Mahamaya’s Play Ground

Slide1Science continues to point out that our experiences of the  world we consider real, is actually very limited. Our experience is constrained by sensory organs that we have. Using technology we can improve sensitivity of our sense organs but we cannot bring about a qualitative change in our perception of the world. 


In Indian spiritual tradition, it is said that humans are lured by Maya. Because of Maya we forget our real selves and engage in activities that basically transient in nature. In Mahabharata, Yudhisthira was asked by a Yaksha, “what is the greatest wonder in the world?” Dharma raj in his wisdom replied “every man knows that death is the ultimate truth of life. However, he wishes otherwise“. Such is the power of Maya that it rejects reality outright even when it points our direction. 


Once, Narada asked Lord Vishnu, “Prabhu what is Maya?” Vishnu replied “fetch me a glass of water, I shall explain the nature of Maya to you”. Narada went to a spring nearby. He saw a beautiful woman. He fell in love, married, had children. Happy life of Narada fell apart when disaster struck in the form of flood. One by one, Narada lost his son, his daughter, and finally his wife. In agony Narada cried “Oh lord, why are you so cruel. You took away everything from me!” 

At the moment, Narada heard Vishnu calling him, “Where are you Narada? How long will you take to fetch a glass of water?” This is Maya. In Vishnu’s time what was a few minute, in Narada’s scheme it was lifetime.  In the world we forget what is our real purpose. Finally, when we call out, god listens. Only problem is we don’t call because Mahamaya covers our vision with an illusion created by her. Sri Rama Krishna says “pray to Mahamaya as mother, beg her, she will reveal herself to her son or daughter, when they call her.”

Cow or Man : Whose Life Anyway!

Video footage of gau rakshaks (cow protector) beating up women and children of a nomad family went viral. A few days before, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was beaten for transporting cow. Pehlu Khan died of his injury. This was followed by attack by cow protection group on a  truck carrying buffalo in Delhi. Driver was beaten up. In this atmosphere of increased frequency of attack by gau rakshaks and accompanying increase in tension and terror, our channel Right Left and No Center arranged a debate to get a better understanding of different view points.

Anchor was an assertive and aggressive lady. She had experience handling clever as well as unruly men in her studio. Her main ammunition was asking long winding question that would confuse her guests. Even before the answer is over, she would interfere and the cut the answer short. Today, she was visibly upset. She started with representative of ruling party.

Anchor : “Sir, you are ruling at the centre, you are ruling in J&K, you are ruling in Rajashtan. Why in all states you are in government, cow vigilantes are active? Why did you not arrest the attackers, these goons. Goons that beat women, children and elderly. Are you playing vote bank politics?  Why are you selectively targeting muslims? Is it not your agenda, to trouble muslims? Muslims do not vote for you. What do you have to say?”

Ruling party spokes person is an experienced gentleman. Even under intense pressure, he always retains smile on his face. He has mastered the art of giving long winding answer. This will run down the clock. At the same time, infuriate his opponent and the anchor. Today, issue was serious. A person has died. Viral video of attack on women and children also looked very bad. He had instruction from party office, to put his best foot forward. He started by saying,

My party strongly condemns killing of  Pehlu Khan and attack on family of nomads. We do not play caste and community politics. My prime minister says “sabka saath, sabka vikas” meaning “development for all”. Our honorable prime minster has already said,  “gau rakshaks are criminals”. Police has registered case against these goons. Law will take its own course”. 

Anchor : “If you are sincere, why are criminals still out roaming on the street? Why did you arrest the victim? Why did you sell cow to victim if you have no law to transport cattle? Why did you not apologise to family of victims? What compensation are you going to give him? Why did your prime minister, and your chief minister not made any statement? This is your calculated strategy to terrorise muslims, is it not?”

