Uttar Pradesh minister Dharmpal Singh on Tuesday celebrated Valentine's Day as cows, dubbing it "Cow Love Day".
Singh marked the Cow Love Day by offering jaggery and rotis to cows and said that they should be treated as mothers. He holds the Animal Husbandry Department in the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in UP.
Singh said, "Today, Valentine's Day is celebrated all over the world. There are many relations like mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, and one’s love should be expressed. We have three mothers -- our mother, who gives us birth, 'gau mata' (cow) and Bharat Mata. First love should be for our mother, then 'gau mata' (cow) and then Bharat Mata 'ko pranaam karna chahiye' (should be saluted)."
Singh said there is no animal like a cow in the world whose “mal-mutra” (stool and urine) is "pious".
Singh's celebration of Valentine's Day with cows is the latest in the BJP's and the Hindu Right's push for cows and opposition for Valentine's Day. Recently, Union government's Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had issued an appeal to mark Valentine's Day as Cow Hug Day. The appeal was withdrawn after ridicule online.
The Hindu Right opposes the Valentine's Day which it sees as a Western encorachment of Indian values. Hardline groups such as Bajrang Dal often harass people of opposite genders in public places on Valentine's Day. Therefore, the celebration of Valentine's Day with cows brings together two issues dear to the BJP and Hindu Right.
Singh urged people to celebrate "cow love day" on Valentine's Day.
He said, "They (people) should go to a 'gaushala' (cow shelter home), feed roti to a cow and pray to her. Even a simple visit to 'Gaushala' can keep tension away as there is an emotional connect to it. By entering 'Gaushala' the door to development opens. There are no such animals (like cows) in the world whose 'mal-mutra' (stool-urine) is pious. Its dung and urine are also pious. In cow's dung lives Lakshmi."
Such claims are also in line with the trend of recent years in which claims have been made about cow and products, ranging from cow uring being said to have medical qualities and cow dung having anti-radiation properties.
Singh had on Saturday appealed to people to celebrate February 12 by expressing love and faith towards cows by offering them gud and rotis.
Besides, people should seek blessings of cows by touching their head and neck, the minister had said.
"Gavo Vishwasya Matarah in vedas means the cow is the mother of the world. Therefore, on this day, one should resolve to serve the mother cow regularly," he had said.
Singh also said cow dung should be used on the occasion of 'Holika Dahan’ as it is environment-friendly and reduces air pollution.
(With PTI inputs)