The liberal beef vigilantes, an excrescence

Last Updated: Mon, May 29, 2017 12:17 hrs
Beef ban

There is only one thing more disgusting than the sanghis who toss around words like “presstitute”, “sickular”, and “anti-national” – the self-proclaimed liberal who is as depraved, savage, and rabid as they, a beef vigilante to take on the cow vigilantes.

You’ll find them at street corners, gorging on dead cows. You’ll see them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks posting crude selfies of themselves gorging on dead cows or artistically composed shots of dead cows being cooked. Because they believe they are making a statement by gorging on dead cows. They are. The statement is “I am as depraved, savage, rabid, and stupid as the cow vigilante.” But they believe it is, “By gorging on dead cows, I am standing up for human rights.”

And the reason they are a greater excrescence is that the participants of these cow-eating orgies claim to be, believe they are, and otherwise seem more sensible than the saffron brigade.

Yet, there is little difference between the people who attack humans who attack cattle they worship and the people who attack animals that are worshipped as well as not worshipped by humans they despise.

The logic of both groups is flawed.

Both are flouting laws.

Both are proud of their cruelty and bloodlust.

The feed on my social media – photographs of cooked animals – has alerted me to the number of people I held in high regard, the number of people I count as friends celebrating the bloodlust. It leaves me not just embarrassed, but ashamed.

It fills me with the loathing I reserve for the bigot, because these people are bigots too, feeding their liberal street-cred and their sense of self-righteousness.

The government should not get into our kitchens, they say.

The government got into our retinas and fingerprints.

The government got into our bank lockers and wallets.

The government got into our bedrooms, and decided the genders of the people with whom we could fornicate.

The government got into our underwear and decided sanitary pads would be taxed, while sindoor and other nuptial identifiers would not.

And where was the vigour of protest then?

The government of Tamil Nadu was celebrated for working around the Supreme Court’s orders banning the bloodsport jallikattu, and the people called it a victory of their own. It was a victory of cowardice and guile. It was a victory of politics and prejudice. It was a failure of the judiciary.

Now, for the first time, the union government has done something from which more animals than the cow stand to benefit.

The sale of cattle for slaughter – all cattle, not just cows – was banned by the union government based on advice from the animal welfare board, and reacting to the Supreme Court’s orders on a petition by an animal rights activist.

Irrespective of the politics behind the timing of the ban – occurring as it does right before Ramzan – it does save a lot of animals from a terrible fate.

It would have an impact on the leather industry as well as the meat industry.

The regulations also tackle cruelty in transport and treatment of animals. Among the horrors prohibited are the sealing of udders using adhesive tapes or otherwise preventing calves from suckling, preventing animals from eating food, injecting oxytocin into milch animals, and putting ornaments and decorative cloth on animals.

These are baby steps towards a world, animal rights activists hope, where animals are seen as co-habitants of the earth, as lives, and not as sources of food, clothing, and accessories.

To me, a cow is no holier than a crow or cockroach or silkworm, and the life of none of the above is less sacrosanct than mine. I am against the repeated impregnation of cows for milk, and so I won’t win popularity points with the cow worshippers. Drink all the urine you want, but the milk was meant for the calf, not for you.

To think of people who are otherwise well-informed biting into the flesh of animals which did them no harm, to prove a point to the government, gives me a physical ache.

When one is vegan, one learns to pretend to smile at memes. One is forced to endure the same illogical arguments over and over again. One has conversations with atheists who are not against animal sacrifice at mosques, temples, churches, synagogues, and presumably at the holy places of Satanic cults too.

“I know where my meat comes from,” people tell us earnestly, to prove they are informed.

And we must hold ourselves back from saying, “Well, yes, that makes you truly horrible because you’re not stupid; so you’re either blind to the cruelty you cause or proud of it.”

Today, that is what I want to say to every “liberal” who is contributing to animal slaughter, to everyone who thinks eating a dead cow is an affront to the saffron brigade and Modi. No, you don’t offend them any more than they offend you. You might even make them proud of themselves for having turned you into versions of themselves. Because what you are truly insulting is intelligence.

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Nandini is a journalist and humour writer based in Madras. She is the author of Hitched: The Modern Woman and Arranged Marriage. 

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