Cow vigilantism threatens the body and soul of India

Human life is sacred and the holiness of the Cow mustn't supersede it

Written by Ujjal Dosanjh | New Delhi | Updated: April 16, 2017 9:55 pm

 

Cow vigilantism, Gau rakshaks, Cow vigilantes, Cow protection, India cow vigilantism, India cow protectors, Mahatma Gandhi, India news, Indian express As a euphemism, Cow vigilantism conceals more than it reveals. (Image for representational purposes)

Today, “Cow vigilantism” is commonly used in India to describe the current lawlessness happening under the rubric of Cow protection. The word “vigilant” means keeping lookout for possible difficulties or danger. The term “vigilante” refers to a self-appointed person or a group of persons that undertakes to enforce the law without any legal authority. It also includes persons who take the law into their own hands to avenge what they may perceive to be crime. No definition of “vigilante” includes what is happening in India: Murder and violence of men by other men in illegally and extra-judicially enforcing religious beliefs.

As a euphemism, Cow vigilantism conceals more than it reveals. It bestows a measure of social, moral and legal legitimacy to the so-called Cow protectors. More tragically, and to a large degree, it hides their criminality: It conceals the truth of men killing other men in the name of the Cow. Cow vigilantism as an expression has sadly become a convenient cloak for violence, brutality, murder and mayhem in the name of the Cow. The convenient robe of words “Cow vigilantism” and “Cow vigilantes” deceptively and quite ironically elevates murderers of men to the pedestal of protectors of Cows. Even the RSS chief recently acknowledged that the illegal and violent acts of the ‘vigilantes’ in the name of the Cow actually defile her. The truth is that in this immense profaning of the sacred underway in the violence in India, India is rendered a human abattoir – a slaughterhouse of men and women to save Cows from slaughter.

Cows are sacred to many; and one respects that. But violence by humans upon humans – regardless of the reason being sacred or profane – is inhumane; in any civilised society that much is common ground – at the very least it should be – among the killers and the killed in the Cow’s name. If this much can’t be presumed in a civil society, the society is uncivil and the continuing slaughter in the name of the Cow then is a much larger tragedy than previously feared.

In ancient India, often, and sometimes in modern India too, we have killed human beings of the so-called lower castes at the altar of the perceived to be angry and demonic ‘Gods’. In the modern and democratic India, when did we decide we shall continue to believe that protection of the sacred demands and deserves the brutalisation and murder of the alleged human desecrators and defilers? In order to ‘please’ the mighty gods – seen or unseen, perceived or unperceived, felt or unfelt, existent or nonexistent – the midget minds wreak havoc on our bodies and souls and the body and soul of India; causing wounds and scars – drenched in blood – the depth, despair and lethality of which they know not.

Yet we continue, existing, merely being. We dare not awake lest we rise to the human truth within us: That human life is sacred; that the holiness of the Cow mustn’t supersede the sanctity of human life. There once was a Mahatma in our country. We called him Bapu. We used to worship him. He worshipped the Cow and the man but had declared his refusal to kill man to protect the Cow. The ideological ancestors of the current killers of men in the name of the Cow silenced his body with bullets; but his thunderous message survives and even reverberates today – but not in the hearts and minds of the killers numbed by their own inhumanity.

In the ongoing insanity and horrific drama of the killings in the name of the Cow, someone has petitioned the Supreme Court of India to declare the killings of Dalits and other minorities to be a crime of “extortion”. Killing or assaulting men and women is already illegal. One would have thought there would have been no need for anyone to petition a court. But petition someone did because the governments of the day, blinded and stymied by their own political calculations, religious beliefs, biases and prejudices refuse to govern for all the citizens of the states and the country. The courts shouldn’t have to ask governments to protect people’s lives or to enforce the law; those are the fundamental moral and legal obligations all democratically elected governments owe to the people they govern; but not in India, sadly, eh!

“In killing men and women in the Cow’s name, the killers desecrate the Cow,” is what Bapu the Mahatma would have said. Violence in the name of the sacred makes the perpetrator profane. The murderers of Akhlaq and Alwar are indelible and inhumane blemishes splattered across the holy canvas of India struggling to free itself from the clutches of the frenzied violence in the name of religion.

Once before, during the Independence movement, India had allowed itself to be overtaken by the zealotry and politics of religion. The deep, deadly and divisive wounds of such zealotry and politics tormented and forever wounded the soul of the country ending in the deathly debacle of partition of 1947.

