(AFP, 7 Oct: India … plans to set up laboratories at ports to test for illegal cow meat exports)
Fifteen years later:
Hindustan Times, Oct 15, 2030:
Inaugurating the Indian Institute of Beef Detectives, the minister for prohibition of beef said, amidst wild cheers, that India’s skills in beef detection were the best in the world and he planned to appoint 5 million new beef inspectors.
HT, 16.10.30: The government has decided to rename the CRPF and the BSF, bringing them in tune with the spirit of modern India. The minister for renaming said the outfits will be called the Cow Reserve Protection Force (CRPF) and the Bovine Security Force (BSF), respectively. He added, ‘Whenever there’s a lynching over beef, media attention is sadly focused on the human rather than the cow. This needs to change.’
HT, 17.10.30: The controversy over the reluctance to declassify files relating to Subhas Chandra Bose has taken a shocking new turn. The head of the Indian History Council says declassification may reveal the awful truth that Bose tasted beef. ‘Recently unearthed documents show that at a dinner which Bose attended on 17th March 1944 in Japan, the famous Kobe beef was served,’ he alleged. Other historians disagree.
‘According to my research, they served hippopotamus meat in Netaji’s honour and not beef,’ said a reputed scholar.
HT, 18.10.30: The government has generously kept open a three-day chicken-eating window during the festive season this year. The notice says chickens can be eaten on the 27th, 28th and 29th October, between 11 pm and 3 am.
HT, 19.10.30: A huge controversy broke out in Parliament today, after revelations that Rabindranath Tagore loved eating fish. Critics rushing to the well of the House said Gurudev’s famous poem, ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free…’ was originally ‘Where the tummy is full of fish and the head nods off to sleep; Where hilsa is free….’
HT, 20.10.30: The government will change history textbooks to show that Aryans from India spread civilisation all over the world. ‘Consider Moscow, named after an Aryan cow called Mos,’ pointed out a historian, author of the scholarly tract, ‘The Evil Influence of Eggs in Indian History’. Others pointed to Oxford, a great centre of bovine learning and Macau, Chinese for my cow.
HT, 21.10.30: The Centre has decided to have a unique identity number for each cow, to keep track of it. ‘Known as Gau-aadhar, Gaadhar in short, the scheme will check cow smuggling,’ said the head of the Gaadhar Bureau. The government has also notified the OCOP (One Cow One Pension) scheme. Pensions have now been equalised for all cows, regardless of when they retire.
HT, 22.10.30: The Bharat Ratna committee is split down the middle on whether to award it to Emperor Ashoka or to Manu. A pro-Manu committee member said Ashoka had placed lions on his pillars instead of cows. But one guy who voted for Manu said he thought he was voting for Manchester United.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed are personal)