Kaushal Kishore [Follow @HolyGanga]
Certain Gaurakshak (activists on the name of cow protection brigade, not merely cowherd) in West Bengal have changed their name. Now they call themselves Gauvikasak (may be something like developer of the cow). More than a couple of dozen cow progeny is destined to an unusual death every day in the Hingonia Gaushala (a huge shelter house of cows that is making controversial news for quite sometimes) that is situated near the capital of Rajasthan. Not so many days have elapsed since the occurrence of Una in the state of Gujarat. The brutal acts of beating Dalits were getting viral on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other such platforms. The anti-social elements active on the name of cow protection brigade started the business of terrifying the downtrodden Dalits with the help of certain social media tools. Then this issue emerged in the media loudly. And then what a remarkable miracle has happened! Perhaps it was the first slip of tongue of the Prime Minister. While addressing a programme i.e. ‘Town Hall’ in the first week of August, Narendra Modi said that 80% gaurakshaks are fake, and subsequently directed the states to prepare their dossiers. In a hurry the Union Home Ministry has issued a circular to the states in order to take appropriate action against these miscreants. There is a serious problem before Rajasthan Chief Minister, Basundhara Raje. She has gone to the extent of telling that these ‘shops’ are demanding more. The hysteria on the name of Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Gauraksha Andolan (1966) is hovering over the sky with all these developments. As such discomfort in different sections of Indian society is increasing day-by-day.
The condition of a cow at the Hingonia Gaushala near Jaipur @PicCredit
The incidents of Gujarat and Rajasthan are extremely embarrassing. Both of them are apparently criminal cases actually performed under the cloak and cover of the cow protection brigade. The Una incident is carried out by certain organized criminals with an intention to terrorize the public, and sheer hypocrisy reflects on the name of serving the cause of holy cow in Rajasthan. After the atrocities on Dalits in Una the Chief Minister of Gujarat has to resign. Rajasthan government is facing embarrassment these days. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of the state puts the organizations engaged in conservation of the cow progeny in the dock and gave voice to an all new controversy. We need to remember certain things while thinking on these issues. The terrorist disguised in the uniform of Indian Army and engaged in killing civilians never turns out to be an Army personnel. And so not the man wearing a black cap while beating and oppressing the Dalits is going to be an RSS volunteer. This is an extremely serious case that hurts the faith of the majority of Indian society. Where exactly these incidents are going to leading us? What sort of politics is unfolding in the wake of this new veneer? It might be interesting to know. Today the former BJP general secretary KN Govindacharya, VHP leader Dr. Praveen Togadia and the leading figure of the Gauraksha Movement in recent times Sant Gopal Das are standing against this new politics of cow brigade crackdown. Is it true that 80% gaurakshaks are criminals? In last few years I have been taking part in certain conservation programmes concerning the cow progeny often as an activist and seldom as a journalist. I almost always came across a small bunch of people that the Prime Minister has referred. I have to face the difficulties that usually happens while opposing the anti-social elements. At least it is clear that the number of such people (anti-social elements) are not quite so high as the prime minister has recently referred. Modiji turns out to be the most popular leader with the help of his extremely cautious tongue. Whether one of the arrows from his quiver is drawing a line of demarcation between two different types of people involved in cow protection brigade? Now the anti-social elements in the guise of gaurakshaks are on the target, at the same time sentiments of true and dedicated people involved in such activities are deeply hurt. Certain recent changes, including the new nomenclature in West Bengal are directly connected with this statement of the Prime Minister. It will be visible in more bright daylight in the coming days.
Perpetually the tradition of consuming beef began to grow during the regime of the Mughal and the British in India. And simultaneously emerged the Gauraksha Movement. This was one of the major reasons behind the revolution of 1857 (the sepoy mutiny). The Arya Samaj initiated by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati in 1875 is pursuing this cause since its inception. Moreover this was one of the objectives of RSS at the time of its establishment in 1925. In the last phase of the independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi has proclaimed that protection of the cow progeny is more important than getting rid of the British empire. Indeed the largest mass movement in the history of Independent India is recorded in the name of Gauraksha Movement. Prbhudutt Brahmachari, Karpatri Maharaja, Vinoba Bhave, and the then RSS chief Guru Golvarkar were the leading figures of the Cow Protection Brigade in 1966. It is remarkable that leading socialist leader Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia was first among those offered their support to this cause. All these leaders remained in the hit list of the then Prime Minister. Today these circumstances indicate certain similar dark fate.
The majority of people of the nation is getting ready to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the huge mass movement of the history. Whether an effort is going on in order to stop it? If it is so, it will be recorded as an attempt to defeat the very spirit of the democracy. The awkward feeling of the Prime Minister on a disgusting incident from his own home state is not unnatural. But this generalization is not going to lead the society towards the better ground. It is necessary to know the history of this movement in order to understand the bone of contention. And how the events unfolded during the demonstration of November 7, 1966 is even more interesting to think upon. The folklore concerning the movement is that Indira Gandhi was unhappy with her own Home Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda. Hundreds of thousands activists gathered in the national capital. They were besieging the parliament building. What has happened at the Hutatma Chowk? Swami Rameshwaranand has delivered an inflammatory speech. And then the fake gaurakshaks planted by Atulya Ghosh, the Congress leader from West Bengal triggered their planned riot. Unfortunately, the Naga sadhus are still being blamed for that on insistence of the governments thereafter. To discuss the actual number of people killed in police firing on that day, indeed this is an extremely difficult challenge. Nandaji finally resigned from the office. And the defamed activists got nothing, but failure, frustration and humiliation.
The challenges pertaining to the Gauraksha Movement began to emerge with the advent of the Modi govt. The other side of this story is also in focus ever since the lynching of Akhlaq at Dadri. This issue appears in the media intermittently. In the coming November the public dedicated to the Gauraksha Movement is going to gather to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the crusade. These people know that Modiji has traveled to Bhutan after taking oath as the Prime Minister, where new contracts of beef supply was signed in order to promote bilateral trade. And now his controversial statement is going to divide the people dedicated to save the cow progeny. In this situation it would not be surprising if this issue prolongs until further damges are done. In addition to that there is a question before the elements that interfere with this issue, whether the dream of the majority community is going to be fulfilled in the seventieth year of the independence? Or this is going to have the fate of the temple on the name of Lord Rama at Ayodhya. In fact there are really very difficult challenges in this case. It is not quite easy to face them.
Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga