The other day an Indian Express editor sat down to write an edit on his computer with a chuckle.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb had backed his claim on “internet-in-Mahabharata” with a chiding to those “narrow-minded” who ridiculed their own civilization and swooned over everything Western.
Commies, by grounding if not funding, follow the first commandment of ensuring the culture of a country gets diluted and their “revolution” gains sufficient wind. After seven decades, even as the door is being shut on them in India, the dog’s tail, however, remains crooked as ever.
This pipsqueak thus chooses the moment to mock millions of Hindus with various references to their epics, wondering where is the “Facebook page” of a Dhritarashtra; why did Duryodhan and Yudhishtir at all physically gamble when they could have done so “online”; and Ganesha ought to have used Ved Vyasa’s smartphone to get help from speech-to-text technology.
This twerp must not have known that his computer can’t function without binary numbers which were first described by the Vedic scholar Pingala in his book “Chandahsastra” in the 2nd century BC. That if he has millions in his bank account, it couldn’t have been possible without ancient Indians making the distinct contributions in the notation and decimal system, not to mention the use of zero.
If the editor had gone beyond his toilet paper origami, he could’ve found out that the works of Newton Leibniz or Gregory (ever heard of them?) is today known as “Madhava-Newton” series after the 14th century founder of the famous Kerala school of mathematics.
Next time when he swoons over his new-age newspaper office building, he ought to reflect how shapes and sizes of plots wouldn’t have been possible without trigonometry being formulated by Aryabhata. How the eclipse Commies are deservingly suffering world over, could have a physical link to the lunar and solar eclipses which Aryabhata discovered.
If he had lifted his head over from his Gangsta Rap Colouring Book, he would have known that the circumference of the earth; and that it rotates around stationery sun was a discovery by ancient Indians.
If he hadn’t been knitting with dog’s hair, and noticed the changing season, he could’ve thanked Varahamihira for his contribution in the field. The whippersnapper could’ve added to his advanced knowledge of treachery and subterfuge had he known the contributions of Shulbasutras in the arena of geometry, algebra and calculus. If he hadn’t been in the basement and working on divide theory, one could have told him about Kanad and the atomic theory he devised around 2600BC, centuries before John Dalton was born, for the “uncuttability” of matter.
It’s alright to read the manual on how to shit in the woods. It’s quite another to have a digestion for ancient India’s uncontestable achievements. This runt is not alone in squirting around: the likes of The Wire and NDTV have similarly been offensive to sentiments of millions of Hindus. Their ersatz narrative is invariably hooked on selective Western references. Who are we to tell them that Albert Einstein once believed: “We owe a lot to the ancient Indians…without which most modern scientific discoveries would have been impossible.”
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.