July 15, 2024

Each time that annual ‘festival’ of cruelty and bloodshed is around the corner, I start lighting a lamp daily and say a silent prayer for the Gaurakshaks!

Gaurakshaks don’t get Padmashri’s or book deals or are hailed as ‘animal rights champions’ and are invited to write papers on ‘animal rights activism’ at international conferences. Instead, they are reviled and ridiculed in articles that depict them as lumpen elements.

Dogs have rights. Cats have rights. Lab mice and monkeys have rights. Only cows don’t have any rights in a Hindu majority country because the average Hindu doesn’t care.

I am reminded of this bitter truth each time that ‘festival’ is around the corner. Every year around this time, a few young men lose their lives in murderous attacks by ‘peaceful’ butchers. Shekhar Rapelli of Nanded in Maharashtra is the latest victim of this annual blood sport!

Shekhar was slaughtered and 6 others are injured, because they dared to intercede a truck transporting cows illegally for slaughter to satisfy the ‘sacrificial urge’ of some ‘peaceful’ people.

Shekhar Rapelli isn’t the only Gaurakshak to die. Each year, some of our most committed Hindu youth are murdered like this. Their only fault is that they care to save cows. And no one cares for them. Not animal rights activists, not the system, not even the larger Hindu society.

Saving cows has no glamour. Animal rights activists who weep buckets over dog’s ears being traumatised due to Deepawali crackers do not want to see that cows led for slaughter have chillies stuffed in their eyes.

Animal rights activists hysterically defending stray dogs mauling a child to death by saying ‘dogs don’t harm people, it must be the child’s fault’ do not care even when they see pictures of 8 live calves being transported for slaughter in the boot of an Alto, made to fit in that tiny space by breaking their legs!

Yes, these things happen. The final slaughter of the cow by cutting the jugular and letting it thrash about bleeding is only the final act of cruelty against cows by butchers from a particular religion!

#Gauraksha is a cause very close to my heart. I actively and regularly support two Goshalas, Dakshin Vrindavan run by Ashwin Sampat kumaran in Kerala and the Dhyan foundation one run by Swati Shilker in Goa. I also meet a lot of Gaurakshaks in the course of my work, and I am stunned by the dangers they face.

Gaurakshaks are slapped with fake court cases, they are threatened with retribution, they are beaten with iron rods and sticks, when they chase trucks illegally transporting cows for slaughter, the butchers often try to run them over. And finally, when nothing works, they are chopped to death, using meat cleavers!

And yet, these young men and women, often from humble families, work selflessly, tirelessly to save cows. The saddest part is, even the BJP doesn’t care much for Goraksha wherever the party is in power. Sure, they enact laws banning slaughter, but no one is keen to implement. The cops, who are often Hindu, are reluctant to take action many times, even when provided with credible info.

When an occasional raid does happen, the rescued cows are not handed over to a good Gaushala, but are often left out in the sun in some pound without adequate water or food till the case is filed. Many die-of starvation and trauma in such cases. The system is rotten through and through and the Hindu society is largely apathetic to this cause, only paying lip service to Gauraksha, without contributing in any way for the upkeep of cows at Gaushalas.

When I heard the story of Subhadra, the rescued cow I have adopted at Dakshin Vrindavan, I couldn’t sleep that night. Subhadra was transported in a cramped, airless truck for slaughter, tightly packed with tens of other cows. There was no space to move even. She had green chilies and chilli powder stuffed in her eyes and her private parts so she could walk fast to her death. Even today, Subhadra is partially blind, and doesn’t trust humans, even as she is safe and happy in Dakshin Vrindavan.

As I mourn the death of a young Shekhar Rapelli and pray that his family gets the strength to deal with this blow. I know that he is not going to be the last Gaurakshak to die. There will be some arrests, some outrage, and then everything will die down till next the next festival of cruelty.

If this write-up DOES mean anything to you, support the cause of Goraksha in any way you can. Write to your law makers, donate a fixed amount of money to a reliable shelter, contribute to a fund-raiser for the family of a slain gaurakshak, pay for the legal expenses of a Gaurakshak fighting false cases. There are many things you can do.

Or, you can always ignore all this, feed a stray dog a pack of cheap glucose biscuits and pretend that you are an ‘animal rights activist’!

May your soul attain sadgati Shekhar!

Courtesy – Writer, Blogger, Columnist Shefali Vaidya’s Facebook Post

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