My dear Cow, to be frank, I am proud of you, because you have captured the imagination of the nation, nay, probably of the entire world! You have gained the central space in India, as mother of human beings, as mother of the nation and also as a prominent goddess! I do not think you ever became as popular in the history of this country as today, that too, almost as the 'national animal'. I think 21st century is very auspicious for you. Indeed, you deserve my salutation for the singular distinction you have secured!
Oh Cow, I clearly remember, during my early childhood, there was a lovely cow at home. I was very fond of her and her image is still in my mind. Later, in my school days, I had a lesson to study in my syllabus, titled 'cow', too. Still later in my college days, I wrote an essay on you, which brought me even a prize. But, all the while, I thought that you were an 'animal'. Even after drinking your milk at home regularly, it never clicked me that you were my mother!
Oh Cow, today, having grown up as a senior citizen I realize that a large percentage of people in India hold you as their mother, worship you as their goddess and consider you even mother of all Indians! Most probably, other animals must be envying you for the unique status you have arrived at. I am sure, the good life you have lived in your previous birth must have brought you to this rare stature. At any rate, you are worthy of being admired! My kudos to you!
Oh Cow, I am sure, you know that Mahatma Gandhi is the 'father of the nation'. But, the nation has been missing a 'mother of the nation'. I am not sure whether Mahatma was missing such a counterpart or not. Even if not, he must certainly be happy that he has gained one. 'Mother India' without a 'mother of the nation' would have been certainly an anomalous phenomenon. Well, the gap is filled today, incredibly so. Besides, 'mother nation' deserves precedence to 'father nation', especially in this age when women are very much awakened. I am sure, 'father nation' wouldn't mind it. Oh mother Cow, how fortunate you are!
Oh Cow, except the declared VIPs, the security of the people of this country is totally on 'raam bharose'. But, you have the privilege of a security force, called 'gaurakshak'. They are vigilant all throughout the country and 'twenty four seven', even foregoing their rightful sleep. The quality of their devotion is such that they are ready to give up their life for you, without counting the cost, so much so that perhaps even the army of the country stands in need of learning from them. They wouldn't spare anyone who would buy or sell you, forget about someone who would dare to even think of killing you. Your special privilege of 'fundamental right to protection', to all details, is really admirable!
Oh Cow, when people worship you, perform 'artee' to you, touch your feet and show all sorts of reverence to you, I suppose, you must be feeling very nice. Again, when your bhakt drink the urine you throw out as waste, I think, you must be feeling indeed great. Furthermore, when your devotees consider the excreta you discharge 'auspicious' and use it for sacred purposes, you must be having a rare sense of esteem for yourself. To my information, you are the only animal to have received such vital grip over human beings. Well dear, I have no words to express for your worth on this planet earth.
Oh Cow, with profuse sentiments of appreciation for you, on the one hand, I have to sympathize with you, if you don't mind, for the sad plight you are condemned to, on the other. I see you abandoned on the streets and roads as 'homeless' and 'disowned' with no one you could call your own. I see you feeling humiliated when hit by vehicles and kicked and beaten by many people. But, worse still, my heart breaks when I see you making ends meet by eating plastic, paper, junk, and the like. My dear, I wonder, where have your gaurakshak and devotees gone? Why do they not come to your rescue? Seeing how brutally they have left you to such a miserable fate, I feel so sorry for their utter hypocrisy and crime against you.
Oh Cow, you are so dear to me. Given the sad state of affairs you are in, I hope you don't mind if I ask you a frank question about your 'imposed identity'. You know that the Creator created every being with a dignity of her or his own, definitely beyond the scope of being compared. Yet, he endowed human beings with a 'spiritual dignity' and placed them on the peak of the evolution of life as higher beings. Therefore, animals remain as lower beings on the ladder of life, for all level-headed reasons. Now, when human beings consider you 'mother', you must be really wondering whether those human beings are really in their senses or not. Do you not feel funny about them who make a mockery of the creative design of God as well as humiliate themselves?
Oh Cow, let me ask you another question. The funny human beings who call you 'mother' have their own respective human mother and they call her 'mother', naturally so. When the human mother hears you being called 'mother', however honest be their devotion for you, does she not feel insulted? Having carried the daughter or son in her womb and having given birth in acute pain, just like you do, is she not justified in reserving the sacred name 'mother' to herself? And if she reproves her offspring for violating her right, would you hold her wrong? Tell me, when you are the only mother to your calf, how could a human being have a mother other than her or his mother? Therefore, would you not feel uncomfortable when human beings address you 'mother'?
Oh Cow, let me ask you yet another question. As per the food habits, both human beings and animals fall into three categories. Some eat vegetables only; some eat the flesh of animals only; and some eat both. Among those human beings who eat animal flesh, a large majority relish your meat, as well. Your flesh was the most auspicious preference for the Brahmins and their gods during the Vedic times, too. Now, when one human being asks 'why do you eat what I worship', another replies 'why do you worship what I eat?' Tell me dear, forget about who is right and who is wrong, do you not feel like having a hearty laugh at the stupidity of those human beings who lynch or hate their brethren in the name of food tastes?
Oh Cow, lastly, let me confess, I read on your face the terrible sentiments of agony you go through, time and again, when some vested interests and miscreants drag you under the cover of faith and make you a tool for their political mileage. I do understand how painful it is for you when your God-given dignity as a 'cow' is shattered by projecting on you a false sense of identity and misuse you for illicit benefits. I also feel upset about your anguish when some guys wrongly allege you to be 'Hindu', when you stand much beyond the petty considerations of caste, religion, and the like. My dear friend, 'enough is enough'! It is high time you 'speak up' against the nonsense that is in the social air of this great country, whose dignified citizen you are!
Oh Cow, as your friend, my only request to you is to take this trying time as a wakeup call. You could also gather motivation from your sister cows in other countries. They are not misused by anyone. Do not allow yourself to be a victim of the political and religious stampede in India. Take a lesson also from the Dravidian and North Eastern traditions. Do not allow yourself to be invaded by any vested interests. Do not allow your 'dignity' and 'freedom' to be violated by vigilantes of any sort. You have a great role to play in making this country developed, much more than giving milk to human beings. Let us work together for upholding the sacred values of our esteemed Constitution and the revered ethos of this great nation!
Dr M.D. Thomas
(Published on 11th September 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 37)