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Beef and bloodshed: India's 'sacred' treatment of cows is massively hypocritical

I don’t eat beef. Because I was told not to from childhood and so have an inbuilt abhorrence to it. It is neither based on science nor do I see the cow as a mother figure. My mother passed away 18 years ago and she was all the mum I needed and more, much more, and no cud-chewing three-stomached animal is going to be a proxy.

You want to see it as a maternal surrogate, be my guest. But to go after human beings with a zeal that is suited more to savages is now bordering on the absurd. The deliberate and vicious beating up of four or six or seven Dalit men (depending on which report you are reading) by a gang in Una town in Gujarat, and the flock of human sheep who watched the atrocity without a murmur of protest, is sickening.

They could be Brahmins or Kshatriyas or whatever, no difference. No one can thrash people, tie them to vehicles like goats to the slaughter and think it is justified.

The cow was dead. Dead cows stink; they don’t smell sweet. The carcass swells up and rots. The gases come out. These poor guys, because of their caste (damned as they are by it) are then summoned to lift the smelling remains and cart it away. For doing this and pulling off the skin they intend to use, as persons who work in the leather business, they are accosted and pounded as entertainment by some zealots.

Representational image. Reuters

It is a sobering thought indeed that we humans are the only ones who drink milk after infancy and weaning. Reuters

The indolent cops are finally compelled to take action and arrest three of these ‘gau sevaks’ when a bunch of Dalits fetched up and demanded action. The others are still absconding.

It is a sobering thought indeed that we humans are the only ones who drink milk after infancy and weaning. No other animal drinks milk after the mother’s breasts dry up. That’s it. Oh, we have trained domesticated cats to drink it but no one does in the wild. And there is also a legend that snakes are becalmed by leaving milk at the door, although why cold-blooded reptiles would be charmed by it is unsure.

And while these gau sevaks are beating up people for cleaning up their muck, dirt and their garbage and their excrement and clearing dead animals, what they should be doing is kicking off their shoes and belts because where do you think the leather comes from?

By the same token, gelatin comes from the hooves of the bovine family. So next time you are tucking into some strawberry jelly better throw it away.

Over 20 footballs are made out of one cowhide. So watch it when you cheer a soccer match, that thing being kicked around could have come from a cow. Most balls in sport use this skin as material.

Bone char taken from cows is used to purify sugar by making it a filter, so two spoonfuls in your tea is bad karma. Beat up the person who served you.

According to the eco group One Green Planet, all car tyres are made from stearic acid and guess where that is derived from. And if you are thinking of changing your tyres, it would not do much good because asphalt, the main product in paving roads, uses beef-based fat to act as a binding agent.

Walk in the dust.

The cattle empire has this to add: Bones, horns, and hooves also supply important by-products. These include buttons, bone china, piano keys, glues, fertiliser, and gelatin for photographic film, paper, wallpaper, sandpaper, combs, toothbrushes, and violin strings.

Ask one of the guys who was wielding a rod and hammering these men, if he is diabetic. Because if he is, then he should stop taking insulin. Let me quote medical literature on it: "More than 100 individual drugs performing such important and varied functions as helping to make childbirth safer, settling an upset stomach, preventing blood clots in the circulatory system, controlling anemia, relieving some symptoms of hay fever and asthma, and helping babies digest milk include beef by-products. Insulin is perhaps the best-known pharmaceutical derived from cattle. There are 50 million diabetic people and a majority of them of them require insulin daily. It takes the pancreases from 26 cattle to provide enough insulin to keep one diabetic person alive for a year."

That’s a lot of people lining up for a thrashing. Just because it suits us to ignore all this and pick on others with the spikes of our piety doesn’t change things.

The hypocrisy is massive. India exports 2.4 million metric tons of beef annually. More than Brazil and Australia, who come second and third. Oh, but you know that.

So since actions have consequences, what would really be acceptable in a ‘beat the beef-eater/cleaner/user’ exercise that is fast becoming a sport is for some media organ to walk the whole way.

Like with this case. Not just move on, but put in a 100-word essay a day: What happened? Did the hooligans get bail? Are they free? Will the Dalits be compensated? Will the case go to court? Make it a mission to the very end.

The only reason why vigilantism like this is encouraged and allowed is because there is no end run to the story... it just slips into history.

Go on, watch the video. Put yourself in the place of those men being publicly whipped for 30 minutes. First you make them do the dirty work and then you punish them.

And there are people out there who think that this is acceptable conduct.

Updated Date: Jul 14, 2016 14:58 PM

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