Lokmanya Tilak who fought relentlessly against British raj had said that cow-slaughter in India would be stopped with a stroke of pen after Independence, but when the alien rule came to an end, the framers of the constitution took this extremely important subject most lightly and instead of making the protection of cows and their progeny a fundamental right they made it a directive principle, which is more in the nature of an advice than a constitutional mandate.
Cow-slaughter was unheard of in our country before the British formed their government here. Even during the Mughal period there was complete ban on the slaughter of cows, calves and oxen in India. Respecting the sentiments of millions of Hindus Mughal Emperors had enacted a law which made cow-slaughter an offence punishable with death.
Cow and Oxen have always been a boon for agriculture. The indiscriminate plying of tractors displacing of-driven ploughs, excessive use of industrially produced synthetic fertilizers in preference to cow dung and organic manure and sprinkling of poisonous pesticides on crops started under government'spatronage only after the newly framed constitution directed the states to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines. The use of tractors in place of traditional ploughs, pesticides and chemical fertilizers no doubt raised food production in the beginning but only after a few years lands started becoming barren and production also registered a sharp decrease.
Due to the alluring slogan of ?modern and scientific farming? the farmers invested lots of money in purchasing tractors but they had no idea about their evil affects on the soil and people'shealth. The tractors kill good bacteria lying beneath the lower layer of the soil and make it sick within a fixed time frame if they are plied continuously for a long time. According to Indian council for Agricultural Research, the productive power of land is destroyed due to continuous use of tractors for 20 to 25 years. This is what actually happened in many parts of India in the recent past.
Besides causing air pollution by emitting poly-cyclic Brometic Hydro-Carbon which causes serious health hazards, tractors cause unemployment among agricultural labourers by depriving them of work.
The recent exodus of large number to people from rural areas to cities in search of jobs is the result of what has been falsely termed as ?scientific farming? in the Constitution of India. It has been reported that in 1961, 75 per cent people were engaged in agricultural works when the population of India was only 45 crores but in 2007 this percentage dwindled to 62 per cent when the population had risen to 117 crores. In 1961, 80 per cent of the total land in the country was under cultivation but now when the population has gone upto more than 117 crores, the size of the agricultural land has decreased to 67 per cent. A large number of agricultural labourers have moved to far off cities where they work as daily wagers or are ungainfully employed in various avocations due to pressing needs.
Before the onset of modern farming there were large number of bullock-carts in India that gave employment to several poor and marginal farmers. As lakhs of oxen are slaughtered daily in India today the remaining cattle have become not only scarce but also very costly and are, therefore, beyond the reach of poor peasants who could use them in various ways. Now large number of tractors owned by rich farmers can be seen carrying goods and passengers in rural areas raising the rate of unemployment among the poor.
It should be noted that even in western countries people have started thinking seriously to dispense with the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Lakhs of hectares of agricultural land in western countries have lost their productivity to a damaging extent due to excessive use of synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides and continuous playing of tractors for a long period. It is only because of this that in the USA and Canada two categories of foods are now sold in several places, one of which is labeled ?healthy? as it is grown in healthy soil where the farmers use cow-dung organic manure and the fields are kept free from artificial fertilizers and harmful pesticides.
When Sir, Albert Howard, a well-known agricultural scientist came to India in 1904 he visited Pusa, which had earned a name in food production. He was very much impressed to see the crops grown there. The farmers of Pusa used neither chemical fertilizers nor pesticides. Tractors were not seen anywhere. Cow-dung was used on a very extensive scale. As ox-driven ploughs were used in place of tractors the good bacteria inside the soil remained in tact and made it strong and fertile. Sir Howard gave a finding that healthy crops can be grown only in healthy soil and the soil can be healthy only when it gets its natural food-the cow-dung and is free from chemical fertilizers and poisonous pesticides.
Slaughter of cows and their progeny followed by mechanical farming done with the help of tractors. Synthetic fertilisers and pesticides has not only made out fields and farms sick, they have been causing serious health hazards. It has been medically confirmed that due to pesticidal treatment of crop the food produced becomes toxic and cause cancer and other deadly diseases. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) the milk of Indian mothers contain poison which is 29 times more than what is estimated from International Standard.
The export of cow beef is another serious problem, which needs to be addressed in earnest. After Chinese aggression in 1962, there was serious economic crisis in our country. In order to tide over the said crises the Central Government constituted a committee to suggest ways and means to increase national wealth. The committee suggested that the Government could earn enough foreign exchange from overseas sale of beef. As result of this devilish advice cows, calves and oxen were slaughtered mercilessly in large number and the export of their beef was started in 1969. Since then this pernicious practice has been going on unabated.
At present there are 3600 big slaughter-houses in India, where reportedly 2, 500,00 cows, calves, oxen, buffaloes and other domestic animals are sacrificed everyday in the most merciless manner just for earning foreign exchange which could be earned by several other sources.
In a case filed by Akhil Bhartiya Krishi Goseva Sangh against Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board and others in 1994 the Supreme Court had directed the Government of India in 2006 to review its policy related to export of meat. Reacting to the above order of the Supreme Court the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had reportedly replied in 2007, that the beef of cows, calves and oxen are not exported and since only the buffalo beef is sent for overseas sale, there is no need for review of beef export policy.
To compound these evils the Government of India has proposed to sanction Rs. 3500/- crores for the construction of 550 giant slaughter-houses during the 11th Five years plan in the country, out of these 50 modern export oriented slaughter-houses are proposed to be installed at the cost of Rs. 1000/- crores.
The proposal of constructing 500 slaughter-house in rural areas is mischievous and ill-motivated because peasant below poverty line may be tempted to sell their cows, claves oxen and buffaloes which would be suicidal not only for them, but also disastrous for cultivation.
The UPA government like its predecessors is pursing anti-farmer policy. It should not be forgotten that it was due to the anti-people policy of the British Government that 2,000,00 people in West Bengal had died in 1942 in a prolonged famine.
There is no doubt that the Government'spolicy related to a cow and other milk and draught cattle is extremely harmful. The governments in the past have done nothing to alter those constitutional provisions which are damaging our culture and economy both. Is it not strange that objectionable subjects like lotteries, cultivation and sale of opium and consumption of alcoholic liquors have been placed with great honour in the Union list, but subjects of greatest national importance like water and agriculture have been moved down to state list? Electricity which is of utmost importance has also been kept out of the Union list. Cow-protection which is the base of agriculture finds no place in any of the three, lists, under the Seventh Schedule.
When there were stormy protests against cow-slaughter the Union Government gave assurance to the protesters in Parliament that Central Law would soon be enacted for the protection of cows and their progeny but when the Constitution was amended in 1976 a new Entry 17 B was inserted in the concurrent list not for the protection of the cows and her progeny but for the protection of wild animals and birds!
Thus it is abundantly clear that there is deliberate move to dismantle and destroy India'sage-old dharma which attaches greatest importance to the protection of cows and their progeny with the sole and sordid motive of staying in power.
We must protect our great culture and values and save the lives of cows and their progeny alongwith other milk and draught cattle. The UPA must be restrained from making India a mutton-market for the flesh eaters of the world.
(The writer can contacted at 207-A, Kalyani Apartments, Sector-6, Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, UP)