Even before, ruling party spokes person could respond, gau rakshak jumped in. He was a man clad in a saffron robe. He was more fluent in Hindi than in English, asked,

Who can send us to jail? People who protect cow should be honoured. Like Bhagat Singh, these young boys and men have endangered and sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation. No government can arrest us. This government has come to power with our help. It is our government. We shall not allow insult of our mothers and sisters. “

Anchor: “what do you mean it is your government? It is ruling party’s government. Are you or are you not a member of ruling formation? Who gave you right to hit a cattle transporter? What gives you confidence that you will not be arrested?

Gau rakshak : ” we had mobilised people, raised money and shared ideology with he ruling party.  In our land ruled by our government, we shall not allow our mothers taken to slaughter house. We shall mobilise people and see to it that government falls.”

Anchor announced a breaking news, exclusive to our channel:   “Gau rakshak and Ruling Party are hand in glove. Gau rakshak not going to jail”.

Anchor : But, Pehlu Khan was a dairy farmer. Why attack him? He had all the papers?

Gau Rakshak : “A dairy farmer today, a butcher tomorrow. We cannot let a muslim man transport a cow. He will certainly sell our mother to a butcher. His papers are all fraud. Pehlu Khan was a fraud. Listen, we shall ban buffalo slaughter also. We shall ban eating all meat in India. ” 

Anchor was really interested now. She wanted the gau rakshak to keep on shooting. She goaded him further, “Why kill a cattle transporter? Why not hand him over to police? What do you mean vegetarian India? Really! How can you do that? So many people eat mean in India? Meat is a diet for muslims, dalits and many Hindus in Kashmir, West Bengal and Kerala?

Gau Rakshak : “Our brothers are killed in Kashmir, Bengal, Kerala, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other places. You never cry for them. You never do TV debate for them. Now you are asking about Pehlu Khan? So what, one person is killed? It is our government. Once cows are protected, we shall bring Ram Rajya in India. We shall all become vegetarian and rule of law will prevail. Development for all. Peace on India.”

Ruling party spokesperson saw that things are going out of hand. If this man keep on speaking, then it will be headline news all over India. Already he is getting message for a TV interview. So he intervened, “My government does not depend on support on any cow or cow protector. We shall will showing face of our PM, and not that of a cow, in our manifesto. Killers will be behind bars. As law will take its course. By the way, cow transport and cow protection is an age old practice. Why all of a sudden it has become a primetime news? Is it an attempt by TV channels, to project ruling party as anti minority before upcoming elections? You followed same strategy when a priest was criminally assaulted, and media blamed us.

Anchor: “I am out of time. I give the last thirty second to spokes person of opposition. I am sorry to keep you waiting, but do have your say.”

Opposition spokee was very angry. He waited for so long. Now he is given last thirty seconds. Yet he had to speak his party position, ” Look, it is a disgrace, you do not let opposition voice to speak. This is fascism. This is dictatorship. Like demonetisation, like closing of abattoirs, like killing of Pehlu Khan, like attacking helpless Nomad family, this government is playing with peoples lives. Where is law and order? You cannot let the ruling party go so easily by saying law will take its course. Law never takes its course. Law has to be enforced. Who are these Gau Rakshak people to make India vegetarian. Ruling party is hand in glove with these extremists. I shall protest. I demand another debate on the subject. I must speak first.

The anchor was out of time. Prime time news team was already there. Anchor promised to comeback on the debate soon. Last heard, chief minister of the state had promised that strict action will be taken against killers of Pehlu Khan. But they are still at large.

Disclaimer : This is an imaginary conversation. There is no resemblance to any debate. No debate ever took place.

Right Wing Hindu and Muslim Appear so Similar

If anyone gets an opportunity to talk to a member of a right wing Hindu group or a right wing Muslim group, one will realise how rigid and similar are both group of people in their respective thought processes. I had the opportunity to argue with one of each kind in social media network. Both groups are made of aggressive, testosterone fuelled boys and girls. One person starts the discussion, and others attack like a pack of hyena any dissenting voice.

