Hyder Ali (1762-1785), punished cow-slaughter offenders by cutting off their hands.
It’s a fallacy that cow-slaughter in India began with the arrival of Islam. Vedas describe many gods such as Indra and Agni having preference for cattle meat. Sure the various invasions of Islamic rulers around 1000 AD made it common. Along with sacrifices of goats and sheet, cows too became a sacrificial animal, particularly on the occasion of Bakri-Id.
As in most things, British rule in India was trouble. They were used to eating beef. Slaughterhouses sprang up all over India. In 1944, British placed restrictions on slaughter due to cattle shortage. After all, they were required for transport, cultivation and milk among other purposes. But it came too late in the day. A historical survey, between 1717-1977, reveal that out of 167 communal riots, 22 were directly attributed to cow slaughter.
Arya Samaj, which opposed many existing practices of Hinduism in the 19th century, including idol worship, polytheism, child marriage, widow celibacy, the caste system, accepted the cow worship. Dayananda Saraswathi in 1881 opposed cow-slaughter as an anti-Hindu act. In 1683, Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, is said to have executed a cow-slaughter offender.
Ranjit Singh (1801-1839), founder of the Sikh Empire, banned cow slaughter throughout his domains. Cow was as sacred to the Sikhs as to the Hindus. Cow slaughter was a capital offence and offenders were even executed.
Let’s look at the stands of our revered leaders during British Raj. Mahatama Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya, Dr. Rajendra Prasad all had vowed to ban cow-slaughter in case India got its “Swaraj.” Let’s listen to Gandhi’s words: “Not even to win Swaraj, will I renounce my principle of cow protection…I worship and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection.”
In 1966, Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan wrote thus to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi: “For myself, I cannot understand why, in a Hindu majority country like India…there cannot be a legal (cow slaughter) ban.”
Why Cows Matter
Animals have always been worshipped in India as deities. Elephant-god Ganesh, monkey-god Hanuman, Vishnu’s fish, tortoise and boar forms, their “vahanas” such as swan, bull, lion and tiger were all major deities. As well as snakes out of fear; and crows as the abode of the dead.
Cows are sacred to Hindus as a companion to Lord Krishna. Dairy products have always been essential in Hindu culture. Panchagayya, a mixture of five products of cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung, is consumed in Brahmanical rituals. Cows and bull—such as “Nandi”—have been the symbols of Dharma. Owning cattle was—and is—a status symbol in many parts of India. It’s dung is a source of fuel and fertilizer. Hence, its position as a maternal figure—“Gau Mata”– to a Hindu’s mind. Buddhism and Jainism both rooted for cow-protection.
It’s a delicious irony of history that Hindus and Muslims together revolted against the British East India Company in 1857 for being made to use gunpowder greased with cow and pig fat. As cow is sacred to Hindus, the consumption of swine is forbidden in Islam.
So recognize facts as they are. Sure punish where law is taken into hands. But for god’s sake, don’t think cow-protection is a political manipulation. It’s constitutionally guaranteed and you subvert it at your own peril.