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The British punctured our roots, killed cows and poisoned our minds, and left behind generations of ‘brown Englishmen’, writes Yogi Ashwini
Macaulay in his infamous ‘Minute’ in 1835 changed the course of how Bharat (or India as we call it now) would be perceived by its countrymen. He planned to uproot the Indian culture through English education. He advocated education for a selected class and wanted to create eminent clerks to serve the lower cadres in British administration, “Brown Englishmen”.
The fact that most of us find it perfectly normal to address him, who ravaged our culture, as “Lord” Macaulay and find the idea of cow, which nourishes us, being our mother or goddess absurd, is a direct indicator of the fact that Macaulay succeeded in brainwashing us. A brainwash to the extent that no matter what we write here or whatever stats we share, the Brown Englishmen, even if they make it through the end of this article, would still not find anything wrong in killing cows or eating beef in India, the fact that it is illegal to slaughter cows in 24 of 28 States in independent India notwithstanding.
Cow has been a symbol of abundance and prosperity since time immemorial. The archaeological excavations in Harappa and Mohenjodaro have revealed seals and figurines of bulls and cows. Atharvavedacalls the cow dhenu, the house of all bounties. The 28th Sukta of 6th Mandal of Rigved directs everyone to ensure that cows are free from miseries and kept healthy. God blesses those who take care of cows. Cow brings prosperity and strength, if cows keep healthy and happy, men and women shall also be disease-free and prosperous. In fact, cow is called Aditi in Rigved, one which ought not to be cut into pieces, and cow slaughter is called a crime as heinous as human murder.
Lord Nandi, the bull, was the favourite of Lord Shiv. Lord Parshuram waged a war against Sahastra Arjun when he took away the calf of Kamdhenu cow, which belonged to his father. King Prithu, after whom earth is called prithvi, milked a cow, which is the embodiment of earth, to end the famine on the planet and save humanity. Lord Krishna was a Gopal, cow herder. Arjun thought it worthy to risk another 14 years of exile in order to protect the cattle in Viratnagar war. King Nahush had to reimburse the fishermen with a prize equivalent to life of Rishi Chyawan, he did so by gifting them a cow. Chola King Manu Needhi Cholan killed his son Veedhividangan to provide justice to a cow whose calf was killed under his chariot wheels.
After 1000AD, there was an advent of Islamic rulers in India. They, too, were not habituated to eating beef, as there were no cows in Arab countries. Sheep, goats and camels were parts of their ritual sacrifice as per Islamic tradition. However, coming to India, some of them started sacrificing cows. This was not a religious dictate, as others (and the more influential ones), like Humayun did not eat beef and issued a farman against cow slaughter. Later Mughal emperors — Akbar, Jahangir, and Ahmad Shah also imposed bans on cow slaughter. In fact, noted hadith scholar Ghazali in his Ihya-ulum-ud-din observes that beef creates disease, milk is cure and clarified butter has medicinal properties.
In 1580, Ralph Fitch, an English traveller wrote while describing India in a letter, “they worship cows, paint walls with cow dung and don’t eat flesh”. That was the tradition in India. When Afghan plunderer Ahmad Shah Durrani, in an act of hostility filled the sacred pool of Golden Temple with blood of slaughtered cows, the act was condemned throughout the country.
Every Indian ruler and citizen, irrespective of faith, opposed this butchering of cows. Sultan of Mysore, Hyder Ali made cow slaughter an offence punishable with the cutting of the hands of the offenders. In early 19th century, Ranjit Singh, the founder of Sikh empire, banned cow slaughter throughout his domain. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, in 1857, banned cow slaughter, forbade the eating of beef and announced the punishment of being blown by cannon for anyone killing a cow.
The Marathas, who were known for being tolerant towards all faiths, took extensive steps to inhibit cattle slaughter and dealt severely with those who killed cattle. They set up blockades around Bassein (now Vasai, Maharashtra) in the late 1790s to prevent cow carcasses from being smuggled to butchers in Bombay and Salsette.
The first slaughterhouse in India was built in Calcutta in 1760 by Robert Clive, then Governor of Bengal. It could kill 30,000 animals per day. Several more slaughterhouses were set up in various parts of the country by the Commissariat Wing of the three British armies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies. As many as 350 slaughterhouses were constructed by 1910. The Britishers were habituated to eating beef and saw in the practice the opportunity to break India.
Hindus and Muslims who unanimously preserved cattle before the advent of British rule and who even fought the first war of Indian Independence, the Revolt of 1857, shoulder to shoulder against the British Rule when they were made to lick cartridges smeared in cow fat were calculated conspiracies by Britishers.  Muslims were given employment in the butcher houses run by the British Government and gradually led to believe that it was their religious right to eat cows whereas no such precedence exists in history.
Further blow came with the introduction of English education, which created Brown Englishmen, who looked down upon India’s culture and sciences and were trained to not think. British left but the minds of Indians were colonised forever. India, which put forth capital punishment for slaughter of cows, is now was debating whether or not to ban cow slaughter. The blindness is chronic, as India continues to kill cows, smuggle them and savour beef, thinking there is nothing wrong with it. To the blind fellow Indians — just check the quality of air, food, water and land in our country, the rate of crime and the health of animals, the rise in disease, poverty and suffering — if you can say it is better than what it was 300 years ago, I would understand you are right in your thinking. If not, maybe it’s time to shed off the colonial mindset.
The article was published in dailypioneer.


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