One person lost his life while seven others are still not out of danger after they consumed poison to put more weight behind the Gau Mata Rashtra Mata cow-protection movement of getting cow being declared as the ‘Rashtra Mata’ or Mother of the nation. This sad incident happened in Rajkot yesterday. Gau Mata Rashtra Mata is mostly a plea of Indians who see a cow as part of their culture.
Besides the Hindu sentiments that prompted saints to jump into the anti-cow slaughter movement in 1966 which even shook Indira Gandhi’s throne eventually leading to several deaths of the protesting saints, there are many commercial reasons which prompt people to get into protectionism mode and that is why Gau Mata Rashtra Mata campaign must be seen in the proper context.
Cow protection movement is not new in India, as a country dependent on agriculture, a cow has always been a source of income for poor families and was always a protected species. During the reign of Akbar, Shivaji and Ranjeet Singh, cow slaughter was completely banned to ensure harmony in the society as the majority always saw cow as a divine being at par with a mother. Why was that so? For Hindus in particular who have always been the majority in the country, a cow was a companion animal that was intelligent and despite her sturdy built, she was gentle and loving. Consumption of her milk bound the Hindus to her as in Hindu way of life, a mother who raises a child is always respected like the mother who gave birth to her/him.
A human mother provides succour to a child for a few years but for the rest of the lives, it was always the cow milk which fulfilled the need for milk for consumption, purified butter which was required for yajna, cottage cheese and sweets. Cow urine became a source of medicine and cow dung was used as a fertilizer and also for dung cakes which were and are still used by a huge population for cooking as LPG still remains out of bound for many.
With gobar gas plants coming up, a lot changed in the rural India thanks to her and poor families got a source of income by selling urine, milk and dung for medicine and manure.
However, due to overt political rhetoric, rather than the presentation of the case sensibly, the cow protection movement has not caught the fancy of the urban population like it did in the year 1966. A lot of this could also be attributed to the lack of media coverage but what hasn’t changed is the passion for cow protection. It is extremely sad that the Animal Rights NGOs have not come to openly support this movement. By coming openly in support of the cow, they later can make an equally powerful plea for chicken, elephants, dogs and other animals too.
By and large, India has been the home for a huge vegetarian population and is also free from the sickening fur trade. This is an opportunity that they should bet upon and make the cow protectors pledge for other living beings as well. Gau Mata Rashtra Mata campaign may seem like a Hindu agenda, but it is also a strong agrarian-rural touch to it. Perhaps that alone is the reason why the Gau Mata Rashtra Mata campaign hasn’t been given due importance.
For the cow protectors, it is important that they not take any step which harms them and instead present their case properly, with solid facts, figures, and scientific studies. Gau Mata Rashtra Mata campaign must remain peaceful at all costs and also politicians must stay away from it.
It is therefore, praiseworthy that the Bhartiya Gau Kranti Manch has requested the Gau Mata Rashtra Mata campaigners and cow-lovers to not take any drastic step. Here is what it said:
“भारतीय गौ क्रांति मंच सभी गौभक्तों से आवाहन करता है कृपया धैर्य और शांति बनाए रखें..
गौमाता को राष्ट्रमाता का सम्मान दिलाने के लिए 1 गौभक्त ने अपना देह त्याग दिया है ।
जब तक सूरज चाँद रहेगा, गौ पुत्र गभरु भाई का नाम रहेगा..
कृपया हिंसा से दूर रहे.. गौमाता के वीर पुत्रो और गौभक्तों के प्रयास से गौमाता अवश्य राष्ट्रमाता बनेंगी..”
Gau Mata Rashtra Mata has the potential to change the way animals are treated in the country, if only it succeeds.