The cow is a symbol of peace and tranquility in Hinduism.  It is closely identified with Hindu thought and lore. Having written this, I will add that many Hindus really have no feelings for a cow and tens of them roam the cities and villages of India uncared and destitute. In addition a little known fact that needs to highlighted is that beef, the meat of the cow is exported under the government aegis and earns precious foreign exchange. As per the latest figures available India has displaced Brazil as the largest exporter of beef in the world.

The above information is disconcerting and likely to shock readers. It is more shocking that a Muslim man was lynched to death for allegedly selling and eating beef. This, just 60 km from the national capital, Delhi. This death in the background of beef exports and unrestricted sale of this commodity in North East India, Goa and some other states points to a failure of the political class to forge a national identity. In fact the charge that they are damaging the fabric of Indian unity is true and needs to be condemned.

The politics of the cow has overtaken India. The fact that cannot be negated is that India is not a Hindu Rashtra and the constitution advocates a secular republic. This fact in issue,  that in India  support of a particular religious concept like killing of a cow and its eating cannot be enforced flows from the constitution. Practically there is open sale of beef in  Kerala and Goa and also in the North East States. In addition, there is no ban on any type on beef in Utter Pradesh. In the light of this a mob led by Hindu fanatics thought it fit to lynch a Muslim  man to death. It appears the a call was given from the local temple and a mob collected and carried out this crime. It was a mob attack and there was no explanation asked for from the victim. This I am afraid shows an intolerant society and more, is likely to inflame passions further. Now the millions of people eating beef in the tribal communities and  minorities in Goa and Kerala will feel they are not part of the main stream of India. This killing is likely to endanger the fabric of national unity.

The culprits in the sorry episode are the Hindu fanatic organizations like VHP and RSS. The BJP is the third leg of this stool and acts that award 5-10 years  RI for killing a cow in some states like Haryana and Maharashtra are not in consonance with the Indian constitution. The President should have withheld  approval of these acts and declared them ultra vires of the constitution.

I wonder whether the Hindu organizations realise that there are more pressing problems in India than cow slaughter. There is hunger and lack of education and drinking water. More than 60% of the population has no access to basic sanitary facilities. Yet these organizations are harping on cow slaughter and lighting a fire that may in due course destroy the Indian state. The fact that there is a sizable Muslim population cannot be ignored.

The culprits in this lynching need to be punished, but action is called for against the Hindu organizations fanning the flames of communal politics.


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