Intro: We fail to understand how a ban on slaughter of cows and calves would deprive people of a cheap source of protein. Were Constitution makers less protein-conscious than present ‘liberals’ who of-late have shown almost athletic interest in the matters of Hindu sentiments?
So, it’s happening once again. Ever since the unfortunate killing of Mohammad Akhlaq at Dadri, propaganda has preponderated policies, and unsubstantiated accusations have replaced reasoning. Rhetorics are raging and ambers of manufactured hatred still flickering. And in the eye of the storm lies, once again, the Hindus and their core beliefs.
Self proclaimed seculars and liberals are apparently worried that the idea of Bharat is under threat from ‘fascists’. Many are lamenting that this is not the ‘Bharat they knew’, this is not the Bharat they ‘grew-up in’. And this is not the Bharat that conforms to their idea of Bharat.
So, what exactly is liberals’ idea of Bharat? Is it the idea of a Bharat, where cows are slaughtered publicly, beef festivals are organised regularly, Mahisasur Day is celebrated with fanfare and concepts like ‘Qaafir’, Dar-ul-ulum and Dar-ul-harb are ingrained in the minds of adolescent, on the state subsidy. Is this their vision of a liberal Bharat, where terrorists like Yakub Memon’s cremation is attended by hundreds and books in favour of Afzal Guru are sold in the heart of the capital? And where beef becomes the singular source of protein?
Dadri’s incident is a cruel reminder of how a dead body can become a site of political maneuvering and out maneuvering. Every murder is unfortunate, and cruel. Every murder leaves behind an aggrieved family. And every murder calls for a strict action by law enforcing agencies. But what is different about Dadri’s case is that here a murder is being used by the media and self-proclaimed seculars and liberals as an opportunity to put the beliefs of Hinduism in dock. State Government that has the immediate responsibility of maintaining law and order is being shown as a victim. Claims by beef-eating Hindus that they have ‘just consumed beef’ are doing rounds. Writers are in a maddening hurry to return the awards they received years ago, as they feel these are ‘times in history when one needs to stand-up and be counted’.
How, according to Nayantara Sahgal, were the times when Sikhs were slaughtered and their murderers were granted absolute impunity by the Congress? It was 1986 only. Perhaps for her those were the times to “sit-down and be honored.”
The favorite catch-line of liberals whenever any terrorist attack happens, “Terrorists have no religion, nor do have deceased”, perhaps lost its appeal to them. Suddenly the deceased had a religion, so did have assailants. All media houses reached Dadri within 24 hrs to present the tragedy-live. Dadri is an unfortunate incident, no less, no more than any crime motivated by religious factors. But what is striking is the sheer absurdity of the arguments put forward by a group of self-proclaimed liberals to blame BJP and RSS. Azam Khan, a secular leader of a secular outfit, even compared Muslims’ situation in Bharat to that of Muslims in Iraq. Phonetic similarity between Dadri and Babri provided him a poetic concern over their impact. Azam Khan, in past, has justified the acts of terrorism. I wonder, why no-one has ever asked him (and other liberals with the same views) that why Hindus have not become terrorists in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where their temples are demolished almost every month. Why haven’t they become suicide bombers?
Omar Abdullah, whose only claim to glory is his lineage, put forward a seemingly logical argument that “pork is prohibited in my religion” but that doesn't mean that “I would beat-up anyone” who consumes pork. No-one should beat-up anyone for that matter. That’s a sane and logical assertion. But what is funny is Omar's inadvertent comparison between pork’s relation with Islam and beef’s relation with Hinduism. Does he wish to suggest that pigs have the same holy significance for him as Cows have for Hindus?
There is another group of seculars like Fodder-scam convicted Lalu and his party-man Raghuvansh Singh, who claims that even Hindus eat beef and used to eat it during Vedic times. The latter part of the argument is bogus. Religious sensibilities are judged on the basis of contemporary beliefs not on the basis of some propagandist research. Hindus’ belief that Cow is a sacred animal is a fact. The suggestion that Hindus consumed beef during Vedic times is at-best a speculation, which is both irrelevant and incredulous. If one applies the same logic to counter beliefs of other religion like Islam, result would be too un-palatable to handle.
Cow acquires a sacred place in the Hindu belief system. Since times immemorial it is considered as someone ‘that can’t be killed’. Majority Hindu households in rural Bharat still consider, having a cow, a matter of pride. It's ingrained in the collective conscience of Hindus as a symbol of purity, productivity and all that is good about Mother Nature. It is considered as a divine gift that consumes the needless and abundant grass and in return gives us Milk for consumption and calf for rural agriculture work. Constitution too under Article 48 directs state to prohibit ‘slaughter of cows and calves’. One fails to understand how a ban on slaughter of cows and calves would deprive people of a cheap source of protein. Were Constitution makers less protein-conscious than present liberals who of -late have shown almost athletic interest in the matters of Hindu sentiments. But, as usual, liberals have got this one wrong as well. Beef is not the cheapest source of protein.
Abhitosh Pratap Singh Rathore (The writer is Advocate in Delhi High Court)