‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017’, to legitimize cow vigilantism. This order, as is the practice of late, has been issued merrily bypassing parliament which sought to be perceived as sovereign by the ruling capitalist class and bootlickers. The government order has prohibited sale of bovine animals for slaughter or religious sacrifice at livestock markets and animal fairs. This administrative fiat which is tantamount to blanket ban on cow slaughter and imposition of dietary prescription is glaringly subversive of people’s right to food and autocratic in every sense. What would any sensible man call it, insanity par excellence or organized devilry! What is going to be the fallout of this executive sermon and what is the underlying design? Does it have anything to do with religion or there is some other axe to grind? Democratic-minded thinking people need to probe deep and ferret out the truth.
Spate of lies to justify cow vigilantism
The RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar, as has not escaped notice of any discerning person, have been for long indulging in a spate of lies and false claims to sing glory to cow. These claims are so bogus and ridiculous that one feels embarrassed to even utter, let alone comment in writing. Cow releases oxygen during breathing, drinking cow urine and eating cow dung keep one healthy even at old age and ensures normal delivery of any pregnant woman, cow excreta can cure many deadly diseases including cancer, cow dung has the power to absorb harmful radioactive emission and so forth. Can any thinking mind or sensible person accept such trashes? Cunningly the RSS and its affiliates have added a rider that such ‘miraculous’ power vests only with desi (native) cows and not with the Western cows whose milk and dung are poisonous. Incredible indeed! And now Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Sangh Parivar constituent, has made an industry out of shuddh desi (pure domestic) bovine excreta and urine products ranging from toiletries to medicines under ‘Kamdhenu’ brand. A classic example of how to foment blind faith and bigoted beliefs, vend fake claims riding on people’s ignorance and then simultaneously reap roaring commerce benefits out of it. The order has been issued in this backdrop.
When any government with minimal democratic content ought to have withdrawn the order honouring legitimacy of the surging protest against it, the RSS-BJP and their government have instead been busy assembling and dishing out hollow arguments to cover the blatant lies they are indulging in to cover the hideous underbelly of their agenda of cow vigilantism and malevolence of the administrative edict. Their spruced up logic of regulating the livestock market or ending cruelty to the animals has no taker. Rather those conversant with objective reality are prompted to mock at such claims and lampoon the caricature of mandating ‘special citizen’ status to cow when people are dying of hunger and malnutrition. Caught in its own web, the government is now crying hoarse to assure people that the order does not impose any ban on beef. But that too is rejected lock, stock and barrel as a blatant lie by the discerning countrymen who find innocent citizens are lynched and assaulted even over false allegation of consuming beef.
Adverse economic impact particularly on the distressed peasants
Next is the question of extremely adverse impact the autocratic fiat would have on the economic life of the poor particularly the penury-stricken half-fed half-clad peasantry. Right from the day domesticated animals were recognized as stable property and helpful in life and livelihood, animal husbandry became a familiar household practice. These domesticated animals including cow besides helping in ploughing, in grinding oil seeds, in pulling carts and other utilities also served as food when found redundant. Ancient Indian literatures including epics also vouch for that. In his masterly work ‘The Myth of the Holy Cow’, Dr D.N. Jha has cited religious scriptures and ancient texts to show that Hindus did consume beef in ancient India. As this flew against the assertion of the RSS-BJP-Hindutva camp that beef-eating arrived in India with the coming of Islam, Dr Jha was threatened after the book was published. But then when logic ceases to weigh one is apt to choose the other way.
