In last two years, cow politics has been turned into a burning issue by the ruling BJP. Recent ban by central government on sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter has further polarised the issue. While farming community in the country is in acute crisis as reflected by recent agitations across multiple states, hindutva forces are turning more violent in the name of protecting ‘the holy cow’.
These communal forces instigating the politics of hatred are not the representatives of ordinary working masses including peasants (Baliraja) but that of Brahmin-Baniya class or Shetaji-Bhataji (trader-priest) as termed by Mahatma Phule. They are concerned neither about cows, other farm animals nor about their real guardian i.e. the peasant. While continued drought from 2013-14, demonetization fiasco and renewed onslaught of neoliberal policies brought untold miseries on the peasantry across the country, these communal goons were busy serving their real masters i.e. Ambanis, Adanis.
In drought years, farming community underwent some of the worst ordeal with no fodder or water available for cattle. Even under these circumstances, the peasantry were reluctant to sell their cows owing to the terror of these cow vigilantes. It resulted in the deaths of thousands of cows because of lack of fodder and water. This is the reality and these hypocrites are talking of cow protection.
Selling cows, buffalos to the butchers is all part of a broad socio-economic structure and all these transactions are done voluntarily for the livelihood. Are these beef eaters only Muslims? Not at all. According to National Sample Survey Organization’s (NSSO) conservative estimate, a government agency, around 1.4% Hindus eat beef. Beef is part of the diet in Kerala across communities, whereas the state where most beef is eaten is not Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir but Meghalaya. This is the reality of beef consumption in India.
Let’s us also not overlook the fact that these communal forces look upon farming communities as inferior Hindus. Thus these upper caste brahminical forces consider it their right to decide what others should do.
In Una of Gujarat, the so called Gaurakshas (cow protectors) assaulted Dalits. Even after the massive outrage across the country, these communal forces did not even show a hint of regret about the incident. Instead, Raja Singh, BJP MLA from Hyderabad shamelessly supported it by saying “These Dalits needed to be taught a lesson and that’s what the Gaurakshas did. We extend our full support to them. Good work should be appreciated.”
These perverted mindset is the direct result of the two thousand year caste system. It is the same caste system that has enforced on Dalits such acts as disposing dead animals, peeling off their skins for a meagre livelihood. Today, even after 70 years of independence, the situation has not changed much. This is the thing that we all should be ashamed of. But, far from it, these religious bigots removed far from reality are only further polarising the situation.
Cow vigilantism has unleashed brutal violence against Muslims. It was during the early decades of the 20th century that Hindutva forces resting itself on hatred against Muslims in particular tried to bring about unity among Hindus divided along caste lines, but with little success. In more recent times, they have whipped up communal frenzy through love jihad, cow slaughtering or Bharat Mata etc. In reality, working masses of the country irrespective of their religious affiliations are reeling under the severe burden of inflation, unemployment, agrarian crisis and are desperately looking for means to survive. Ruling classes have nothing to offer to them. Instead, they are used as recruits to instigate violence against thier working class brothers and sisters.
Nonetheless, such politics would not be able to distract masses, peasants and mobilise them under Brahmnical hegemony. Recent peasant struggles across multiple states exposed anti-peasant nature of the current government and how their interests are antagonistic to that of ordinary masses. The struggle would continue.
New Socialist Alternative (Pune)