Why Gandhi won’t have approved this brand of gauraksha

PM rightly referred to the Mahatma’s message

GN Bureau | June 30, 2017


#Cow protection   #Narendra Modi   #Mahatma Gandhi   #Hind Swaraj  


Prime minister Narendra Modi finally broke his silence, once again, and denounced the spate of lynching in the name of cow protection. As he visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, he also said Gandhiji would not have approved of this way of cow protection.
 
Gandhi, a thoroughly religious Hindu, devoted part of a chapter in his key text ‘Hind Swaraj’ (1909) on the vexed question of cow protection, which was a boiling issue way back then too.
 
Gandhi’s view, in brief, is that cow is holy, cow is crucial to India’s economy, but cow is not worth killing a human being for – and if you care so much for cow, you better offer your own life in sacrifice to protect her. Also, he believes that in making cow a symbol to pick a bone with the Muslims, a great disservice is done to that animal, and more cows have been killed because of that symbolism.
 
Here are his views, in his own words:
 
“Reader: Now I would like to know your views about cow-protection.
 
“Editor: I myself respect the cow, that is, I look upon her with affectionate reverence. The cow is the protector of India because, being an agricultural country, she is dependent on the cow. The cow is a most useful animal in hundreds of ways. Our Mahomedan brethren will admit this. But, just as I respect the cow, so do I respect my fellow-men. A man is just as useful as a cow no matter whether he be a Mahomedan or a Hindu. Am I, then, to fight with or kill a Mahomedan in order to save a cow? In doing so, I would become an enemy of the Mahomedan as well as of the cow. Therefore, the only method I know of protecting the cow is that I should approach my Mahomedan brother and urge him for the sake of the country to join me in protecting her. If he would not listen to me I should let the cow go for the simple reason that the matter is beyond my ability. If I were overfull of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice my life to save her but not take my brother’s. This, I hold, is the law of our religion. When men become obstinate, it is a difficult thing. If I pull one way, my Moslem brother will pull another. If I put on a superior air, he will return the compliment. If I bow to him gently, he will do it much more so; and if he does not, I shall not be considered to have done wrong in having bowed. When the Hindus became insistent, the killing of cows increased.
 
“In my opinion, cow-protection societies may be considered cow-killing societies. It is a disgrace to us that we should need such societies. When we forgot how to protect cows, I suppose we needed such societies. What am I to do when a blood-brother is on the point of killing a cow? Am I to kill him, or to fall down at his feet and implore him? If you admit that I should adopt the latter course, I must do the same to my Moslem brother.
 
“Who protects the cow from destruction by Hindus when they cruelly ill-treat her? Whoever reasons with the Hindus when they mercilessly belabour the progeny of the cow with their sticks?  But this has not prevented us from remaining one nation.”
 
[--From Hind Swaraj]
 

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