AN 18-member delegation including yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, many other senior saints and Shankaracharyas, religious leaders from Islam and Christianity, cow scientists, experts, organic farmers and leaders belonging to various organisations of the country met the President of India Smt Pratibha Patil on January 31 and handed her over 8.36 crore signatures collected from all over the country during the 108-day Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra.
Describing the killing of the cow as violation of the fundamental rights of billions of Hindus, the delegation urged the President to declare the cow the cultural legacy of the nation, enact a central law for her protection and ensure complete ban on the slaughter of entire govansh. In the memorandum submitted to the President the saints and leaders also demanded to form a separate ministry at the centre for protection and promotion of Indian breeds of cow.
Demanding the formation of at least one Kamdhenu University in all the states, the delegation appealed to the President to create the atmosphere in the country where all the farmers could live a dignified life and no farmer needs to commit suicide anywhere in the country.
According to Shri Sitaram Kedilaya, a member of the delegation, the President heard the delegation very patiently for about an hour and assured to take an appropriate action.
The 18-member delegation was led by Gokarna Peethadhishwar Shankaracharya Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji. Other members of the delegation included Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan, Pejawar Swami Shri Vishvesha Teertha, working president of the Yatra Samiti and noted yoga scientist Dr HR Nagendra, Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara, noted panchgavya scientist and president of Krishi Gousewa Sangh Shri Kesari Chand Mehta, guide of the Yatra Samiti Shri Sitaram Kedilaya, vice president of the Yatra Samiti Shri Hukum Chand Sanwala, general secretary of the Samiti Shri Diwakar Shastri, former CBI director Sardar Joginder Singh, general secretary of the Acharya Mahasabha Swami Paramatmanand Maharaj on behalf of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vijayamrita Chaitanya on behalf of Mata Amritanandamayi, Shri Adesh Goel on behalf of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji, Chhote Miyan Moinuddin Sabri from Uttarakhand, Buddhist leader Shri Rahul Bodhi, social activist Shri Rishipal Dadwal and Shri Jashvir Singh Namdhari on behalf of Sadguru Jagjit Singh.
There was a planning to take all the signatures to Rashtrapati Bhavan in bullock carts. They were loaded in 11 bullock carts from Udasin Ashram, Aaram Bagh and were then taken to Ramlila Grounds in a procession. But the administration did not grant permission for the bullock carts to Rashtrapati Bhavan and the procession had to be culminated at Ramlila Grounds.
Prior to it, the saints addressed a mammoth rally at Ramlila Grounds and warned the government not to test the patience of the countrymen. After a long time the Ramlila Grounds was seen so much packed. Many people were standing as there was no space to sit in the ground. More than 35,000 goubhaktas assembled at the rally pledged to involve themselves in constructive activities of cow protection in different parts of the country.
Addressing the gathering Shankaracharya Shri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swami described the hastaksharas (signatures) collected from the goubhaktas as divyakashar (divine letters) and said they reflected the voice from the heart of the countrymen. He said if the government fails to take any effective step for cow protection, the saints would have to call for a sangram (battle) in coming days.
Former RSS Sarsangha-chalak Shri KS Sudarshan said the chemical fertilizers and pesticides ruined the Indian agriculture and this is the prime reason of suicides by over two lakh farmers in different parts of the country. He said organic farming is the remedy that can save both the country and the farmers from destruction. He urged the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Smt Pratibha Patil to respect the sentiments of the countrymen and ensure complete ban on cow slaughter.
VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal said the saints had presented about two crore signatures to the then President Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1952 and now again they presented over eight crore signatures to the President for the same objective. It is highly unfortunate that no government respected the sentiments of the majority of the countrymen so far. He said the cow must be protected if the great Indian culture has to be protected.
Pejawar Swami Shri Vishvesh Teertha Maharaj stressed the need to create cow zones in the country instead of special economic zones. He said both the ‘culture’ and ‘agriculture’ of the country are being targeted and both of them need to be saved at any cost. He said the foreign methods of farming based on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and machines have made everything poisonous resulting in many critical diseases. He described the cow, the Gita and the village as foundation of building gramrajya.
Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara said no countrymen should sit silent till the complete ban on cow slaughter is imposed in the country. Buddhist leader Shri Rahul Bodhi said the Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra has been successful in generating the feeling of national integration all over the country. Assuring full support to the campaigns for cow protection he said there must be complete ban on cow slaughter in the country.
Working president of the Yatra Samiti Dr HR Nagendra said after conducting mass awareness campaign all over the country it is the time to start constructive activities at the village level for cow protection.
Shri Kesari Chand Mehta who has been conducting experiments on panchgavya and has successfully cured thousands of cancer patients through panchgavya demanded the government to restore gochar land that has been snatched by the government itself all over the country.
Swami Paramatmanand, Gujarat state president of the Yatra Samiti and general secretary of Acharya Sabha, said it has now fully been proved that a cow of Indian breed can give more milk than a cross-breed cow. He stressed the need to make the goushalas self-dependent.
President of Sadbhavana Manch, Bijnaur, Mufti Samum Kasami said the cow should have been declared a national animal soon after achieving the Independence in 1947. The mistake can be rectified even now. He made it clear that Muslims are not against the cow slaughter and more than eight lakh Muslims have signed the memorandum for cow protection. He said those who are involved in cow slaughter should first be educated and then be punished.
Maulana Maghaburrahman Islam, president, Mujahib Muttaihaida Majlis Shora, said the cow belongs to all countrymen and the country should not tolerate cruelty on her.
According to Dr HR Nagendra over 8.36 crore signatures were collected during the 108-day Gou Gram Yatra, which began from Kurukshetra on September 30, 2009, and concluded in Nagpur on January 17, 2010. He said about three crore women signed the memorandum. He said 130 MPs, 780 MLAs, 37,869 people’s representatives in local bodies and 72,195 dignitaries also signed the memorandum.
He pointed out that during the Yatra, programmes were conducted in 1,83,387 villages and more than four lakh villages were touched through various activities. Functions were also held in 80 mahanagars, 1,249 cities, 6,091 khand, 29,822 mandals and 11,009 bastis. During the main Yatra a total of 396 public meetings were held and the Yatra was accorded welcome at 1,199 places. Besides this, a part of the main Yatra, which visited the north-eastern states, simultaneously addressed 372 public meetings. Talking about the upyatras he said a total of 91,342 public meetings were held during the upyatras. He further said a total of 1,12,432 volunteers, including 7,667 full-time workers, participated in the campaigns. He said the Yatra travelled a distance of 26,000 km in 108 days and it toured Haryana, Punjab, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicheri, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.