“In today’s scientific world, it is foolish to consider cow as a Goddess. It is appropriate to provide a financial and scientific basis for cow protection instead of a religious basis. The ‘gau bhaktha’ who portrays that cows and buffalos are Gods should be stopped and tied to yolk and made to work in the service of the nation.” These were the words of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Sangh Parivar’s father figure. He wrote in ‘Maharashtra Sharadha’ (April 1935), about cows in a way that is a slap in the face of fake cow protectors. In the same article, he has made many more points about cows which are as follows:

“In today’s scenario, the Veda for our nation must be experiment-based modern science. If Gaupooja is not appropriate for this, it should be dropped. If we adhere to such foolishness that mythologies perpetuate as Dharma, the country is going to be ruined. The damages due to Gaupooja that far outweigh the benefits is dangerous. It is alright even if cows are slaughtered but the country’s intellect should not be slaughtered.”  Savarkar did not stop there. “Considering that cows and ox are animals appropriate for an agriculture-based country, we can use these animals to meet our requirements. Instead, if we surmise that they are Goddesses and that our mythologies have asked to worship them, it will destroy our country for sure. For meager benefits, we will lose more,” Savarkar cautioned.

Sangh Parivar’s tallest leader Savarkar was aware that politics in the name of a cow would cause tremendous loss to the country. Today, BJP, as Savarkar said, is causing heavy losses to farmers for meager electoral gains. Even if it does not consider the voices of leading thinkers or farmers, BJP should at least read its own leader V.D.Savarkar’s article and as a mark of respect to him, revoke this confusing law. It should understand that it should not damage the country for the sake of the party. 

The state’s farmers and people should understand one aspect. The law that the state is promulgating is not against beef consumption or against cow slaughter. This law is being introduced actually to rob farmers of the rights to sell their cattle. According to Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy, “There are no restrictions on the sale and consumption of beef.” Also, this law does not make any changes to the supply of beef because large corporations will take over the beef supply contract in the coming days. Already, India is the second-largest exporter of beef. The country will continue to remain a leading beef exporter in the future because several leaders of political parties including BJP are in the beef export business. And no industrialist would be willing to close down an industry that fetches crores of rupees.

According to the law that the government has promulgated, cows for sale and slaughter should be more than 13 years old. Besides, beef for export should be of high quality. Otherwise, the countries that import beef would reject them. Therefore, a question arises about who would then supply healthy cows for export. In this question lies the answer about what exactly is happening in the name of cow slaughter ban. 

This bill has been promulgated to make sure that farmers don’t sell their cattle openly and apparently not to stop the consumption of beef. So, who will actually stand to lose because of the bill? In our country, Brahmins who worship cows don’t rear cows. And we don’t have the practice of rearing cows only for the purpose of worship. Merchants who sell cows also don’t rear cows. Those who rear cows are farmers of rural areas who depend on dairy farming and for them, cow dung, urine, skin, bones, and all parts of the animal are a part of their business. Farmers also sell sterile cows past their fertile period and reinvest the money into their business.

The government’s bill makes sure that farmers lose all their rights to sell these cows which are of no use for farmers. Unable to rear them in cowsheds, the farmers leave them in the forests or kill them by poisoning. And farmers don’t even have the opportunity to sell the cows as per government regulations as they then have to endure harassment by fake cow protectors. And if by chance the police file a case, farmers have to run around the courts throughout their lives. Finally, a situation might arise where farmers get frustrated and stop dairy farming. Perhaps, this is the government’s intention so that it can smoothly facilitate the corporate takeover of dairy farming.

The law will please only the workers of the Sangh Parivar, rowdies, and goondas who pretend as cow protectionists. The law will enable these ‘cow protectionists’ to harass farmers, take hold of the cows, and sell them directly to slaughterhouses. Cow sheds are already a cesspool of financial irregularities. There are allegations about how cows that were purportedly being transported to cow shelters are being rerouted to mega beef processing units.

