The party of Gandhi

My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. —Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 29-1-1925

Background

Yesterday, the Congress party of Kerala (youth wing) indulged in an act that was barbaric, cruel, and extremely insensitive.  They butchered a calf on the streets in Kannur, Kerala, and engaged in a “beef party.” All the while, slogans celebrating the Congress were shouted.  The choice of Kannur is not insignificant—it was done to cause the maximum hurt to Hindu sentiments, since Kannur is about 60% Hindu.  Here is a video, which has gone viral.

The Congress, whenever it suits them, uses the “Mahatma card”: namely, they flout Mahatma Gandhi as if he were a party possession, available to exploit at any time. Anyone who has read Gandhiji’s writings (and I have read only a small fraction, since Gandhiji was a prolific writer) will know that Gandhiji placed the MOST IMPORTANCE on cow protection. Indeed, he wrote and spoke about it throughout his political career.  Below are some of his writings on the subject.

Gandhiji’s writings on cow protection and prevention of cow slaughter

(YI = Young India)

THE COW is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole dumb creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless. (YI, 6-10-1921, p. 36)

…The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian’. (YI, 26-6-1924, p. 214)

I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. (YI, 1-1-1925, p. 8)

Mother cow is in many ways better than the mother who gave us birth. Our mother gives us milk for a couple of years and then expects us to serve her when we grow up. Mother cow expects from us nothing but grass and grain. Our mother often falls ill and expects service from us. Mother cow rarely falls ill. Here is an unbroken record of service which does not end with her death. Our mother, when she dies, means expenses of burial or cremation. Mother cow is as useful dead as when she is alive. We can make use of every part of her body-her flesh, her bones, her intestines, her horns and her skin. Well, I say this not to disparage the mother who gives us birth, but in order to show you the substantial reasons for my worshipping the cow. (H, 15-9-1940, p. 281)

The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection. Cow protection to me is one of the most wonderful phenomena in human evolution. It takes the human being beyond this species. The cow to me means the entire sub-human world. Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives. Why the cow was selected for apotheosis is obvious to me. The cow was in India the best companion. She was the giver of plenty. Not only did she give milk, but she also made agriculture possible……..

Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live so ling as there are Hindus to protect the cow…… Hindus will be judged not by their TILAKS, not by the correct chanting of MANTRAS, not by their pilgrimages, not by their most punctilious observances of caste rules, but their ability to protect the cow. (YI, 6-10-1921, p. 36)

My religion teaches me that I should by personal conduct instill into the minds of those who might hold different views, the conviction that cow-killing is a sin and that, therefore, it ought to be abandoned.
(YI, 29-1-1925, p. 38)

Cow slaughter can never be stopped by law. Knowledge, education, and the spirit of kindliness towards her alone can put and end to it. It will not be possible to save those animals that are a burden on the land or, perhaps, even man if he is a burden. (H, 15-9-1946, p. 310)

My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. But that requires that I should set my own house thoroughly in order first. (YI, 29-1-1925, p. 38)

Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. (YI, 7-5-1925, p. 160)


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About the Author

Vinay Kumar
Devout Hindu and practising brahmin, very interested in history and current affairs of Bharat. Do not believe in birth-based "caste" but rather varna based on swadharma and swabhava, and personal commitment to that varna's dharmas. I don't judge people by the religion they profess: every human being should be treated with equal dignity. At the same time, I don't judge a religion by the people I know who profess it. A religion, like any doctrine, should be subjected to critical examination using facts and reason.
  • Bharathi Suta

    Nice article, didnt know Gandhi was so passionate about stopping cow slaughter. Btw is there a video embedded since i didnt see it in my browser. It says “here is video”…