Coming back to the present, the life cycle of cattle provides farmers with a sustainable economic model. Most farmers do not keep cattle beyond 8-9 years of age. Also, the cattle price has gone up substantially indicating more demand than supply because of falling cow production. Equally prohitive have been prices of fodder and other articles necessary for maintenance of cattle. Moreover, artificial insemination is doing the job of breeding bulls. Hence, the farmers sell the redundant bovines and use the sale proceeds to cover part cost of acquiring a fresh animal. If this option is taken away from the farmer, how would he afford maintaining the redundant animal when he himself cannot manage his bare sustenance? Moreover, at times of distress, sale of cattle is one important option through which the farmers could overcome the financial difficulties to some extent. With that choice also being taken away, the farmers will be further pushed to debt. The new order stipulates that one cannot sell the cattle for six months from the date of purchase or cannot sell infirm cattle. This would again aggravate the distress of the farmers in drought-like situations. Authorities have also been given powers under new law to seize the animal and detain it in a separate enclosure if the animal is found to be unfit for sale by veterinarian. This also is another blow to the suffering peasants.
Thus, even cow production would be severely affected and plummeted. When a sizeable number of distressed populace is desperately trying to somehow survive in mercilessly oppressive capitalist rule, the number of farmers’ suicide has exceeded 3.5 lakhs and eviction, marginalization and pauperization have been wreaking havoc in the life of peasants, can anyone with a trace of human element afford to take away even that little means of livelihood from them? Is it not akin to slaying the slain? Is it not that in the name of preventing ‘cruelty’ to cow, the order metes far more cruelty to the peasants?
Similarly, the order would have a perilous impact on the Rs 1 lakh crore strong meat and allied industries of India which provides livelihood to a good number of people. Only 30% of cattle slaughtered in India are used for meat – either local consumption or export – while 70% of the carcass is traded for industries that deal in the three-dozen other items of daily use including leather shoes and bags. Most of the 30% cattle slaughtered, of course, is the water buffalo and Indian buffalo meat industry besides exporting worth over $4 billion (Rs 280 bn) annually, also supply raw hide to leather units that account for another $5.5 billion (Rs 385 bn). This industry relies on animal markets for 90% of its supply. With the new order crimping supplies to the industry, a large chunk of people would lose their means of livelihood and add to the already swelling number of unemployed. What economic logic is that to protect cow, human beings are to be dislodged from survival? Rather it is a glaring case of sacrificing human beings at the altar of cow protection which smacks of medievalism or diabolic pleasure oppressive Roman Kings used to derive by letting loose ferocious animals on chained slaves? Do the apologists of cow protection think that people are so fool as not to understand this? On the other hand, would it not pave way for a thriving black market of beef and sourcing other raw material pertaining to cow-related industries? Alongside, would it not throw open a new opportunity to the big MNCs, corporate behemoths and retail giants to make foray into this trade?
Does Religion mandate this?
Thus, it is clear how the new order would bring devastation to the already devastated life of the downtrodden poor. And this is done in the name of religion. The ruling dispensation claims that these measures are in keeping with the sentiment of the majority of Indians who profess Hinduism where cow is held ‘sacred’ and hence ‘worshipped as mother’. How sound is this logic from socio-historic perspective? Scientific analysis of history and social-development has shown that, religion just like the concept of god, arose at a particular juncture of history in a particular condition to meet a particular social need of that time. Religion then served the purpose of providing a framework of ethics and morality to the society, specified ‘dos and don’ts’ and assumed the form of an all-encompassing doctrine. Each of the religious preachers proclaimed their respective religions by persuasion and explaining their viewpoints patiently with their respective bents of logic. Of course, there were differences among the various religions. But none of them, whether Buddha, Mahaveera, Chaitanya, Jesus Christ, Hazrat Mohammed, Confucius or any other honest preacher of religion, ever sought to convert people to their respective religions by wielding sword or spewing venom against other religions. All the religions existed side by side and a spirit of tolerance prevailed. Only, there had been some stray incidents where some of those who succeeded the aforesaid religious preachers had, in order to become influential or increase domestic property, used force for religious conversion. But these isolated instances were all aberrations. Tolerance and peaceful coexistence of all religions was the main trend and widely accepted norm. It was no accidental a phenomenon but was intended by the religious preachers and their honest followers. Such was the extent of tolerance as part of self-governance. In this regard, there is a famous saying of Ramakrishna that more are the religions, more are the paths. Vivekananda while paying glorious tributes to Christ and Hazrat Muhammad said in no unequivocal a term that it was quite possible for his son to be a Buddhist, wife a Christian and he himself a Muslim. Did they not uphold the spirit of tolerance? Did not Hazrat Muhammad speak against the idea of forced conversion to Islam? Then where is the sanction in any religion to hate or smash other religions and coerce the believers in other religions to accept the so called edicts of one particular religion? Though religion in course of social progress and in the changing panorama has now become obsolete in the age of scientific reasoning, yet, in the context, this brief discussion has been necessitated to show that when religion was relevant in the society, impatience against or intolerance towards other religions was never observed.