One central theme is persecution complex.

  • Hindu right believes that their religious symbol, holy mother cow, is being desecrated. Cows are being killed in muslim majority countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Kashmir.
  • Who is responsible for cow smuggling and/or slaughter? Obviously, muslims. So when one puts two plus two together, it becomes logical to beat, and if need be, kill a muslim in India. More so if a muslim is caught transporting a cow / cattle / buffalo.
  • Many also have a confused psyche. Most are not clear why are they attacking a muslim man. Is it because muslims, in cattle trade, transport a cow for slaughter or because muslims are killing Hindus in other countries, or for both reasons.
  • Right wind elements do not think twice about attacking women, children and elderly. Adults, anyway are always a fare game.
  • Hindu right dreams of a Hindu rashtra and/or Ram rajya,, a homeland for Hindus. In this homeland, cows will be worshipped, everyone will eat vegetarian, and in general rule of law will prevail.
  • Hindu right feel surprised and pained that instead of applauding their bravery,  people are criticising them. These people feel alienated that english speaking, left leaning people have made them look bad.

Muslim right is no different. This group believes in superiority of islamic way of life. Followers of far right Islam are equally susceptible to rumor that muslim way of life is in danger.

  • Muslim right,  try to project a scientific basis to their practices, of sharia law like triple talaq, polygamy, suicide bombing etc.
  • Muslim right has a sense of being persecuted and discriminated by the world. A common belief is that muslims are treated with suspicion by non believers.
  • Muslim right considers it to be their duty kills innocent people in distant lands for death of muslims in conflict zones of asia and africa.
  • It does not matter that women, children and even muslims are being killed by their terrorist action.
  • Muslims need a homeland, a Caliphate, a land of the pure. Where only law of almighty prevails over the faithful. This is the only way to protect women and children of the failthul from the infidels. Religious purity was one of the reasons why Pakistan was carved out of India. Pakistan could not hold on to East Pakistan (Bangladesh), having problem with Baluchistan, with Sindhis, with Pashtuns. Pure islam of Pakistan cannot get along with islam of Shias, Ahmadiyas, Sufis, Mohairs and Sindhis.
  • In Indian context, Muslim right believes that muslims have no religious freedom in India. Muslims are not allowed to pray, or to eat beef, and worse many are killed for eating beef. Even it there is evidence of cow vigilantism on the rise in India, number of muslims killed for eating beef is vey small.
  • More and more people in Kashmir, a muslim majority state in India, believe that Hindu majority India discriminates against Kashmir. Kashmir needs a homeland. It does not matter that
    • muslim majority Kashmir enjoys special right in Indian constitution;
    • Kashmir has a government chosen by their own people;
    • people from rest of India cannot settle in Kashmir;
    • Muslim majority Kashmir has thrown out minority Hindu citizens by terrorising them;
  • Despite their distrust and dislike for free societies,  given a chance many right wing faithful would like to go to US, Europe or even India for a job. Because their native place do not offer them much opportunity be it at the level of financial gain or personal freedom.
  • Once inside a free society, muslim right will utilise inherent freedom enshrined in the system to implode the society and demand for creation of a homeland.

Both Hindu and Muslim right are easily excitable. Most are prone to jumping into conclusion and always ready for action. Many right wingers cannot articulate their thought. So they resort to abuse in most vile language. Right wingers the lack ability to argue clearly, so they attack in droves and bring in imaginary and unrelated issues. Right wing people hardly make much sense, but they always think that they are winning.

Moving Towards A Vegetarian India?

