Today in New Delhi, India
Mar 25, 2019-Monday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Not cowtowing to anyone

The most-written about creature takes her revenge on the system.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2012 22:26 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times

Cows give us gobar. Bullshit.

We weren't aware of this gendered faecal fact when we wrote those essays in school. Heck, we didn't even know a cow wasn't a 'he' that gave us milk until we were old enough to find out that writing on 'the cow' for 10 marks was basically bullshitting.

If you consider that half the children on this planet went to school since 1912, the cow is the most written about earthling. This assertion is based on those who opted for 'our school' but ended up writing on the cow that ate grass in the field behind/beside their school and possessed a range of assets from the grass-grinding mouth to the gobar ejector.

Before we could master B for bull - oops, ball - and C for cow (cat?), we knew the creature in old McDonald's farm that moo-mooed everywhere and the one that jumped over the moon. We could not make a head or tail of those nursery rhymes, but the teachers ensured they were moosic to our ears.

As we grew older, books told us pigs, horses, dogs, cats and donkeys - rats and cockroaches too - were more equal than cows. George Orwell didn't live long enough in his Bihar birthplace to make the Animal Farm cows ruminate on fictitious chara, but those bechara bovines were traumatised by Napoleon's milk-pinching pigs. Walter Wangerin's Dun Cow was more fortunate as a riddle-happy messenger god sent to help a rooster king battle the forces of evil.

Cows presumably began calling the shots after Dana Lyons and Jeff Sinclair gave us Cows with Guns, which a website said was a sure-shot Bullitzer winner. Another website listed the top 10 limericks on cows, the only printable among them being:

There lived a young cow in MA
He always had his own say
On the grass he would chew
Saying merrily moo-moo
He often even ate hay
Only a gai - the 'he' is a giveaway - could have written this limerick. He presumably hadn't heard about Mangala's academic appetite. If you didn't know, Mangala is the cow that ate some 150 class 10 exam answer sheets in the western Assam town of Goalpara in March.

Mangala probably chewed on Assam-ese answer papers to cownter decades of sexist exaggeration about her tribe. And on history papers to find out, in this land of holy cows, if the celestial Nandi or Kamdhenu were her ancestors. But experts couldn't fathom why she also made a meal of science, if not to discover how security is beefed up in a rebel region.

For those bullish on education, Mangala's was the final cowntdown for a system that has apparently cast away its archaic bovine craft to board the Right to Education flight. Her progeny will eventually find out if it is powered by gobar gas.

We can only fasten the cow belt and wait until the cows come home.

First Published: Apr 25, 2012 22:22 IST