Days after an appeal to observe Cow Hug Day on February 14 drew widespread ridicule, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government has urged the public to worship cow on the Valentine's Day.
UP Animal Husbandry Minister Dharmpal Singh said the Valentine's Day should be celebrated by offering "gud and roti" to cows and their blessings should be taken.
He said, "Valentine's day, known as love day, on Feb 14 should be celebrated by expressing love and faith towards cows by offering them 'gud and roti'. Besides, their blessing should be taken by touching their head and neck."
Singh further said that "Gavo Vishwasya Matarah" in vedas means "Cow is the mother of the world".
He added, "Therefore, on this day, a resolution should also be taken to serve the mother cow regularly. Cow products are used in every fast, festival, worship and rituals in Indian society. Cow has been paramount not only because of emotional or religious reasons but also because of fulfilling the essential needs of human society. That's why it becomes more necessary that we also express our special love for the mother cow on Feb 14 on Valentine's Day and also make each other aware and motivated."
Singh's statement is the latest element in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hindu Right's push to cow. The statement comes days after the Union government's Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) withdrew its appeal to observe February 14 as Cow Hug Day.
The Hindu Right has long opposed the Valentine's Day which it sees as Western import encroaching on Indian culture. Earlier, Hindu right wing groups have harassed people of opposite gender seen together in public on the Valentine's Day. The withdrawn Cow Hug Day appeal or Singh's comments therefore bring together two issues very dear to the Hindu Right.
Singh also appealed that on the occasion of 'Holika Dahan,' cow dung should be used as it is environment-friendly and reduces air pollution.
Earlier, the AWBI had said the appeal was made because the vedic traditions are almost on the "verge of extinction" due to the progress of western culture.
(With PTI inputs)