The Ajmer Literature Festival, organised recently, was cancelled because its keynote speaker, actor Naseeruddin Shah, had earlier said that in our country the death of a cow was regarded more important than the death of a police officer, and this remark was the pretext for a right wing group to disrupt the event.
But what was wrong in what Naseeruddin Shah said ? In fact I have gone much further in several of my statements.
When I was invited to BHU to speak in a function, on stepping out of Benares airport about half a dozen mediapersons came to me with their mikes and asked me about my view of beef eating( see on YouTube ).
I said that there is nothing wrong in eating beef. A cow is not holy. It is just an animal, like a horse or a dog. Almost the whole world eats beef–America, Europe, Africa, Arab countries, China, Japan, Australia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, etc. even in some Indian states it is eaten. Are all such people wicked and we alone sadhu sant ?
And how can a cow be called ‘gomata’ ? Can an animal be a mother of a human being ?
It is said that cow is our mother because she gives us milk. But humans also drink milk of goat, buffalo, camel, yak, deer etc. Are they all to be regarded as ‘mata’ and worshiped ?
To those who say that we should not eat beef and venerate cow since that is part of Indian culture my response is : there is a lot of rubbish and stupidity in our culture too e.g. caste system and looking down on dalits. So we must not blindly continue to follow our entire culture, and instead we should wipe out the outdated, feudal and irrational part, retaining only that part which is still useful for us today.
And as regard the die hard champions of ‘Hindutva’ I can only respond by a doha in Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas :
” Moorakh hriday na chet, jo guru miley biranch sam
Phoole phale na beyt, jadapi sudha barse jaladhi”
A fool will never get intelligence, even if he has a guru like Brahma
A bamboo will never give fruit or have flowers, even if the clouds rain a river of water on it