Abject violation of human rights
It bears recall that when thoughts of renaissance emerged as spiritual superstructure of rising capitalism based on some epoch-making scientific discoveries which fostered a scientific bent of mind and spirit of enquiry, religion and religion-based thoughts and beliefs began losing ground. Age of reason, of course in bourgeois sense, had set in and the concept of god as well as efficacy of religion started facing challenge. At that time also, religion was not smashed with force nor was the believers of religion persecuted, harassed or lynched. The exponents of secularism which was based on non-recognition of super-natural entity also clearly stated that religion would remain as a matter of personal belief and would not intervene in socio-political fields. Thus, the spirit of tolerance prevailed. So also prevailed peaceful co-existence of theism and atheism as well as of different religions. Tolerance constituted the pillars of bourgeois humanism and democracy which was then in its days of advent championing lofty concepts equality, fraternity and liberty. All these concepts, norms and practices evolved in those days of rising capitalism were in consonance with the then social interest notwithstanding the fact that bourgeois democracy has a class basis. But at that period, bourgeois democracy triggered social progress, provided certain fundamental rights to the people like right to eat, right to be a believer or non-believer in god, right to profess religion of one’s belief in personal life and so forth as well as brought the broader concept of Human Rights. These rights were no gratis but granted to spur growth and development of individual human beings and human society albeit with reasonable restriction so that no one could misuse or abuse the rights forgetting that rights imply obligation and freedom does not mean anarchy or license to do anything. How could those rights be scrapped today just by issuing an administrative fiat? If these rights are taken away one after another and the government begins to dictate what to eat, what to wear, where to stay, which religion to be followed, whom to marry, whom not to talk to in public, which street to walk on, to what extent should one breathe and forth, then where will be the end? Would it not completely negate democracy itself? And if democracy ceases to exist, will not fascism take over? What would happen to civilization then?
Crass communal Hindutva is euphemized as cow vigilantism
It is therefore clear that the inhuman draconian acts or fiats of the RSS-BJP have nothing to do with religion. These servitors of ruling reactionary capitalism are using religion for buttressing a heinous political agenda. When religion is used or abused for narrow sectarian vile political gains, it is called fundamentalism which foster all such rotten thoughts, trashes and bigoted frenzy as is seen with the RSS-BJP. Facts will speak. Top notch leaders of RSS-BJP are intentionally and in a calculated manner uttering provocative words to communally surcharge the atmosphere and ensure that a sense of fear and insecurity creeps into the daily life of the Muslim minorities so that they could bullied to submission and that could then be trumpetted as victory of so-called Hindutva to incite Hindu communal passion and brighten electoral prospects. And in pursuit of this ulterior motive, the RSS-BJP, obviously at the behest of the ruling capitalist class, have been trampling underfoot the spirit of tolerance and instead fomenting fanaticism and hostility disregarding what religion as well as bourgeois democracy in its rising period had upheld as embodiment of public welfare and civility. In fact, the new order is a crafty way to incite communalism further and justify fundamentalism euphemised as cow vigilantism as an act of governance! Viewing it from another angle, it can be said that the truth about the affability and plurality of Hinduism which the respected religious preachers of ancient time espoused and practised being guillotined by the ‘puritanism’ of vile doctrine of so called Hindutva doctrine, would not remain veiled. With such atrocious acts going on unabated, can it be said that even whatever traces of democracy exist today would remain anymore? Can these advocates of so called Hindutva or cow-vigilantism be regarded as civilized by any stretch of imagination?