At the outset, I declare that I like to eat non vegetarian food. Not the exotic anything that moves variety. I like regular non vegetarian food.  I am also aware of the following points that can be put forward against eating a non vegetarian food :

  • In commercial chicken farms, chicken is fed and forced to gain weight. More often than not, chickens are subjected to cruelty.
  • In beef industry abroad, animals are fed with testosterone to gain muscle mass.
  • Bovine species were fed with meat diet to increase protein content in their diet.
  • Picture of bovine species bleeding to death, can be revolting.
  • I also know as a human being, it is cruel to kill and eat another living being.
  •  World over, many people in different societies eat meat. These meat eating people are not any inferior in any parameter of social, material and human development compared to those who eat a vegetarian diet.
  • Meat offers protein that can be part of many poor peoples diet. A counter argument could be plants also have life.
  • To be consistent in our thoughts and action, we should stop eating anything from plant source also.

Yet, I would like to retain the right to eat non vegetarian food as and when I want it. I would not like anyone interfering with what I eat and when I eat, as long as I am not breaking any law of the land.

At the present time, India is ruled by right of centre party, BJP. Party has brute majority in lower house of Indian parliament. BJP has won most states elections. Soon, the party will have majority in upper house of parliament as well. This domination of upper and lower houses of Indian parliament will continue till 2019. If BJP wins next national election, then BJP will have majority in both upper and lower houses of parliament till 2024. In effect, BJP will be in a position to enact any law it wants.

Will BJP enact a law to ban eating meat? For the following reasons, I have a nagging doubt that BJP may be inclined to take the step:

  • BJP has a core support base that considers meat eating to be impure. If allowed, this constituency of BJP will stop eating of all non vegetarian food.
  • Though there is ban on killing of cow in almost all states of India, many chief ministers of BJP ruled states are
    • not only bringing tougher cow protection law,
    • some have even proclaimed to turn their state vegetarian.
    • chief minister of Chattisgarh had remarked he will hang anyone killing cow in his state.
    • UP government has closed illegal abattoirs. Jharkhand and Haryana governments are also thinking along same line. No one can question the decision, if it stops environmental pollution and degradation. As court has said, government job is not only to close illegal activity but to facilitate legal business activity. I think the second part is missing at the moment. If it persists, more and more people will lose their livelihood.
  • Three muslim men were killed in Jharkhand, a BJP ruled state, on allegation of cow smuggling.
  • Pehlu Khan, a cow transporter, was beaten up and eventually died for transporting cow in Rajasthan.
  • Recently, a transporter of buffalo was beaten up in Delhi.

It can be argued that all these instances and incidences are at best stray events in a vast country like India. Such instances made at periodic interval creates an atmosphere of uncertainly in the minds of people. Unless backed by stringent law and order machinery, practioners of such violence feel emboldened. Goons feel it is their government at the centre and the states, so they can violate law with impunity.

In the light of such circumstantial evidence described above, it is bound to raise suspicion if BJP lead governments, at centre and states, are trying to interfere with food habits of Indian people. Are they wait for an appropriate time to reveal their real agenda?

I hope it is not true. Pragmatically looking, BJP has an ambition to become a pan Indian party. How is the party hoping to achieve that by banning eating of beef in particular and meat in general? There is whole of North East that eats meat. There is Goa, that eats meat and beef. Kerala and West Bengal permit sacrifice of cow. There is 20% muslim population that eats meat and if permitted beef also. Beef is not eaten in India. It is buffalo meat, bull meat and ox meat that are eaten. Many poor people eat this meat as an easy source of protein. Yes they can eat more expensive chicken or goat meat. Can BJP realistically hope to become a national party by controlling what people eat? Already, the party has exempted North East and Goa from beef ban. Does it now expose dichotomy in the thought process of the party. If they change after winning election, it will be betrayal of mandate and BJP may risk not being voted back.

 

House Hunting

 

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I had placed a few bird box on our balcony with the intention that sparrows may find them suitable to build their nests. Sparrows never came. A noisy mynah couple occupied one. Last week I saw this small bird and its mate sitting on our balcony. They would hover around the bird box, chirp excitedly and fly away to watch it from a distance. Translated in  Human language, I thought the bird family was excited about the bird box.