In the coming days, an increasing number of cow shelters will be opened.  The business of generating crores of rupees by taking over cows at throwaway prices while at the same time obtaining financial assistance from the government is all set to grow. This bill that is being promulgated to encourage rowdies and corporate honchos will take the farmers of rural areas on the path of destruction. As Savarkar said, “In upholding cow protection as our dharma, we should not lose our intellect and discretion.” This message of Savarkar should be immediately communicated to BJP leaders.

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New Delhi: India's 100 top billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crore since March last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and this amount is enough to give 13.8 crore poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each.

The latest India supplement of the Oxfam report 'The Inequality Virus' said it would take an unskilled worker 10,000 years to make what businessman Mukesh Ambani made in an hour during the pandemic and three years to make what he made in a second.

The report has been released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum's 'Davos Dialogues'.

Calling the coronavirus pandemic the world's worst public health crisis in a hundred years, the report said it triggered an economic crisis comparable in scale only with the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"India's 100 billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crores since March last year which is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each," the report said.

The new global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87 per cent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an "increase" or a "major increase" in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.

"India has the world's fourth lowest health budget in terms of its share of government expenditure," it said. "If India's top 11 billionaires are taxed at just 1 per cent on the increase in their wealth during the pandemic, it will be enough to increase the allocation of Jan Aushadi Scheme by 140 times, which provides affordable medicines to the poor and marginalized."

India introduced one of the earliest and most stringent lockdowns in the face of the pandemic and its enforcement brought the economy to a standstill, triggering unemployment, hunger, distress migration and untold hardship in its wake, the report said.

"The rich were able to escape the pandemic's worst impact; and while the white-collar workers isolated themselves and worked from home, a majority of the not-so-fortunate Indians lost their livelihood," it said.

The report noted that billionaires like Gautam Adani, Shiv Nadar, Cyrus Poonawalla, Uday Kotak, Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal, Radhakrishan Damani, Kumar Manglam Birla and Laxmi Mittal working in sectors like coal, oil, telecom, medicines, pharmaceutical, education and retail increased their wealth exponentially since March 2020 when India announced world's biggest COVID-19 lockdown and economy came to standstill.

On the other hand, data has shown that 170,000 people lost their jobs every hour in the month of April 2020, the report said. Findings of the report showed that rich got richer during the pandemic.

"Data shows what Ambani earned during the pandemic would keep the 40 crore informal workers that are at risk of falling into poverty due to COVID-19 above the poverty line for at least 5 months," the report said.

The wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown and by 90 per cent since 2009 to USD 422.9 billion, ranking India sixth in the world after the US, China, Germany, Russia and France, it said.

In fact, the report said the increase in wealth of the top 11 billionaires of India during the pandemic could sustain the rural job scheme MGNREGA for 10 years or the Health Ministry for 10 years.

Noting that the informal sector had been the worst hit, the report said out of a total 12.2 crore people who lost their jobs, 75 per cent, which accounts for 9.2 crore jobs, were lost in the informal sector.

"The mass exodus on foot triggered by the sudden lockdown and the inhuman beating, disinfection and quarantine conditions the informal workers were subjected to turned a health emergency into a humanitarian crisis," it said.

"Over 300 informal workers died due to the lockdown, with reasons ranging from starvation, suicides, exhaustion, road and rail accidents, police brutality and denial of timely medical care. The National Human Rights Commission recorded over 2,582 cases of human rights violation as early as in the month of April 2020," the report added.

It noted that the long disruption of schooling risked doubling the rate of out of school, especially among the poor.

"Only 4 per cent of rural households had a computer and less than 15 per cent rural households had an internet connection," it said.

On health inequalities, the report said only 6 per cent of the poorest 20 per cent has access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93.4 per cent of the top 20 per cent. It added that 59.6 per cent of India's population lives in a room or less.

The report said 1.7 crore women lost their job in April 2020 and unemployment for women rose by 15 per cent from a pre-lockdown level.

Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said if not addressed immediately, the crisis could worsen.

"Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts now," Behar said.

"Newer and creative ways of catering to the needs of the masses is possible if governments are committed to the needs of its people. It is time for the government of India to take specific and concrete actions that will build a better future, more equal and just a future for everyone," he said.