If you kill a tiger, rhino, elephant, lion or any other endangered species in India, one can expect jail term of minimum 3 years and maximum 7 years. Yet killing of cow will cost you 14 years in Gujarat and your neck in Chhattisgarh. A just punishment is one whose sentence is commensurate with the severity of the crime, but again prosecuting a poacher does not win elections.
I happened to spend some time with Sangita Iyer, director of “Gods in Shackles” during my last flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore. This Canadian director of Indian origin gave me some unique perspective about the hypocrisy of Indians. She asserted that it is not commerce but religious or cultural zeal, sport and lack of any consciousness or compassion that is fueling all acts of cruelty in India.
The elephant is a scared animal. All Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh & Jain temples have deities of this animal or of its god form Ganesha carved in stone. Yet as the movie described in vivid examples, the treatment to the animals when under the care of temple & affiliates are much worse than those kept in Zoo, animal research, tree logging or industry.
Vedas might have codified the religious status of Bull, Ox and Cow in Indian mythology. Yet the scenes from Jallikattu would sate a very different ground reality about the life of these animals in India.
If Hindu’s were so much concerned about the welfare of these animals, they would take steps to rehabilitate cows roaming on the streets, the rampant problem of foot and mouth disease that infects one in three lactating beasts, regulate the use of hormones, drugs & antibiotics by greedy farmers to improve the yields etc.
Uttaranchal has given citizenship & status of a living person to Ganga & Yamuna but in my opinion if we do respect them as humans, we should take steps to clean the river, install effluent plants and improve the quality of water of these rivers.
The purpose of religion is to purify one’s mind, thoughts and actions. It is an inward journey of self-discovery and realization and not a facade to rally the mobs and subjugate the minorities and non-believers.