If giving identification cards (IDs) to gau rakshaks in Maharashtra stands to reason, other states will follow. This is the same state where a man was attacked in the metropolis called Mumbai because his bag was suspected to have been made of cowhide. It is now a central political issue that is soaked in sentiment and sermons.
With this kind of mindset, it is a natural corollary that they must have a manifesto and we, the public are informed through all sorts of media exactly what their powers are and what their role encompasses.
Let's say, what if a fellow passenger on a flight is standing next to me and he doubts the antecedents of my suitcase and he has an ID?
Do I grovel in abject surrender?
Can they, for example, order vigilantes, who do not have ID cards, to mete out punishments on their behalf. Like a sheriff co-opting a posse to find the fugitive?
Do they have the right to resort to violence?
I almost forgot. What do they have to have by way of qualifications to qualify? History? A series of good deeds? Is there a panel to check all these applicants out?
And does this include the right of a gau rakshak with a badge to enter my home without a warrant to check on what's on my dinner menu? Because if he has got an official ID, I truly cannot see any ‘guard’ at any residential complex stopping him so Shobhaa De tweet that, please.
Can gau rakshaks with ID cards also stop common folks on the road and turn their policing into harassment of women and young couples over a curry and rice check.
And what of those who do eat beef? Do they just take off their shirts and lie down on the ground.
This is neither mockery nor am I making light of the issue. It is actually scary that they would have a licence to hurt, maim, kill and then be taken to genteel task only after the fact.
By the very token, they are responsible for sick cows, for feeding forsaken cows, for giving the homeless cattle shelter and caring for them. You cannot only be a gau rakshak in aggression, you must also be compassionate towards cows.
And now we are giving it benediction.
And no one, no one asks what of the artificial insemination of these cows so they stay unnaturally pregnant with their calves tied tantalisingly out of distance of their udders to provoke a response and produce milk hormonally for the only species that drinks it as adults. You.
Would you treat your mother like that?
But that suffering doesn’t count. Because that is hard work and gau rakshaks don’t want to go in there and wreck the flow of milk. And barfi and yoghurt and mishti doi and ice cream.
Instead, let’s just beat up people and threaten them with the rod of piety and express horror that someone is eating cows.
A ban on killing cows... that I got. Okay, live with it. But this official credential business is a carte blanche for religious terrorism. How are we going to get through the day if we have the religious police on our heels.
You might laugh it off now as the figments of a crazy man’s imagination. But this is how it starts. Think of a scenario. You are having a sandwich, walking down the road from office and a man walks up to you whips out his ID and wants to check you out. Do you hand over your sandwich or do you kneel on the ground and pray before…I leave the rest to your imagination.