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Holy Cow
They worship me as holy cow.
Still, I’m milked and forced to breed;
and burly cops just tried to tow,
this holy cow that cannot read

Holy Cow
posted: 6.5.05


"They worship me as holy cow.
Still, I’m milked..."

-Reminded me of Maneka Gandhis' crusade against milking of cows and how we don't need any milk supplements once weaned from mother's milk. So what's you take on it?

Knowing you're a vegetarian I won't ask you on your take on eating beef, though I have strong issues with that particular taboo practiced by most Hindus.

Another thing to add to your insult of the holy cow - amazing isn't it, how she feeds so often on rubbish off the roads and looks so beaten-down and tired?

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 7.5.05  

I don't believe all of what she says and a lot of purportedly "scientific" facts are often grossly misplaced. I'll readily confess that the journey from being a vegetarian to vegan is lot harder than one from being a non-vegetarian to vegetarian; especially because even the strictest of religious regimes in India don't forbid milk. Though after reading (and seeing) some of the practices that the milkmen here resort to, I am limited in my intake to what I inadvertently get in coffee or tea (and will happily go for substitutes wherever available).

I turned vegetarian some twelve years ago, not because of any religious obligations or taboo but because I saw the very birds I was feeding in my neighborhood go to slaughterhouse. And mind you, this was just chickens.

I'll try to give a piece of my mind here without coming across as someone trying to assume a moral high ground. More importantly, I won't present any scientific facts to credit vegetarianism or to discredit it. What I say here, is what I feel.

Firstly, I sense a trace of intellectual snobbery in 'I have strong issues with that particular taboo', and I therefore begin by registering my humble protest. People have traditions - some of them are rational, other probably irrational; but more often than not they are rooted in some ancient wisdom (and indeed, at times in superstition). There are several reasons for which Hindus don't consume beef. The reasons might lie in history or theology, but for our current discussion, let's say it is a belief I won't ‘have strong issues with’ - just like I won't question some religions resorting to burial while others to cremation. The times we live in, you are more than welcome to forgo tradition, but please, let’s not look at the believers superciliously. After all, this taboo doesn’t do anyone any harm!

That said, have you been to a slaughterhouse? Ever heard the squeals of a pig in death throes? Or as Douglas Adams puts it very eloquently, in Restaurant at the end of the universe, did you ever meet the meat?

We as humans are extremely sensitive to pain, suffering, death - be it in our clan or amongst our pets. Yet we forget this very sensitivity (note, I don't call it a virtue for that'll be assuming a high ground) in matters of plate and palate. I have seen a chicken being cut on an accidental visit to meat shop. I have heard the squeals of a pig being beaten to death for its meat. Had I not turned vegetarian before the incidents, I sure would have after them.

For once, question yourself on how that slice of pork came onto your plate. I am certain you don't live in ignorance of the slice's animal origins. But if you can summon courage, follow it backwards and find out more. And if you still manage to crave and sate your cravings then you are certainly made of sterner stuff than I am, in which case these 500 odd words that I’ve expended are moot :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 7.5.05  

Well Said Deepak. I completly agree with you. I have tried what you have said by imagining where the meat came from before it was garnished or served on your plate and trust me, eating it becomes very difficult.

By Blogger suraj, at 9.5.05  

Nicely put, in your comment.

I have been a vegetarian all my life and yet, I see that there is reason in non-vegetarianism, and as much as I would like to feel comfort in my existence as a vegetarian given ample access to vegetarian food, I find that it is necessary for one species to perish as others survive. What I have also learned in the past few years, is that something reasonable is not necessarily correct or moral. Morality may be our very personal standards, but I, like you, Deepak, prefer to give vegetarianism a chance - I will remain vegetarian despite all. To add to all I hear about our hypocrisy and sensitivity about cows, I have, on occasion, heard of such slaughterhouse incidents as you mention, and how horrible and inhumane they are - especially the little detail, that the animal does not know it is to die. When death comes as surprise like in this case, we could be said to live by murder. Have we framed these rules of our society in the belief that no one should kill us? And does that conversely warrant our killing these animals? As much as I may say here, I see that there is no reason other than a personal one to want to be vegetarian.

By Blogger jhgasuhvkjahklnsdlksnlknmlwvlckn, at 9.5.05  

"Firstly, I sense a trace of intellectual snobbery in 'I have strong issues with that particular taboo', and I therefore begin by registering my humble protest."

Protest has been registered. But I fear you didn't understand why I have strong issues with that belief. Apart from the fact that I personally feel if you can kill and eat one of God's animals you can eat another - why indulge in such hierarchy amongst the animal kingdom; as if there isn't enough of it in the human kingdom!

But that's not the only objection I have to it - my own parents and family members avoid beef as a rule. I object to those ppl who go "sheeee" at the thought of having beef, even though they'd relish mutton, or deer, or the meat of the endangered quail (infact go through great lengths to procure it). And try asking them why they don't eat beef and see if they can even come up with the reason their religion forbids it. They can't. And yet they'd blithely go around critising those who do eat beef because of their apparent agnosticism/atheism or because they belong to a different religion. The latter ofcourse is a sin in itself; doesn't matter that you yourself don't know much about your own religion and would happily bend it's rules to suit your own convenience.

As for vegetarianism - I agree with all your arguments. Man began eating meat because of necessity - it's the rule that has existed since ages in jungles. It's how the balance has been maintained. Sure, it's no longer a necessity for humans and perhaps our climate doesn't even require us to need that kind of food intake, but you can't do-away with non-vegetarianism completely.I think what really needs to be worked at is the ensuring that these animals that are reared for slaughter are atleast reared in humane, hygienic conditions....
That said, yes I have seen an heard animals being slaughtered which is why I temporarily gave up meat and why I'm not a hard-core non-vegetarian, but I am still guilty of enjoying my reshmi kebabs...

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 9.5.05  

Hi Suraj, Hi Rajesh, I have to but agree with both you. We are not solving an algebra problem here and so (unfortunately), there are no absolute rights or wrongs.

Hi Geets, Indeed I didn't. You have strong issues with hypocrites - so do I. It wasn't obvious, untill you explained, that your umbrage wasn't directed at harmless believes of an entire community. Point taken, protests retracted :-). I will still show modicum of tolerance to the hypocrites - at least their misplaced sense of religion benefits one species :-)

If non-vegetarianism is inevitable, then even I will love to see the animals suffer less. But I am of the opinion, that death, even when handed on a golden platter, doesn't become any less horrid. Unless I can get myself to think that the act of prematurely ending a life (howsoever gently one does it) is "humane", I am tempted to look at everything else as delusive reasoning to swindle my conscience.

Reshmi Kababs! Dead, tenderized, animal flesh, such refined taste ;-).. ok ok.. just poking fun :), you are welcome to retort with "oh ruminating on cooked hay? do you cud?" ;-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 9.5.05  

With all this hue and cry about vegetarianism we've all completely forgotten to sympathise with the poor "Gau-mata" who couldn't read. I can just imagine the dilemma of the cops when they saw this vehicle plant itself in front of the no-parking sign. To offend the Gods or not to is the question...
And the poor cow who probably wondered why she's being rudely disturbed while masticating and brooding over the increasing concretisation of her feeding grounds! Sigh, here they come again those dratted humans to swat me on my backside, and try and shoo me away!

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 9.5.05  

Thanks for summoning back the spirit in which (at least the second half of) the post was made!

By Blogger Deepak, at 9.5.05  

That was a good quote .. on the cow :)

By Blogger Vijay, at 9.6.05  

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