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Then I noticed, the couple had build a house / nest for themselves, right beside the bird box. They were now busy moving their movables into the nest.

 

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Meanwhile, there was another couple that had a look at our bird box. They could not make up their minds. May be they did not want to live in close proximity to another family. May be they wanted peace and quiet. Seen here, one member in a pensive mood. May be all the tension of house hunting!

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Save Cow, Kill Man, Some Ideology

In my mind, I tried to reconcile and rationalise killings of Mohammad Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan. Both innocent average middle aged muslim men. Both killed by a mob of Hindu men, many much younger. Why such hate? Murderer of Mohammad Akhlaq draped in Indian tricolor! His achievement, killing an unarmed man at his home.Killer of Pehlu Khan was compared with Shahid Bhagat singh by self styled leader of cow protector gang Sadhvi Kamal . Really! Bhagat Singh fought and gave up life fighting British colonisers. Cow protectors kill Indian citizens.

Mohammad Akhlaq  allegedly had beef in his refrigerator! So what, I would aks? My refrigerator, my home, my money, if I wish to eat beef I should be able to eat it in a free country. Can someone walk into my home, rummage through my fridge and confiscate my food? Is this free India? To add insult to injury, murderer of Mohammad Akhlaq was draped in tricolour? What is his achievement? He killed an unarmed middle aged man for suspicion of having beef in his refrigerator.

Pehlu Khan was carrying cow on a busy highway. If muslims from one state are not allowed to buy a cow and transport it to his home state,  why was it sold to them in the first place? How dose gau rakshak gang know that Pehlu Khan is arriving? Who fed them this information? Pehlu Khan had papers showing valid purchase, yet he was beaten up brutally on a busy highway. Pehlu Khan died of internal injuries a few days later. How can people be so cruel?

Who gives anyone right to kill another human being? Even it it is for a holy cow as per Hindu tradition, it is still an animal. A cow life cannot be higher than a human life. If there is no law to transport animal across state borders, why sell an animal to a man from different state? There must be some address proof required at the time of purchase? Why not catch those people who let their cow roam on streets, eat garbage wrapped in polythene and die? Are these people any less guilty of neglecting mother cow that cannot give milk anymore?

What about rule of law? How can home minister of a state claim a transporter with valid paper to be equally guilty of flouting law?  A man beaten to death is equally guilty as his murderer? We can claim, in muslim majority areas they torment Hindus. Does that justify us killing two innocent muslim men? I think no. It is a shame! A shame that keeps me awake at night. How can this be possible?

BJP aspires to be a pan Indian party. Party cannot fulfil its ambition by ignoring North East, West Bengal, Kerala, and muslim community that constitute 20% of Indian population? Many of these people eat meat. Cow slaughter is banned in many states of India. Normally, buffalo and bull are sacrificed for meat. BJP may consider such a practice disgusting. In its drive to become a national party, BJP must adjust its sensibilities to varied practices in this vast country. I hope better sense will prevail. People who resort to murder in the name of cow protection must be brought to justice. Justice must be seen to be done, justice must be done fast.

A Fatwa, A Bald Pate and Endless Debate

Slide1

Sonu Nigam’s tweet on forced religiosity and azaan call had gone viral. Nation was divided. An islamic cleric became so enraged that he announced a bounty. “Shave Sonu Nigam’s hair, and collect Rupees 10 lac from me”, thundered the clergy. Meanwhile, in an open press conference, Sonu Nigam announced that he will get his head shaved. ” I shall get my head shaved by my muslim brother. The maulavi must pay 10 lac to barber”, declared Sonu.

A bounty on Sonu Nigam’s hair! Nations favourite channel organized a debate under the program slot “Right, Left and No Centre”. Sonu Nigam and Maulavi were linked live to studio. As live participants, there were ruling and opposition party reps.

Anchor : “Did you or did you not intentionally insult minority community? First you speak about azaan, then you get your hair cut by a muslim barber!

