Life in Modi-2.0’s lynching land?

In post-election cow-vigilante’s India, fanatic Hindus’ new pastime is to lynch cap-wearing Muslims. A mosque-goer `Muslim in Gurugram was told by a group of cap vigilantes to remove skullcap and chant Jai Shri Ram’ (The Hindu dated May 26, 2019). Following his failure to do so, they thrashed him with sticks. A lecturer was arrested for his two years’ old post on Facebook justifying beef eating by adivasis/tribals (Indian Express dated May 27, 2019). Kashmiri students in various Indian states were expelled for their unpalatable posts on Facebook. Three persons forced a Muslim to shave off his beard and then posted the whole episode on internet (Hindustan Times dated August 3, 2018). A migrant doctor was beaten up by nine vigilantes even in his new abode in New Delhi.

Cow issue

Cow-related lynching is an old phenomenon dating back to 1714. It is eerie that, India has outpaced Brazil as the largest exporter of beef since 2014. Contributing quite a bit to these exports is Al-Dua, among the leading exporters of halal meat to Arab nations. Even if every Muslim shuns beef as an anathema, there would still be 12.5 million Hindus who would continue doing so. Vigilantes would still find some other excuse to attack Muslim community, like Hindu-Muslim marriages.

It is strange that `status of cow’ overshadowed all other issues in India’s elections. One is shocked to read that chief minister Yogi Adityanath of India’s Uttar Pradesh state equated cows with human beings (Tribune July 25, 2018). Some political wizards have even tried to distort religion. They say it is a sin under various religions to eat beef (Islam and Christianity included). A Goa legislator complained that cow vigilantes (gau rakhshak) intercept beef trucks into Karnataka and put phenyl on it to make it unfit for eating (Hindustan Times 26 July 2018).

High Court’s anachronistic judgment on cow issue

Judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan high court talked in detail about the benefits of cow in his 193-page judgment. His judgment, a mélange of scriptures and law, glistens with hijinks like ‘Peacocks Don’t Have Sex’, ‘Cow is a Surgeon’, `a complete pharmacy’, and Cow is a ‘National Animal’. The judge says in his verdict: “Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country.” His verdict relates to a Public Interest Litigation by an organisation which sought steps for the protection of cows.

Later, in an interview to CNN-News18, the judge said, “The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). He never has sex with the peahen. The peahen pecks on the tears of the peacock to get pregnant. That’s how she gives birth to a peacock or a peahen.

This is why Lord Krishna also wears the peacock feather. This is why the peacock feather is used by sadhus.” The judge revealed that when Lord Krishna came to earth, he brought down a cow with him to Vrindavan. And he knew that the cow could suffice for doctors and surgeons because cow’s milk is medicinal in nature, and cures all kinds of ailments (except insanity).

The judge’s reflections are not the first-ever `scientifically inaccurate and outright asinine’ outbursts Earlier, Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani proudly proclaimed, defying all boundaries of human knowledge about mammals, that the holy cow is the only animal that inhales as well as exhales oxygen. Speaking at the Hingonia Goshala during an event organised by Akshay Patra foundation on January 14, the minister said, “Gai ekmatra prani hai jo oxygen grahan karta hai, aur oxygen hi chhodta hai (The cow is the only animal that takes in oxygen and also releases oxygen).” “It increases religiousness and piousness. This is what makes cow’s milk so important”. It is repugnant to common sense that cow milk alone could cure malaria, dengue, smallpox, Ebola and AIDS.

Could lynching stop if beef eating stops?

Even if the Muslim gives up dairy farming and eating beef, about 12.5 million Hindus would continue to do so. The extremists would lynch or demonise Muslims on other excuses like reason when a Muslim marries a Hindu sweetheart, or simply because a Muslim voyeur stares at a Hindu woman, sharing a seat with him in an omnibus. When Rahul Gandhi met some Muslim intellectuals in New Delhi, he was dubbed pro-Muslim and his party `a haven for the Muslim’

Real issues in election ignored

A bird’s eye view of India’s real issues is given in Burkha Dutt’s book This Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines. In the chapter “A Society in Flux”, the writer pointed out that `seven out of ten households in India live on less than Rs. 200 a day’ (page 271, ibid.). India is home to world’s poorest 1.2 billion people and 1.4 million children die before their fifth birthday’ (page 290, ibid.). The book also recounts violence in Indian society (Samjhota Express Blasts 2007, Malegaon blasts 2008, anti-Sikh riots 1984, anti-Muslim riots 2002, and lynchings by cow guards (gao rakhshak)..

Ignoring real issues, India’s Uttarakhand assembly passed a resolution for `declaration of cow as rashtra mata, national mother’ (Hindustan Times Sep. 20, 2018).

Huffington Post dated August 3, 2017 published a detailed report on benefits of cow-and-dung recipes like: (a) A cow-dung-and-urine beauty soap could stall ageing. Krishna looked like a 12 year old as he used such soap. (b) Cow dung and urine (gao mutra and gau gober) could prevent radiation when used to construct a bunker or rubbed on a mobile phone. This compound can defuse even an atomic bomb. (c) Pregnant women should have cow dung-urine derivatives for normal delivery.

India’s prestigious `Institute of Technology has received about 50 proposals from top research institutions across the country to explore benefits of panchgavya (mixture of cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee and curd). India’s Union Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a 19-member panel to conduct a detailed research on cow derivatives and their benefits.

Inference

Unlike the Christians, Muslims are a scared minority though they are 14 per cent of population. Through sheer hard work, Indian Christians developed niches in all walks of Indian national life. They include former and current chief ministers, governors and chief election commissioners. To ruling Bharatya Janata party’s chagrin, Christians are the second most educated religious group in India after Jains. Muslims are weak. Their share in parliament is not proportionate with their population.

Post-election phenomena of cap lynching, and Facebook persecution caricature Modi’s post-election slogan sab ka vishwas (all inclusive).