The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will launch a Gau Grama Yatra (procession in the rural areas to protect the cow), covering 22,000 km and three lakh villages in 108 days.
The campaign will start from Kurukshetra in Haryana on September 30 and will culminate into a grand rally in Nagpur on January 17.
While the distance to be crossed is six times the length of the country from north to south, the number of villages to be covered is half the country’s total number of villages.
According to sources in the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, at least 500 small yatras will be organised every day and signatures in favour of protecting the cow will be collected from the people to be sent later to President Pratibha Patil.
RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya said, “This is our largest movement ever involving the cow and larger than any other movement after the Ramjanmabhumi movement.”
The campaign that began in 1984 gave the Bharatiya Janata Party, the RSS’ political organ, a national status.
Vaidya said, “Chemical fertilisers make the land barren, while fertilisers made from cow dung consume less water and are less expensive. For this, the cow should be preserved,” he said, adding that the green revolution was harmful for the soil in the long run.
The document prepared for the yatra links chemical fertilisers and machines to farmers’ suicides in recent years. “The ever-increasing loans drive the farmer to commit suicide. The answer to these problems is to return to the cow-centred way of life,” the document said.
This time, supporting the RSS will be three Shankaracharyas — leaders of the orthodox stream of Hinduism — actor Vivek Oberoi, former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation Joginder Singh and many others from various fields.
The RSS also asserts some Muslim leaders have also come out in support of the campaign.