Sonu : “I said everything in my press conference. I have nothing to add. See to it that maulavi pays 10 lac to my barber. I am neither right, nor left, I am at the centre. I am the minority.”

Meanwhile, the cleric, was thinking, “why did I have to open my mouth. Now this person got his head shaved. I have to pay 10 lac rupees to the barber. I should have asked for his head, instead of his hair. Crazy man! He could not have got his head chopped, could he!”

Even before anchor could ask him a question, maulavi screamed “Why should I have to pay? Sonu has fixed the barber. From a reliable source I learnt, that singer  owed the barber 10 lac. He did not want to pay from his pocket, so he engineered the twitter scam. Now he wants me to pay the money! No way, he can get a penny out of me. Also, he has to wear a necklace of old shoes and apologise to members of my  community all over India”

Anchor immediately jumped in and said breaking news, exclusive to your channel “noted singer in money trouble, engineers tweet and entangles innocent cleric! A collusion with ruling party suspected!

Oppostion politician : You give me two minutes. In our party, we believe no one has the right to insult others. Sonu had insulted azaan and Sonu had insulted cleric, and community members. By claiming himself to be minority, Sonu has insulted all minorities. Sonu must apologise to one and all. Look how ruling party is treating minorities.

Cleric was tricked by Sonu and ruling party in giving fatwa on Sonu’s hair. Cleric should have asked for Sonu’s head. Then, nation would have seen, how could anyone do drama on television. My esteemed leader was also given fatwa. They wanted her head. Were they successful? A leader from south, our distant ally, was also threatened along same line. Nothing happened. So I think, by asking for a hair cut, Cleric made a mistake.

Our party also thinks, Sonu should pay the money to cleric, to barber and to all members of the community.  My party thinks 10 lac rupees be collected from Sonu and distributed among barber, cleric and all needy people. In our party, we believe in Khao, peeyo aur mauj kaaro.

Ruling Party rep was getting confused. How was his party dragged into this controversy? Sonu is an individual. He acted as an individual. So why ruling party in this mess? Nevertheless, he had to improvise: “I think no one should be threatened with a Fatwa for not been able to sleep. Poor man, he is sleep deprived, now he has to apologise to the nation! We do not believe in such act. As a free citizen, Sonu has right to express his opinion on anything related to minorities, sorry, related to microphones. We believe in Sab ka Saath and Sabka Vikas.”

As a policy, we believe, na khaunga na khane doonga. Cleric should not be allowed to eat up the money. He should deposit it to tax authorities after paying the barber his due. Where did he get 10 lac in cash? Are these old currency or new currency?”

Oppostion member shouted : “Again you are bringing currency issue? Demonetisation was a flop show. You had put minorities into difficulty. You insult minorities. Look, how you insult Kashmiri people.  This government must go. We want prime minister to resign immediately. My leader is ready to form government with like minded parties.

The show ended in a pandemonium. Till last hard, no one has got a single penny. Sonu has shaved his head. We do not know if barber got paid, but he got publicity. Meanwhile, ruling and opposition parties are after each others throat. Maulavi is buy issuing fatwas and more fatwas. Nations favourite channel is organising TV debate daily on great issues of national importance.

Disclaimer : Except Sonu Nigam,his head shaving, and Maulavi who issued fatwa, all characters are imaginary No debate happened. No breaking news was ever released. It is purely unintentional, if anyone feels offended.

Twitter Storm and Sonu Nigam

Slide1One fine morning, famous singer Sonu Nigam woke up angry. First thing he did, like most urban Indian males and females  do, was to look at his smart mobile phone. There was nothing new or interesting. Irritated, Sonu tweeted that he is forced to wake up early in the morning, because azaan call from a nearby masjid. Sonu expressed his displeasure at religiosity thrust upon him, more so when he did not belong to the faith. Predictably, twit created a storm in the twitter cup. Twitterati started trolling anything that came with the name Sonu. Caught in this maelstorm of anger was Sonu Sood. Looking at the photo in his twitter handle, several offended souls decided to attack the other Sonu. The more muscular and better built of two Sonus. Unprepared Sonu Sood was jumped upon and heckled even before he could understand what had hit him.

