Useful reminder

Read what VD Savarkar wrote: Care for cows, do not worship them

The man responsible for the idea of 'hindutva' believed that Muslims would not have defeated Hindus but for cow worship.

Vigyananishtha Nibandh, Parts 1 and 2, was published by Svatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak Prakashan, Mumbai, with no year of publication specified. Chapter 1.5 in it is titled “Gopalan Havey, Gopujan Navhey”, which may be translated as “Care for Cows, Do Not Worship Them”.

The Marathi text was obtained, in PDF form, by Professor DN Jha, and was translated for me by one of my sisters, who is a native speaker of Marathi. She had time only to deal with the first half. She spoke aloud in English while reading the Marathi original and sent me audio recordings. What appears below is my paraphrasing.

This is presented to show that the man responsible for the idea of hindutva, whose present-day followers did not hesitate to murder Mohammad Akhlaq, merely suspected of having killed a calf, did not himself regard the cow as divine. Indeed, he was not convinced even of their utility: he says towards the end of the essay that dogs and horses had served humans better. His animus towards the cow stems from his belief that Muslims would not have defeated Hindus but for cow worship. It is necessary to place all this before those for whom he is an icon.
In an agrarian country like India, it is understandable that the cow should be liked. The cow has been our companion for long. It provides so many materials and its milk has been responsible, together with grain, for the growth of our physical stature. The cow has become almost a member of the families which keep it. The compassionate mind and heart of the Hindu feel gratitude to the cow.

We are dedicated to the cow because it is so useful. It is our sense of gratitude which turns it divine. If you put questions about its divinity to people who worship it, they speak only of how useful it is.

If the cow is worshipped because it is so useful, does it not follow that she should be cared for well to maximise her usefulness? If the cow is to be put to the best use possible, you have to stop worshipping it. When you worship the cow, you lower the standing of mankind.

God is the highest, then comes man, and below man is the animal kingdom. The cow is an animal which has not even as much intelligence as the most stupid human. To consider the cow divine, and thus superior to man, is an insult to man.

The cow eats at one end and expels urine and dung at the other end. When it is tired it lies down in its own filth. Then it uses its tail (which we call beautiful) to spread this filth all over its body. How can a creature which does not understand cleanliness be considered divine?

Why are cow's urine and dung purifying while even the shadow of a man like Ambedkar is defiling? This is one example to show how the intellect of man is destroyed.

If we call the cow divine and its worship our duty, it follows that man is meant for the cow and not the other way around. A utilitarian approach is needed here: take good care of the cow because it is useful. This means that in times of war, when it may become a handicap, there is no reason not to kill it.

If a fortified city of our Hindu nation is attacked and supplies are running out, do we wait endlessly for fresh supplies to be brought? Dedication to the nation makes it the duty of the leader to command the slaughter of cows and the use of their flesh as food. If we persist in worshipping the cow, the only option is for our soldiers to die of starvation and lose the city.

It is no exaggeration that the simple minded and foolish proposition that the cow is meant for worship has harmed the country. History shows that Hindu kingdoms have succumbed because of this belief. Kings have often lost battles because they would not kill cows. Muslims have used cows as shields, confident that Hindus would not harm the animals.

What is true of the cow is true of temples also. When a strong Hindu army attacked Multan, the Muslim king of that place threatened to destroy the revered sun temple. Thereupon the Hindus retreated. The same thing happened when Malharrao Holkar went to liberate the city of Kashi. He withdrew when the Muslims threatened to destroy temples, kill Brahmins and pollute all that was sacred to the Hindus. [The record says that Malharrao only wanted to demolish the Gyanvapi Masjid – MD]

Foolishness led to the sacrifice of the nation for the sake of a few cows and Brahmins and temples. There was nothing wrong in sacrificing them for the sake of the nation. Every Muslim invader was allowed to win battles because the Hindus sought to save cows and temples. Thus the entire country was lost.

The choice is between taking a utilitarian approach – upayuktavadi –and clinging to dogmatism. Religious texts and priests say only that this or that is a sin, or is sacred: they do not tell us why. Science differs from dogmatism in that it explains things and allows us to test reality for right or wrong. Science tells us that the cow should not be killed because it is so useful – but it may be killed if it proves to be detrimental to man's good.


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