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PM Modi’s sincere but firm appeal to eschew cow vigilantism is welcome, for we are living in a democracy in which barbaric zealots cannot take law into their own hands and mete out punishments in their fanatical espousal of causes. However, the mild alternative solution to cow protection, namely avoidance of plastic, as mentioned by the PM, is a palliative one that does not address the more serious issues. I hope he is aware of the phenomenon of cattle-raiding and smuggling happening across India and sadly even in places such as Vrindavan that is sanctified with association with Lord Krishna, the cowherd-God. Armed thieves are making their living by abducting cows for slaughter, with the connivance of the authorities, while the locals are risking their lives trying to prevent the deadly night raids. Besides this, we have seen in the past how cattle stuffed in railway bogies were being smuggled to Bangladesh. Against such backdrop, the Rashtriya Gokul Mission to promote indigenous cow breeds is not enough. Attention has to be paid to the poor animals’ safety too. Also, at a time when India wants to encourage sustainable farming and switch to renewable sources of energy, the country can ill-afford to lose its stock of cattle. Gau-raksha has been happening since ages and it would be foolish to demonise this based on the brutalities of a few lumpen elements. The Shanti Parva of Mahabhartha says: “Aghnyaa ithi gavaam naama—ka etha hanthumarhathi” (When the cow’s name itself says, in the first place, that it is something not fit to be killed, who can ever kill it?) And that is why it was enjoined upon our ancient kings to strive to protect cows, even at the risk of their own lives.
C Krishna Manoj
Aid no succour
Apropos of the edit “The right response” (FE, August 9), there is no doubt that humanitarian aid is just a sheer waste of resources, especially in the case of crises like floods and famine that can now, thanks to the march of technology, can be predicted well in advance, leaving time for mounting mitigation and preventive response in advance. In that sense, the Oxfam report points out something that should be obvious but is somehow overlooked by policymakers and donors alike.