Last week, the assemblies of two BJP-ruled states passed legislations against cattle slaughter.
The Karnataka assembly voted for banning it and the Madhya Pradesh assembly passed a bill providing for seven years’ imprisonment.
This comes on the heels of a nationwide RSS yatra that called for a central ban on it.
Faced with declining support, the Sangh Parivar is nurturing a core Hindutva agenda — cow protection — which many see as an oblique way of attacking minorities.
However, Sangh functionaries cite 3 lakh Muslims signatures against cattle slaughter collected by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch — which draws guidance from senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar — to counter this charge.
Hyderabad-based political scientist Jyotirmaya Sharma rejected their logic: “This is anti-Muslim and an attempted Hindutva-isation of lower castes. This is a reassertion of Savarna (upper-caste) Hindu culture.”
The Sangh campaign cites “scientific facts” to push for the protection of the Indian cow, which, it says, is superior to the “buffalo-like” foreign cow. A website, www.desigovansh.com, unveiled last week by former RSS chief KS Sudarshan and Kumar, lists the facts.
“All Hindutva votaries have been blind worshippers of modern science,” Sharma said. “But they re-appropriate modern science as something that ‘ancient Hindus had’, thus claiming modernity and science to be matters of Hindu self-discovery.” Science, thus, becomes “Hindu tradition” by a sleight of hand.
The “scientific benefits” claimed: cow urine can light a CFL bulb for hours, charge a mobile phone, be used to make a soft drink, cure diabetes, kidney ailments, jaundice and cancer!
The RSS-spearheaded Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra has submitted 7-8 crore signatures to the President for banning cow slaughter and making the cow the national animal.