Why this ruinous prescript?
Obvious question is when common people are reeling to have both ends meet, starvation deaths are mounting, poverty is rising alarmingly, wails and screams of the wretched and hapless are renting the air, what prompts the government to focus all attention on cow vigilantism? A probing eye would bring to the fore that the principal motive behind this move is to fulfil a vile political objective. The first point to be realized is that all the evils, disparities, deprivations and aberrations in the economic-political-social-cultural spheres are inseparably linked with the decadent, moribund capitalism. Capitalism is the root of all evils. The government is a caretaker of the capitalist state. It is these ruling capitalists who decide keeping a façade of democracy which party or combination should be installed in governmental power and implement their noxious design totally opposed and highly inimical to the interest of the oppressed people irrespective of the caste, creed, religion, region or ethnicity. Round the clock, the bourgeois government and the lackeys of ruling exploitative capitalism are busy working out which trickeries should be adopted to keep people in the dark, what kind of deceptive overtures would suit best to hoodwink people, how best can people’s ignorance be sustained so as to ride on that for working out their crooked machinations, how can these trickeries and deceptions be dished out on a suitably designed defrauding platter. Why is it so?
Because, following inexorable law of history, capitalism is now in its death throes. It has now turned utmost reactionary, cruel, corrupt, despotic and at the same time overbearingly cunning and deceptive. To prolong its mutilated existence, capitalism-imperialism has no way but to clamp fascism under the garb of democracy on every sphere, economic-political-social-cultural. Its most obedient political servants are now entrusted with the task of baring the fascist fangs in diversified fields. Every moment, ruling capitalism is weaving ploys to defraud and mislead people, taking all care to ensure that truth remains ever elusive to them. Because, if people come to know the lurking truth, they would refuse to be taken for a ride anymore and seek emancipation from this gruelling capitalist oppression and repression. Historically determined course to emancipation is accomplishment of anti-capitalist socialist revolution on fulfilment of the scientifically deduced subjective and objective conditions. Hence, the ruling monopolists, as pointed out by great Marx, are haunted by the spectre of anti-capitalist revolution. Fulfilment of the stipulated conditions and achievement of the revolution are contingent upon people’s conscious realization of this historical course of social progress and acting accordingly. So, the ruling class has been arraying its entire arsenal to cripple people’s mind and thinking, plunge them into the dungeon of regimentation, inertia and infirmity with a view to prohibiting them from enquiring into the cause of their growing misery and taking conscious initiative to crystallize their accumulated grievances into organized sustained powerful movements under correct revolutionary leadership to bring about the cherished revolution.