As the issue assumed a significant dimension, a TV channel organised a prime time debate in a program called Right, Left and No Centre. Lady anchor introduced participants from ruling BJP and opposition party congress. In addition, there were expert commentators from Hindu right, as well as left liberal circuit.

Aggressive, assertive and visibly agitated anchor attacked ruling party spokesperson, tell me “ is Modi government is contemplating banning Azaan from mosques? Why, why, why otherwise apolitical Sonu Nigam complained about Azaan? Why does he have to sleep so long?”

Ruling party spokesperson was feeling relieved that he did not have to defend lynching of a man by gau rakshak or army man using Kashmiri man as human shield. Compared to other issues, this was an easy assignment. He started by claiming, “Party has nothing to do with the tweet. Sonu is not even a party member. As an individual, it is his right to express himself. Is it not what we all want, more and more freedom of expression!” Then in his long winding style,  spokee started from genesis of azaan to explosion of MOAB in Afghanistan to Sonu Nigam’s sleep disturbance.

Anchor was getting impatient, and looked at oppostion member as asked him, “is Sonu Nigam intolerant? Is it or is it not a fact that intolerance is on the rise in India in recent times?”

Opposition mouthpiece claimed every problem from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from beef ban to triple talaq, from Naga insurgency to terror attack on army base, happened because India voted out secular parties. Latent right wing fringe elements, like Sonu Nigam, are getting emboldened every day right of centre BJP is in power. Minority life, livlihood and survival are at stake. Only solution is bring back opposition parties to power.

Anchor then moved her attention to professor and lawyer. By the way, both of them are permanent fixtures of many animated discussion in different channels. God knows when they attend their professional duties in class room or court house. Anchor asked “tell me professor, what is the difficulty with listening call to prayer from a mosque? Do you not feel happy to hear first thing in the morning?

Professor started to elaborate how civil liberties of Sonu Nigam is being trampled upon by forcing him to hear azaan. A man has to sleep after all after a hard days work. Sonu works very hard. So he deserves his sleep.

Then she looked at the lawyer and asked “ by raising his objection against azaan, is Sonu Nigam not insulting sensitibility of minority community?”

Lawyer argued “Sonu is behaving in a majoritarian way. This is not how a secular country should work. Legally he cannot do anything. So he is destroying colorful mosaic of Indian democracy!

Anchor interrupted the lawyer because a breaking news happened.  Sonu Nigam had tweeted that he cannot go to sleep because of a neighborhood mata ki chowki.” Debate hour ended for prime time news. Participants promised to return next day to debate how Sonu Nigam is changing his position under secular influence and how majoritarian view cannot suppress diversity of India. Long live Indian free speech.

Protect Cow, Jail Gau Rakshak

Slide1I am not a gau rakshak (protector of cow). I despise people killing a human in the name of cow protection. While all living beings are sacred, in the relative world we live in, a human life is more important than an animal life, no matter how revered.

Economists believe, unless farmers are allowed to sell their unproductive cows they may stop investing in cows. Farmers, both Hindus and Muslims, sell their unproductive cow, buffalo etc to butcher. The cash they get, is invested in another cattle or comes in handly in hard times. In states, where cow slaughter is allowed, cow population exceeds buffalo population, e.g West Bengal, Kerala. In states where cow is not allowed to be slaughtered, cow population is lower than the buffalo population, e.g. UP, Gujarat.

Indians, read Hindus, revere cow.  If cow is  given the status of mother, then is it not abhorrent to send mother to a slaughter house after she no longer gives milk? Is it no akin to sending ageing parents to old age home? Many people may still do this. Economics has a way of triumphing over emotion. Does that make the action right?

