April 03, 2020
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The Milk Of Human Kindness

The Milk Of Human Kindness
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The herd never had it so good. At a time when the sun is blazing, there is, surprisingly, enough fodder and water for it. And then, there are garlands and aarti to boot. For all this, the four-legged living ‘deities’ have only the vhp to thank. The international Hindu organisation inaugurated its Gau Raksha Samiti campaign at Kerala’s southern outpost of Neyyattinkara, bordering the bjp stronghold of Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu last week. Amid chants, the vhp stormtroopers bade the herdsmen to take back the cattle on way to the Kerala slaughterhouses. It was all a peaceful affair with a sizeable police presence ensuring discipline.

Any other place in beefy Kerala, the campaign would have invited sneers and protests. But not Neyyattinkara where the people watch the trauma of the cows’ last trek to slaughterhouses. "Not even water on the way. If an animal faints, it is left to die," says a vhp activist. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, truckloads of cattle arrive at Kaleekavila, a border village. From there, the kilometres-long trudge to the checkpost begins. There are several Neyyattinkaras on the Kerala border, which the Gau Raksha Samiti intends to besiege in the next phase of its "struggle". The vhp is awaiting the government’s response before announcing the dates. When asked if the government was aware of the cruelty to animals, CM A.K. Antony said he would examine the issue.

But for the Sangh parivar, the issue is one of reaching out—from Nagercoil to Neyyattinkara and well into the Kerala heartland. Earlier, the trishul failed to create a ripple. The bovine show might click. The RSS, with 5,000 shakhas, is impatient. It wants to bust Kerala’s bipolar politics—with Ram, trishul or Gaumata. But all the Hindutva efforts to occupy the centrestage have been in vain till now. So, the strategy now is to close in from all sides.

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