This Halloween, I will be a cow. Supposedly a slutty nurse, a zombie bride, a playful bunny, all invoke the wrath of testosterone on me. Cow forbid, I wouldn’t want to tempt a poor, innocent, unassuming Indian boy. But to be a cow, ah, that’s another story all together. If I dressed as a cow, I would be worshipped, protected, given privileges. So why not? In a country where a cow is protected more than it’s women, it seems like a fitting costume. (Or wait…am I going to be beaten up for celebrating Halloween? Tough call. Well, I guess as a cow, I should be quite safe anyway.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against cows – I love them, as I love all animals. And if indeed the beef ban is meant to be for environmental benefits, you will see me raising my hand in support. But when it takes the dangerously imposing turn that the ban has, I cry foul. So why not, I ask, place a restriction on killing snakes too? Why not let them roam freely around – after all, they are considered holy and worshipped too? Why the hypocrisy?
It is obvious where this extreme imposition comes from – and that has nothing to do with the holy cow. It is about the show of power – of who is in charge, from people who someone has convinced, “rightly” hold that power. Those who are from different faiths protest – some in the name of retaining the sovereignty of the state, others, simply because it is affordable meat. Those who never consumed beef, remain silent, most turning a blind eye to the events that do not concern them in the first place. When one finds himself on the side of the power holder, one chooses not to speak up. That’s the law of CYA (Cover Your Ass).
From the brutal murder of the Muslim man who allegedly consumed beef, to the attack on the parliament member who served beef at a party, to the raiding of the Kerala government quarters in Delhi, the atrocities in the name of the animal continues. And several jobless, impressionable thugs that exist here in India, jump at the opportunity to exercise power. A Saudi official is said to have brutally raped a maid in his quarters, but the Delhi police had the power only to raid the Kerala government quarters, so they did. This warped sense of power and how to exert that power in any given circumstance is quickly making India a laughing stock the world over. Who cares about larger issues like power shortages, poverty, inequality? At least our cows are protected. What a massive step towards development!
So anyway, this Halloween, I will be a cow. Because in some twisted way, I might find myself powerful too.
Written by Divya Susan Varkey, Intercultural Communications Trainer and Practictioner