At a time the issue of cow slaughter is generating much heat, the RSS has reiterated its position against cow slaughter, claiming that the issue isn’t just religious but also related to “scientific” aspects.
“Cow-based farming has been the backbone of our agriculture for centuries. That is why cow slaughter was banned even by some Muslim rulers, including Akbar. The manifesto of the first struggle for Independence fought under the leadership of Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857 also included a ban on cow slaughter,” RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya told The Hindu.
He sought to make a case for stopping cow slaughter on “environmental” and “medicinal” grounds, apart from the religious one. “The question isn’t religious only. Research shows cow-based agriculture is environmentally better while chemical fertilizers harm the soil. Dung and urine of cows of Indian breed also have medicinal value, just as tulsi plant,” he said.
Organisations inspired by the Sangh have been claiming that there are scientific benefits from cow protection and looking into possible uses of products from the cow, ranging from idols of deities made up of the five products of the cow ( panchgavya ) to colas.
This pitch for cow protection appears more moderate than the recent shrillness heard at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, where a Muslim man was lynched on suspicion of having eaten beef at home.
Local BJP leaders were also accused of making provocative statements, though Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh made statements to calm the polarised atmosphere. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, speaking at a rally in Bihar, asked people to ignore provocative statements, urging Hindus and Muslims to fight poverty rather than fight each other.
In 2012, the BJP’s Uttarakhand poll manifesto had promised encouragement to the use of filtered cow urine in the State, saying it could be used to cure many diseases.
In 2009, the Sangh was involved in the Vishwa Mangal Gau Gram Yatra that went through villages across India and also collected signatures for an agenda to save and protect the cow. There is a Sangh-related Gau Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra (Cow Science Research Centre) in Nagpur that conducts research on “cow science”.