Confessions of a desi cow: No ‘panga’ in my name, please!
(Note: Of course our Holy Cows can’t think or dream. But you who read this can do both. So transport yourself into the brain of your harmless and affable looking gentle cow and try to react to all the love and affection lavished on them all over the country by ‘Gau Bhaktas’, Cow vigilantes and the whole battalion of RSS deployed by Modi Sarkar!
This is what Shobha De has done so magnificently in the piece below. She describes the experience of cows in big cities like Mumbai. What about their experience in villages? In their name, it is said that innocent humans are attacked and even massacred with the result the frightened country people pray that they be reborn as a cow and not as a human to escape murder at the hands of cow vigilantes.
So please report which are the danger zones in India where Dalits and our Muslim brothers should be extremely careful while taking care of their cows and herd of cattle. Just because they are poor let not anyone mistake them thinking they are taking care of cows for slaughter houses. In the name of mistaken assumption, please do not kill poor owners of holy cows. james kottoor, editor).
I am a sweet and adorable Indian cow. I have been minding my own business for centuries. Suddenly, everybody else wants to mind it, too! But why? I have been asking other cows in the neighbourhood the same question. How happy and carefree our life used to be!
Nobody paid the slightest attention to us. We would wander around wherever we wanted… loiter here, loiter there. Some people would be kind enough to feed us. Others would shoo us away. But nobody bothered us or interfered with our way of life.
As a cow growing up in Mumbai, I used to love my life around Flora Fountain — one of the busiest intersections in this crazy city with big cars and those huge buses speeding this way and that. We taught ourselves to nimbly jump out of the way, just like any other pedestrian breaking traffic rules.
Me and my companions used the same awful roads with crater-like potholes that nobody fixed, and we urinated and defecated anywhere, same as everybody else. We didn’t trouble anybody and nobody troubled us. When I needed rest in the hot afternoon sun, I would go and sit wherever I found some shade — inside a bus shelter, or next to the high court judge’s car.
Some of us liked sitting in the middle of the road as well. Most times motorists drove past us without honking. Only foreign tourists seemed to find our presence amusing and took lots of photographs. God knows why. The roads belong to us, too, right? Mumbai is full of generous people. We feel loved and protected here.
But our distant relatives from other parts of India are feeling very upset. They have been narrating horrible stories through our cow network about all the things that are being done in our name. And we want to tell everybody to stop!
Cows are getting a controversial reputation! And there is nobody to speak up on our behalf. Just because we are cows does not mean we don’t have our own beliefs. We know right from wrong. And if someone is being killed using us as an excuse, it makes us feel awful. Protecting us is all very well. But murder is murder. We are peace-loving animals and never take panga with anybody. That does not make us weak — it makes us stronger.
See how street dogs behave in our presence — even they show respect by leaving us alone to amble through crowded bazaars and congested localities. Yes, sometimes we make a mistake, lose our way and land up on an airstrip causing panic and inconvenience. But tell me, how do we get there? Obviously because there is a hole in the fencing that has not been repaired! That’s hardly our fault.
As a cow with a conscience, I am trying to start an all-India movement with other like-minded cows. Not a union, mind you. A movement. We want everybody to know we are against violence in any form. We protest when a single individual is killed and we are named/blamed.
We also want to stop the exploitation taking place with us at the centre, whether on the political, business or emotional front. We know our worth. Our brand positioning. Millions of rupees are being made using us. We have no copyright to protect our interests. Every bit of what we produce is commercialised and sold — our milk, dung and urine. What do we get in return? Those who kill in our name do so for their own selfish gain.
It is time we cows got together and put an end to this recent development. Where were these people ten, twenty years ago? All of us lived in peace and harmony till this new-found love for us surfaced out of nowhere. We want to say most humbly to all our ardent protectors that while we appreciate their love, we don’t want to be associated with bad blood and violence in any form. So please, Sirs, do leave us alone. We are peace-loving creatures who prefer to live on our own terms as we always have.
Next time you meet one of us, greet us with a friendly pat and some kindness. If you find a sick or injured cow, don’t look away, but get medical help. If you really care about our welfare, demonstrate it in practical terms, by helping us when we require human help.
Otherwise, leave us alone to lead our lives as we have since time immemorial. Oh yes, here’s a word of bovine advice: just as dog doesn’t eat dog, and cow doesn’t eat cow, it would be wonderful if you too followed the same principle. But if you still want to go down the other path, remember not to do it in my name! (DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.)
One of India's most popular writers, Shobha De has seen it all: life as a model, a copywriter, a journalist, a socialite, a scriptwriter, a bestselling novelist and a busy mother of six children. "Politically Incorrect", which has been appearing as a column in The Times of India, carries her sharp observations on politics, society, economy and relationships.