Costs of Cow Protection

Incidents of attacks on some sections of the people, particularly on datits, adivasis and Muslims in the name of cow protection with the covert, and sometimes overt, connivance of the organs of the state, are well-known. The attacks continue, despite protests, because the modern Hindutva is based largely on hatred of Muslins and Christians,rather than on a knowledge of India’s ancient past. The collective fascist madness in the name of cow protection has a clear purpose, that of furthering the already growing communal polarisation, of course with the patronage of the corporate-controlled media. Despite Narendra Modi’s deceitful utterances about Ambedkar, who in the upshot came to the conclusion that the Hindu society was based on a structural inequality (which led him to embrace Buddhism), along with his crocodile tears about dalits, it is not certain how far he will succeed, because the campaign of cow protection and the violence that has been taking place in its name will only worsen the situation confronting dalits, let alone Muslims. Recent disquieting reports from the UP on attacks against the Jatav community has aggravated the situation, and exposed the hypocrisy of Narendra Modi’s utterances.

What is however less discussed is some other economic consequence of such a campaign. According to one estimate, there are about 200 millions of cows in the country. Of them, 75 millions are milch cows. What should happen to the rest if cow slaughter is banned all over the country? In agriculture, use of bullock power is now extremely small and farming is done mostly with the help of mechanical power. So, if cows are really to be protected, they have to be fed by the state or various cow protection societies whose idol is Narendra Modi. If the 120 to 125 millions of cows were to be fed adequately, that would place a daily burden of Rs 3 billion on the nation’s shoulder. The annual burden would be more than Rs I trillion. Are the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and various other Hindutva outfits prepared to accept this burden? They may try to persuade the government to raise this money from the tax payers, and if the government does so in the name of cow protection, what will be public reaction? The opium of religion cannot dupe the people for ever, and there are other economic effects. The leather industry, which provides employment and livelihood to millions, is going to fall into a deep crisis. Who will take the responsibility?

Besides, trafficking in cows across the border continues, because a cow fetches a much higher money value on the other side of the border. A part of the huge margin goes to various bribe-taking agencies including the BSF and the Bangladesh Rifles, another part is appropriated by private extortioners (tolabajs) and a third goes to the practitioners of this illegal trade. The government, if it really desires, can legalise this trade and levy duties on it, which may curb, if not eliminate, the colossal corruption associated with cow trafficking. But the government will certainly not take such a step. History will definitely put the champions of cow protection in the dock for their many misdeeds, which it is not necessary here to dwell on at length. For the time being, suffice it to say that they are destroying the country and its economy, and polluting the minds of the young generations with the help of all sorts of lies imaginable. They are of course being helped by the growing lumpenisation of the young people, a lumpenisation that is a consequence of jobless growth.

Vol. 49, No.48, Jun 4 - 10, 2017