Once again, the slaughter of men in the name of Cows threatens to slash and slice the soul of India. In the matters Sacred or Profane, India can no longer afford to be a mute spectator to the brutal assassination of its multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-racial soul. It must speak out, speak up and, for all to see, stand up for its soul. The views expressed by the author are personal. Dosanjh is former Premier of British Columbia, and former Canadian Minister of Health. He tweets @ujjaldosanjh

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  1. H
    Harjit Singh Chitkara
    May 13, 2017 at 3:01 pm
    When I see cow vigilantes running after or beating some one with rods, I am reminded of some highway robbers out to extort/loot money . The only difference is that these vigilantes have donned the shirts in the name of Holy cow. I see tens of cows roaming on the heap of garbage in search of food and can be seen eating polythene bags. No cow vigilantes has the time to take care of them who have been left to die.Any body interested in seeing this, I have a photograph clicked with me and ready to take them to site. So please in the name of God, stop this kil of human being in the name of cow.
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      P Banerjee
      Apr 25, 2017 at 2:21 pm
      The problem with India is education, rather the lack of it. A nation so steeped in ignorance can have only one future and that is putrefaction. I returned to India in 2014 when the elections were held. I saw the jingoism, the zealotary, the immaturity of people, the utter lack of education in common people. I was disma . I concluded that India cannot have a bright future and I should leave this country. People are fatalist, uneducated, unaware and conceited. Ignorance breeds hatred and hatred breeds violence. The number of educated Indians is handful. Even the universities are churning out klutz en m e. Those who value education generally leave that country. The politics in india is a vulgar circus of lowbrow people. India is not a free country. It is neck-deep in the morrases of ignorance and backwardness. It is a medival country. Unless people understand the value of education, the land of uneducated will decompose like the carc of the dead cow it worships.
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        harinder
        Apr 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm
        Over act is not good for a democratic country. We must do our action in our limits and as per law.
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          Raj Shekhar
          Apr 15, 2017 at 12:58 am
          Cont'd.. such supers ious mindsets he rightly feared would destroy nation's intellects. Coming out against rigid false Hindu mindset was a difficult decision, but the only best one Savarkar ever made. Here are few p ages from his writings: ....."When you worship the cow, you lower the standing of mankind. ..God is the highest, then comes man, and below man is the animal kingdom. The cow is an animal which has not even as much intelligence as the most stupid human. To consider the cow divine, and thus superior to man, is an insult to man. ...The cow eats at one end and expels and dung at the other end. When it is tired it lies down in its own filth. Then it uses its tail (which we call beautiful) to spread this filth all over its body. How can a creature which does not understand cleanliness be considered divine?
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            Raj Shekhar
            Apr 15, 2017 at 12:53 am
            As you rightly say 'The ideological ancestors of the current killers of men in the name of the Cow silenced his ( Mahatma hi) body with bullets', V.D. Savarkar who was a fiercely outspoken critic of hiji and as one of the 'ideological ancestors' blessed the killer of hiji before his ination mission. Savarkar had coined the word 'Hindutva' was against giving godly status to Cow and tried to debunk the supers ions and emotions attached to 'cow protection'. Though he was an atheist but as an Hindutva icon, his followers called him 'Hindu Hriday Samrat’. His followers were influenced by his narrow minded Hindutva political thoughts very easily to extent that killing hi was justified by them but most of them still don't agree with his 'Pro Scientific Thoughts' about Hindu religion ociated with 'Cow Protection'. Savarkar wrote an article where his dislikes for cows and cow protectors were apparent and spoke against treating an animal as godly figure
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              Paddy Singh
              Apr 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm
              The problem is that every fundamentalist from his or her religion interpret what's holy to them to their convenience, be it Hindus, Muslims and their Koran, Christians and their bible, Jews and their holy book eutectic. I can imagine the pain that straight minded people like Ujal must be going through because he Canadian where people from all over the world are accepted despite religion and creed.
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                Shailendra
                Apr 14, 2017 at 7:26 pm
                Who, in his/her sanity, support lawlessness !! If 200 strong mob can be arranged, a police gypsy can surely be informed and any su ion of smuggling of cow, if at all, can be brought to notice of law.
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                  Shailendra
                  Apr 14, 2017 at 7:27 pm
                  S u s p i c i o n
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                  Yogesh
                  Apr 14, 2017 at 7:08 pm
                  When humans were sacrificed, they were not from so-called lower castes. In our village, our people still celebrate a sacrifice given hundreds of years ago for the village welfare. A Brahmin boy. Though, I don't condone this, but this is a dangerous and divisive game when you say 'people from so-called lower castes'
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                    manu
                    Apr 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm
                    All bjp politicians and gaurakshas must start gaushalas and adopt cows won't give milk and reimburse the compensation to the farmers.
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                      SubbuI
                      Apr 14, 2017 at 6:19 pm
                      THESE COW VIGILATICS ARE RSS SUPPORTERS AND RADICALISED BY THEIR FANATIC TEACHINGS. EVEN I BEING A PROUD HINDU ,WORSHIP NOT ONLY COW BUT ALSO ELEPHANT. I AM NOT FOR KILLING NEITHER COW OR ELEPHANT NOR THE PEOPLE WHO KILLS THEM. THERE IS LAW AND THAT LAW PROTECTORS WILL DEAL WITH THEM. NOT THIS MAD FANATICS WHO IS BENT UPON HARRASING T AND MINORITY COMMUNITY ASPER ORDER FROM HIGHER UP AND OR FULL SUPPORT OF PEOPLE PRESENTLY IN POWER.NALAYAK NMODI WILL NEVER COMMENT FOR 3 MONTHS THEN JUST GIVE ONE GENERAL WARNING OF NO EFECT AT ALL. MODI THE HINDU HRIDYA SAMRAAT IS GRAVELY MISTAKEN THAT EVERY TIME HE AND HIS GOONS CAN GET AWAY. HE IS GOING TO MAKE MANY PART OF INDIA AS TROUBLED STATE AS KASHMIR.WE ASK MODI BE WARNED
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                        master
                        Apr 14, 2017 at 7:23 pm
                        Well said!
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                        periakaruppan
                        Apr 14, 2017 at 5:01 pm
                        India is changing to hindi and Hindu. Others have either to change or change their place. It is free for all like cow vigilante, Sri Ram Sena, moral police etc like different BJP organization.
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                          surendra s