Absence of powerful democratic movement has turned India into a fertile soil for communalism-fundamentalism to thrive and thump around
In India, due to definite socio-historic reasons that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, our leader, teacher and guide and one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the era, had thoroughly elaborated, the task of democratization of the society against feudal thoughts, feudal disunity and religious bondage was not undertaken in right earnest by the Indian nationalist leadership during the freedom movement. So, though India emerged politically as a nation, the Indians remained disunited by religion, caste, nationality, race and language. Notwithstanding this inherent weakness, whatever little of democracy and democratic values could develop in course of national independence struggle is also gravely threatened today by the arch communal RSS-BJP. This crass divisiveness centred on caste-religion-region-language that independent India has inherited as weakness of the freedom struggle has come handy to them in perpetuating disunity among the toiling Indians, throwing a spanner in their solidarity, unsettling their fraternity, precipitating disaffection, distrust and animosity among them and keeping one section of the toiling people permanently pitted against another and thereby embroiled in fratricidal bloodbath and mutual killings. More accentuated is the oppression and repression on the people, more are such sentiments and passion fomented by the communal-fundamentalist RSS-BJP to divide, disunite and polarise oppressed people on religious line, inculcate religious fanaticism and bigotry in the minds of the people, incite revivalism and restore age-old obsolete creeds, precipitate hatred towards the Muslim minority among the Hindu community, promote fundamentalism, incite communal passion, destroy scientific bent of mind and rational approach, blunt the thought process and turn the mindset into mystic alley of blindness and obscurantism, to serve the sinister class interest of ruling capitalism. Sensing from their class instinct that nothing better than this communal-fundamentalist frenzy and intoxication of people’s mind with communal venom and obscurantism-bigotry can serve the ruling class interest, the ruling capitalists made a concerted effort to install the BJP into power, project its leader Narendra Modi as an efficient statesman and wholeheartedly back the rabid doctrine of so-called Hindutva which glaringly militates against basic prescripts of even Hinduism. The latest over-activism over cow vigilantism and legislating literal ban on cattle slaughter is to be viewed in this background.
Ploy to divide people, divert attention
As we have said, the most obedient political servants of decadent moribund capitalism are now entrusted with the task of baring the fascist fangs in diversified fields. The BJP too is engaged in that task. Before coming to power, the BJP like any other rotten bourgeois party sought to befuddle people with catchphrases like achhe din (good days), sabke saath, sabke vikas (carrying all together, prosperity to all) and so forth. With passage of time, all these have proved to be damp squibs. Economic onslaughts in varied forms are holding toiling people into ransom. Despite a slew of manipulating exercises, statistical juggleries, stunts and gimmicks, the rickety face of the economy is surfacing with all virulence. From their life’s experience, people are gradually coming to understand what big a bluff has been all such promises and conciliatory speeches of the government, ministers and ruling party leaders. Discontent is brewing among the toiling masses. Often, it is manifest in the stirs and agitations surging forth in the various parts of the country. The ruling class and its government cannot afford to allow this mounting discontent and accumulated grievances to crystallize into united organized conscious mass struggles under correct leadership and pave way for anti-capitalist revolution. So the BJP as the most trusted party of the ruling class now knows very clearly what its master’s need is at the present juncture. Hence, it is going full throttle with its rabid rotten communal agenda, orchestrating a hate campaign against the religious minorities, destroy people’s unity, distract them from finding common cause and divert their attention. Hence is the frenzy over cow protectionism and culling ludicrous justifications in its favour.
Thwart this pernicious move, expose the hideous conspiracy
This, in brief, is the gamut of high-pitched cow vigilantism and singing paean to the cow. It is imperative that suffering people do not fall prey to this mischievous orchestration by the merchants of reaction. When the atmosphere is so surcharged and communal vipers are raising their hood to poison the society, it is shocking that none of the political parties craving for staying afloat in the corridors of power by remaining in the good books of the ruling capitalists is caring to resist this pernicious move with all their might. Their feeble voice of protest or customary belligerence in media glare is only limited within the confines of bourgeois vote politics that sustain them with bread and butter.
In view of this, the suffering people of the country need to correctly realize what a portent looms large in their life. If they remain silent, this death dance of the communal-fundamentalist forces would be more furious to tear them apart. Only deterrent lies in cementing their unity rising above all divisiveness and then releasing a powerful movement under correct revolutionary leadership to stall this impending danger. Alongside, there ought to be an intense ideological battle against the heinous doctrine of communalism-blindness-fanaticism-revivalism and blunting rational thinking, all these cooked up odes and hymns, bogus fradulent references to religious texts and epics and deliberate distortion of facts and history. The perpetrators of this unpardonable crime of turning the entire country into a slaughter house in the name of banning cow slaughter should not escape unscathed and unexposed. History would dig the grave of those who dare to ignore the verdict of history. It is people’s iron will and determination that matters most.