India has been praised for its tolerance, respect for differences and love for peace and harmony. We are an old culture and syncretic culture with different shades of opinion and lifestyle flowing simultaneously. However, recent incidents of cow vigilantism and Governments’ initiatives in this regard is very troubling.

Differences are bound to crop up regarding culture, laws, language etc in a diverse country like India. But using violence to coerce others can’t be justified in any way. If these groups have any problem they should inform police and let the law take its course. The reality is that most of these groups are merely interested to further their self-interest rather than serving ‘gau’.It would be interesting to know how many such organisations serve old cows.

While such events are aberrations and do not symbolise the opinion of the majority, they signify the shift in social discourse. This is evident from state actions like action against slaughter houses in U.P. (some fair some unfair), Gujarat assembly passing the law for capital punishment for cow slaughterers and so on. More such laws and we are moving slowly moving towards a theocratic society. It sounds insane that a human’s life is less valuable than an animal.

Having said that, I do not profess the killing of cows. I am a vegetarian and would love to see the world where no animal is killed for human taste buds. I have a deep reverence for cows who inspire me to be non-violent and kind even in a provocative situation.

I am sure that most of my Muslim brothers would voluntarily avoid killing cows for the sentiments of Hindus. Similarly, Hindu majority would avoid confrontation and seek consultation for resolving cow slaughter issues in their locality. In this way, we can ensure peace and also our unity in diversity, the pride of our nation.

P.S.- Those who wish to know Mahatma Gandhi’s opinion on this, please visit this page.

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