Cow is not an animal: Would Nehru have been amused?
Nehru who was in favour of cultivating a scientific temper would have been horrified to listen to the proceedings of this seminar at the institute named after him
Anybody can hire the auditorium/seminar room at the Nehru Memorial by paying an astonishingly affordable ₹15,000 in the National Capital (in fact in the Lutyen’s zone) for the evening, claim apologists. The argument is that NMML cannot be blamed for hosting some of these overtly communal or unscientific discourses.
It is not quite correct because the authorities do exercise their discretion in disallowing several requests on considerations which they are not obliged to disclose.
Last week itself, NMML allowed one of its seminar rooms to be used for an event for which a model of a cow was placed prominently in the centre.
“Cow dung is the panacea to India’s economic woes. Every rupee could fetch $100 if we start using cow dung instead of petrol and diesel,” declared a participant in earnest.
“Drinking cow urine every morning serves as an excellent nutrient for body-builders,” said another.
The Chairman of the Board, SP Gupta (a retired IAS officer), nodded in agreement when castigated by one of the organisers about cow still being treated as an animal
The statements were bandied around freely as self-proclaimed Gau-Rakhshaks, including government officials, discussed the current state of cows in the country.
“Such gatherings have become more frequent this year. In earlier years, such events would take place once every year at the most. Now, the frequency has picked up,” said an official at NMML, who has been working there for the last ten years.
Had the event taken place at any other venue, it would have been viewed as normal because the hard-right fringe tends to get more active in the run-up to elections. However, the irony isn’t lost as the Gau-Rakshaks have been holding these events at NMML, established to propagate the ideals and teachings of Jawaharlal Nehru.
How would Jawaharlal Nehru have reacted? A senior colleague recalls an anecdote shared by Ajit Jogi, the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. Jogi’s father was the Pradhan of a village in Rajnandgaon, where Nehru was to address an election rally. But the first Prime Minister was upset to see posters put up by the Jan Sangh, demanding laws to protect the cow.
The livid first Prime Minister reportedly told the gathering that while he had indeed arrived to solicit votes for the party, he had changed his mind. If people in the constituency cared more for cows than human beings, he did not want their votes. Having said that, he jumped off the podium, got into his vehicle and drove away.
Nehru who was in favour of cultivating a scientific temper would have been horrified to listen to the proceedings of this seminar at the institute named after him.
What was even more shocking was the participation by representatives of the Animal Welfare Board of India, an advisory outfit under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The Chairman of the Board, SP Gupta (a retired IAS officer), nodded in agreement when castigated by one of the organisers about cow still being treated as an animal.
“We are sympathetic to your demands. We are making efforts to get them addressed by the government,” he said. Gupta then went on to make several announcements to cheer up the disenchanted Gau Rakshaks.
“We will issue you official IDs so that police don’t come in the way of your Gau-raksha,” said Gupta, before felicitating a local bodybuilder who waxed on the efficacy of cow’s urine for his good health.