                          Apr 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm
                          I mostly don't agree with the views of the author. But in this case, these vigilantes have brought shame to the cause. I agree.
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                            ak dev
                            Apr 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm
                            Many people die in police custody. So India should ban the police also. Many people die by Army, so India should not have army also. India indeed should become a country where the dictate of 1 secular should decide about the rest of 99 .
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                              Hedonist
                              Apr 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm
                              Views of Ujjal Dosanj match with Osamaji bin Laden.
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                                Constipated_Reliousshit
                                Apr 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm
                                Hedonistji aapki g mein badi chool hai.. Inko bhi pilao shudhi mutr.. spa gyaan detein hain ye har jagah..
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                                Amit
                                Apr 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm
                                The author seems bothered from cow vigilantes attacking cow smugglers but has he ever got bothered by incidents that's taking place in West Bengal and in stan against minorities
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                                  Ml Pandit
                                  Apr 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm
                                  Sir, how about those killing fellow citizens in the name of blasphemy in stan and ....? And can you guess the outcomes had cows been sacred in Islam and their killing labelled as blasphemy?
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                                    christina
                                    Apr 14, 2017 at 2:43 pm
                                    in Islam, humans are humans and ALL ANIMALS are simply Animals. its clear that Human is the most superior creation of their God and all other "creations" including animals, stones, mud soil, sun moon and starts are to facilitate, use and guide Human Bengs... i have learned this while living amonst them.
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                                    Naresh Jain
                                    Apr 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm
                                    A voice of wisdom, let people understand follow advice, to save country becoming another Germany or a instead Muslim A Hindu stan
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                                      Adrian Akau
                                      Apr 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm
                                      Well said. However, the underlying belief in the cow being compared to a god in the eyes of Hindus makes them think of men being of lesser stature and to the thinking that cow protection or, in this case, god protection must be administered even at the cost of human life.
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                                        Antony
                                        Apr 14, 2017 at 1:06 pm
                                        The author using his influence as Canadian minister should highlight the atrocities committed by sanghi Taliban in India to the world community. World should know that another ISIS type organisation called RSS in India which kill people in the name of cow !
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                                          vasoo kamulkar
                                          Apr 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm
                                          Mark you Antony, when you ponder over your dinner of the beef-biryani tonight, you would realize that apart from the repe ion of an ’ S ‘, there is nothing whatsoever common in the ISIS and the RSS. The Rashtreeya Swayamsewak Sangh protects Hinduism and checks the wrongful conversion of the Hindus to Christianity and Islam. The Sanghees never go abroad to bomb the innocent human beings. They are the the patriots of Hindusthaan; Wande Maataram! (I bow down to you, Mother)
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                                            master
                                            Apr 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm
                                            Sanghis are similar to ISIS as far as thier activities are concerned. Sanghis cannot go abroad because they need govt support and can only then can confront hapless and innocent victims. They are impotent.
                                        2. G
                                          g
                                          Apr 14, 2017 at 1:02 pm
                                          Video taping and posting in social media is a staged event by Congress party. Whenever they lose, they stage and post incidents like these so the mother Sonia and son Rahul will get political leverage. Cong has done this mischief always. Cong has already said that they are going to divide the country before the next election.
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                                            vnksk
                                            Apr 14, 2017 at 11:55 am
                                            Do You know that more than a lakh cows weree illegally killed in UP during Muslim SP Govt. Did U ever bother to criticize the cow killig criminals or U have sympathy with only cow-killers. This show U r a one-e sickular bas d.
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                                              Tushar
                                              Apr 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm
                                              Wotever the cows are not important than human .. Even the Hinduism says only God has the right to take life back from human since he is the one who created him .... So for the same God u kill a human ...that really does mean u are dishonouring the god ..whther it be a cow ,cat ,dog any thing .. And in UP they don't kill cows .they kill buffaloes and bulls. You chaddi IT cells always tried to create a misunderstanding among innocent Hindus that ,, Muslims are killing cows...it's Utter b er .Mr....None ofvthe Muslims or Christian eat cow meat
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                                                sampat
                                                Apr 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm
                                                Tahir sorry Tushar, Be honest for Allah's sake and please don't spread lies. peace.
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                                                  vnksk
                                                  Apr 14, 2017 at 7:54 pm
                                                  U seem to be from WB and not aware about the Muslim SP govt of Akhilesh and Azam. It waist like Aurangzeb . The Muslim Tmc govt is like that. God does not want u to kill cows and many states it is a crime with 7 to life term. You are with the criminals cow slaughter. U don't respect rule of law. Whaat. Is left to discuss?
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