Horrifying things have been happening of late in the name of the cow, a fairly harmless, peaceful animal. Indians are supposed to be hung up on the mother figure, hence the worship of the cow. Still, this is sheer hypocrisy, considering the way we treat said sacred cow. As far back as in the Ramayana, Surabhi wept for her sons, a pair of bullocks fallen unconscious on the ground while drawing the plough. In the early 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi gave up drinking milk, citing “some literature from Calcutta, describing the tortures to which cows and buffaloes were subjected by their keepers.” A long history of exploitation; what to say about the modern dairy industry!
I love cows, but why are they exalted above people and other animals? What about goats, pigs and buffaloes? What about poultry, the species that is probably subjected to more torture by humans than any other? According to PETA, chickens are inquisitive, intelligent animals, good at solving problems, capable of forming friendships and social hierarchies, who love and care for their young.
So what I propose is this: let us shift our focus from our mothers to our children, from gau mata to murgi putri, make that kozhi putri to be even more egalitarian. God knows our daughters, and our chickens, could do with some loving kindness. And if we can manage this without beating up and killing innocent bystanders, so much the better.
On a lighter note, I’d like to share this hilarious article by G Sampath, which appeared in The Hindu a few weeks ago. It marshals the best arguments in favour of cow rights that I’ve come across so far.