Of butchered tolerance and gau raksha
Beef. Politics. Politics. Religion. Beef.
I have beef. Beef to pick with you. The movers of corpses.
Cows, lying on the streets. Rotting carcasses. Carted away by those we, as a society, have all but cast away.
Then, as they lift that skin, they are castigated. Beaten. Bleeding, rotting hides, like the dead flesh they moved not moments ago.
Gau-rakshaks, the beaters call themselves. Cow-protectors. Gau-mata ka rakshak. Upholders of the cow mother, upholders of an arcane belief system, upholders of ‘Hindutva’, of Hindiusm, of their own brand of what a culture should be.
A culture that values, that has always valued, human life incredibly selectively – on the basis of religion, of caste and creed, of profession and money, of colour.
A culture that values certain animals’ lives as more valuable.
A culture that sees a young boy, all of 16, run into the street with his gang of vigilantes, guns and crowbars at the ready to beat up a poor man carrying off a cow carcass. That 16-year-old wields all his weapons at a boy likely his age, perhaps an elderly man his father’s.
Beats up a person moving the animal while he takes off his leather belt, using it to flog the helpless on the street relentlessly. Crack. Whip. Cracked skin. Crack. Whip. A cut.
Blood. A little at first, then a lot.
The stench fills the air. Of propaganda. Of a creeping monster attacking from within. Of easily swayed masses that take societal protection upon themselves. Or at the very least an incredibly loosely interpreted version of it.
That propaganda creeps slowly into our system. It may start with what many consider ‘uneducated’ – which is not the case. It is there among our ‘intelligentsia’. Our so-called intellectuals. Politicians. Everyday members of society.
Your classmate. Your cousin. Your aunt or your coworker.
And sadly, that is not where it ends. It goes down family trees and takes root in the worst of places – in the minds of children.
Impressionable young sponges, with the world before them to discover, and understand, and learn from as they form their own opinions, they are stopped in their tracks. A form of Arrested Development, if you will, in building their own opinions and making sense of the world.
That world now becomes what mummy and daddy – however bigoted they may be, decide what it is.
That world leads to a young boy being threatened by a classmate in school because the classmate ‘thought’ he ate beef.
Families lynched in villages for ‘suspected’ beef. For being ‘suspected’ of making a free dietary choice.
And here, at a plush school in the capital, a nine-year-old threatened down that same path for just the same reason. Trickle-down economics may not have been successful – but trickle-down bigotry certainly, and sadly, seems to be.
Who then is the upholder of society in times that are looking to get darker than ever? As countries look to move to the future, become inclusive and open, our country is stuck in a time of arguing for religiously-oriented food choices. Of restrictions on diet. On love.
Much was bandied about on development – but tragically, it seems we are going in entirely the opposite direction.
Marital rape has no provision in our legal system, but states looking to form ‘cow protection committees’ are finding the all-clear.
In the end, does this bovine militia, this self-appointed cabal of security guards, really care about cows? Bones poking through weathered hide, weeping sores, legs tied together as they struggle to cross crowded roads in city streets, some visibly in pain, none quite fed.
The real concern is for propaganda.
Or is it society that needs to take a proper gander at itself?
Hello darkness, my old friend.