In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a Kolkata-based trust has asked people to take a selfie with a cow and post it on social networking sites to spread the message of cow preservation and protesting it’s slaughter.
The Go Seva Parivar launched the initiative soon after Diwali and claims to have attracted over a thousand selfies from across the country under the hashtag ‘#selfiewithgomata’ on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.
The trust, which primarily works for protection of cows and promotion of products derived from the animal and its waste, even held a selfie competition on Sunday. The organizers held a programme at Bidhan Shishu Udyan in Kolkata where they worshiped the animal and gave awards to the best selfies.
“Cows help us live, grow and sustain ourselves. Apart from milk, cow dung and cow urine are essential for farming, medicines and other purposes. To us, cows are celebrities, they are our ‘gau mata’,” said Lalit Agarwal, spokesperson of the Go Seva Parivar.
The initiative has attracted a lot of young people and is an effective way of spreading the message (of banning cow slaughter) to the youth, added Agarwal.
“I heard about it (the contest) through Facebook. When I walking home I saw a calf and clicked a selfie with it and posted it on Facebook,” said Pankaj Choudhury, who is the head of a private company.
The 38-year-old recommends that everyone hug a cow once and take a selfie at least once. “Cow is not just an animal… It has a different aura… it gives tremendous positive energy. Since selfies are trending right now, this way youth will feel the need to save cows,” he added.
The initiative comes at a time when the country has seen violent protests, and even bloodshed, over ban on cow slaughter. The lynching of three men in UP, Himachal Pradesh and Assam for allegedly killing a cow spurred national debate over religious freedom and infringement of fundamental rights.
Cow meat stands banned in 20 states out of the total 29 states and seven union territories. West Bengal, where beef is still legal, has seen its share of pro- and anti-beef parties by members of the civil society and right wing political parties, but things have remained largely peaceful in the state.