The Bihu festive has gripped the state of Assam and today on the second day of Bihu, the state is celebrating ‘Goru Bihu’, Goru here refers to the cow. The celebration of Goru Bihu is centred on the cows, and people today across the state take their cows and cattle’s to a nearby river or pond to give them a bath. Cows play an important role in the livelihood of people in Assam.
Not just the relationship is based on livelihood; people in Assam consider ‘Goru’ or cow as their close friend. Cows are treated as family member by the Assamese people and are also regarded as pious.
This is a fact which confronts the narrative peddled by a section of leftist and Marxist intellectuals of India who over the years kept ranting that the cultural importance of cow is only confined to the northern part of India which they often refer to as ‘Hindi-speaking cow belt.”
This set of intellectuals have always attempted to spin a narrative that apart from the Northern part of India, cow holds no significance in the Northeastern region as according to them, the northeastern region has a distinct culture from the rest of India.
However, there is yet another fact that despite cow being dearest and scared to Assamese society; incidents of cow slaughtering, smuggling are rampant in the state.
There have been several incidents of not just slaughtering cows but also throwing beef near Hindu temples in Assam disrespecting the sentiments of Assamese people in the state.
Imagine the agony which Assamese society faces, the same cow which holds greater importance in Assamese culture and is considered as a friend is being slaughtered across the state simply to satisfy the fooding needs.
The government also has not done enough to value the sentiments of Assamese society. Though under Article 48 of directive state principle policy, slaughtering of cows is prohibited in Assam, the government still permits slaughtering cows if fit for slaughter certificate is presented.
The question is why something as culturally important as a cow is being allowed to slaughter under certain terms and conditions? Why putting a complete prohibition on cow slaughtering is not an option to explore?
Our liberals who import their ideas from the west often oppose the ban of slaughtering of cows and call it an attack on the freedom to eat, but they are the same who had welcomed the ban orders on dog slaughtering in Nagaland.
But in the case of cows, they oppose it tooth and nail and call it against a particular religion. The question is whether the freedom to eat necessarily requires someone to eat a cow which holds significance in Assamese and the whole Indic culture?
The Hindus not only in Assam, but in the whole of India continues to see them in a state of helplessness when they see the dearest cow that they consider as a mother, friend, and daughter is being slaughtered simply for the food needs of some.
Despite the cow being the cultural symbol of India, we have shockingly become the largest exporter of beef in the world with a 20% share in the whole world.
It is tragic for the people of Assam that today when they are celebrating ‘Goru Bihu’ honouring our friend cow, there are also some in the same land who continues to slaughter our friend ‘Goru’ to satisfy their thirst for food