One cannot ignore that fact that despite our worship of cow, we see many cow roaming in streets of our cities. Owner of a cow let his animal loose to fend for itself. A stray cow rummages through garbage heap, another bane of Indian cities. Many of these stray animals eat plastic along with food wrapped in it. Many of these animals die a painful death.

I think, if government is really serious about protecting cows,

  • it should open old age home for cow, gaushala, in every city.
  • Penalise owner who lets his cow loose on city streets.
  • Owner and government must contribute towards resettlement of ageing cows.
  • Compensate a farmer who donates his cow to cow home.
  • For eating cow meat, import beef. Anyway, most India beef comes from a buffalo.
  • After death a cow may be skinned for hide in shelter. Many humans also donate their body part after death. Same logic may go for cow hide and bone.
  • Bring rational law and implement it.

Please stop killing in the name of cow protection. Please bring to justice who take law to their hand and kill innocent people minding their business.

Yogi Adityanath, Slaughter House Ban and Real Intent

Slaughter HouseTwo decisions of UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, have got wide attention. One was creation of Anti Romeo Squad. The second was closing down slaughter houses operating without valid licence. Closing down of slaughter houses will have impact on peoples lives as well as on states economy.

  • Many people working in slaughter houses will become jobless. There will be impact on tanneries that process animal hide. According to estimates 25 lac people will be affected, either directly or indirectly.
  • Export oriented meat processing industry will lose revenue to the tune of 11361 crore rupees.
  • Leather processing and leather goods industries which brought around 5.9 billion dollars will be affected.

State government is going ahead to fulfill its election manifesto. It is quoting on 2012 supreme court judgement on modernisation and monitoring of slaughter houses in every city. Accordingly, government has come out with stringent guideline to setup a slaughter house. While, there should be no disagreement with the apparent intent of UP state governments decision to ban illegal slaughter house on the ground that :

  • Animals used for slaughtering must be monitored. Meat coming from these animals may not be fit for eating.
  • Animal slaughter must be done in approved premises with facility to dispose off animal waste. Indiscriminate unregulated disposal degrades environment and damages health.
  • Argument that an illegal activity has been going on for a long time is not a reason to  perpetuate it. More so when the highest court of the nation has produced a judgement on the issue.

Yet the alacrity with which government took the decision, raises a few eye brows for the following reasons:

  • Slaughter houses are mostly owned and run by members of minority community. Though many Hindus work in these abbatoirs, predominant workers belong to muslim community.
  • Despite repeated assurance, it has emerged that many establishments with proper paperwork and some with minor violation/s, have been shut down.
  • Many slaughter house owners have claimed that the regulation will put them out of business. There is no clarity about time taken to obtain the whole host of permission, how much fee one has to fork out to obtain each licence.
  • Even big slaughter houses with all the papers in place, are not comfortable. There is rumble in society that sacrifice of other members of cow family like buffalo should be banned too. Transporters are wary of ferrying animals. If not gau rakshaks, then animal rights group may pounce on them.

Government is within its right to frame guidelines how business should be run. More so when health and lives of people depend upon it. As observed by High Court of Allhabad, responsibility of government does not begin and end with stopping illegal business operations, state must facilitate running of legal businesses. Court has ruled that activities related to food, food vending and food practices fall under the category of right to life. Let us hope better sense will prevail, and state will come to aid of people whose life and livlihood it is infringing upon.

The real intent behind slaughter house ban is unclear.

  • Is it to uphold supreme court ruling on abattoir modernisation?
  • Is it to teach minority community a lesson?
  • Is it an attempt to introduce vegetarianism through backdoor?

There should be no doubt in any ones mind that there are people who consider eating meat to be impure. Is it this lobby, that is also BJP votary, that is promoting vegetarianism and winning? If successful, nearly 100 – 200 million very poor people, mainly dalits and muslims, will lose out on an inexpensive source of protein in their diet.

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