On Monday, self-anointed Union minister of the department of gau mata, Sanjeev Balyan, raised a profound question: Where did the rest of the 150 kg beef go?
The answer is simple: Beef has gone to Balyan's head.
Smug in his misplaced belief that Indian voters are nincompoops who would fill up ballot boxes just because of their anticipated rage over a fictitious 150 kg cow becoming someone's alleged dinner, Balyan has vainly reversed the entire concept of justice, the very foundation of civilisation.
Balyan's latest who-ate-it was a logical corollary of the BJP's predictable pre-election musical chairs of using Ram, Hindutva and cow before every important election.
In 2014, the party had benefitted immensely from communal riots in Muzzafarnagar. A few months later, it had tried to turn love-jihad into a rallying point for Hindu asmita. And now, it has decided to accord cow the privilege of being used for an election. (Solemn advice to gau mata: Better perform or else Ram Lala is next to be pressed into service).
Balyan spoke minutes after a group of BJP and Shiv Sena leaders held a meeting in Bishahra village of Dadri to seek action against the family of Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched in September last year by a violent mob over rumours that he and his family had eaten beef.
According to The Hindu, open threats and warnings were issued to the local administration that if it did not register an FIR against the family of Akhlaq for cow slaughter, the village would witness public anger.
“We give them 20 days. If there is no action against Akhlaq’s family in that time, I cannot guarantee that I can control public anger,” said local BJP leader Sanjay Rana, who is also the father of Vishal Rana, one of the accused in Akhlaq’s lynching.
On cue, Balyan demanded that the ambit of the probe be widened. "A normal cow weighs at least 150 kg. Akhlaq alone couldn't have eaten it. Find out who all ate it," he said.
In any other country, people indulging in such utter insanity would have been urgently referred to a therapist.
After putting them on a couch, any shrink would have concluded that people who demand action against victims of mob lynching on the basis of mere suspicion lack empathy, sense of justice, can't think logically and have criminal tendencies when part of a mob. In short, their EQ and IQ is lower than that of the bovines they wish to protect.
By their absurd logic, all of us have the right to torch to death anybody driving on Indian roads, claiming that the victim was driving drunk, producing a bottle lying in a nearby dump as evidence and then launching a witch-hunt for those who may have shared from the bottle under the assumption that it would have been impossible for one person to finish it off.
On that fateful September evening, just one crime was committed in Dadri. A group of murderers barged into the home of a hapless family, objected to their dinner menu and killed a young Indian and beat up his family. For ages, the same villagers had eaten kebabs — without, obviously, getting them pre-tested in labs — and sweetmeats at Akhlaq's home on Eid. But, for some abominable reason, all of them turned into a mentally unhinged mob that day.
A part of their guilt would have been pardonable had they exhibited signs of remorse, repentance and empathised with the victims after their murderous rage had subsided. But, so far they have done the exact opposite by justifying their act and making the victims look like worthy recipients of mob justice. Only exemplary punishment will someday bring them back to their senses.
The BJP too seems to have lost it completely. In its desperate bid to win UP, its campaign is turning into a deplorable mix of, as Arun Shourie would have put it, BR Ambedkar plus cow. Little does the BJP know that Ambedkar is Ambedkar and cow is cow. The twain shall never meat—er, meet.
In his essay, Did Hindus Never Eat Beef?, Ambedkar busted the myth with several arguments sourced from Hindu religious scriptures. Sample one: In Kutadanta Sutta, a sutra in which Buddha preaches against the performance of animal sacrifices to Brahmin Kutadanta, Gautama replies in a sarcastic tone: "And further, O Brahmin, at that sacrifice neither were any oxen slain, neither goats, nor fowls, nor fatted pigs, nor were any kind of living creatures put to death. No trees were cut down to be used as posts, no Darbha grasses mown to stress around the sacrificial spot. And the slaves and messengers and workmen there employed were driven neither by rods nor fear, nor carried on their work weeping with tears upon their faces."
Ambedkar clearly pointed out that it is pure hypocrisy to claim Hindus, including Brahmins, never ate cows or meat. It was part of their diet and was among the delicacies prescribed for entertaining guests and for special occasions.
Nobody knows where the BJP would fall in UP between its demonisation of beef-eaters and deification of Ambedkar, the man who considered cow an essential part of Hindu diet right from the Vedic ages. Perhaps, another Bihar, where the BJP issued comical ads to pitch itself as the party of cow-protectors during the last phase of the 2015 elections, is waiting. In trying to talk about beef, it will end up eating crow.
For his own good and that of the BJP, somebody's got to get beef out of Balyan's head before it is too late.