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History of cow protection in India with focus on the modern period.
The special status of cow in India has a long history which goes back at least to the vedic period.
Notwithstanding the various claims that beef eating was prevalent in the vedic society,there is no doubt that cow had acquired a special place in the minds of vedic Aryans.
Cows were donated to priests who conducted Yajnas and goddesses were praised by comparing them with the cow.
The cow had become one of the most common vedic symbols for maternity and fertility and its products came to occupy a central place in various vedic yajnas.
With time, the significance of cow got magnified and we see, between 5th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D, many texts alluding to the inviolability of the cow.
Arthashastra mentions that cow slaughter was illegal. Manu Smriti too lists govadha or cow slaughter as a crime.
The two great epics also reiterate similar views about the cow. One passage in Mahabharata states that one who kills a cow lives as many years in hell as there are hairs on the cow's body. In Anushasan parva, a long section is devoted to inculcating worship of cow.
Both Ramayana and Mahabharata describe the divine qualities of Kamdhenu, the cow belonging to rishi Vashishtha.
Mahabharata mentions another cow Nandini whose milk is said to make men immortal.

The doctrine of the cow's sanctity is well elaborated in the Puranas too.
Veneration for cow had increased further by the medieval times. Although the stages through which the idea of the cow's sanctity spread are not very clear, there is little doubt that the notion of cow's sacredness had become very widespread and deep rooted by medieval period.
However, this notion was challenged and attacked with an unprecedented severity with the arrival of Muslim invaders who inspired by their iconoclastic spirit not only destroyed temples and idols but also took to slaughtering cows on a massive scale.
While for Muslim invaders, these slaughters were a way to spite the vanquished Hindus and assert the superiority of their own faith, the Hindus saw this as an assault on the very roots of their Hindu identity. As a result, they became even more attached to their Gau mata.
Gau raksha or cow protection became a matter of highest importance.
It became a major symbol of Hindu fightback and resistance against Islamic rule.

Many prominent Hindu kings, across geographies and centuries, were seen asserting their credentials as protectors of the cow.
Kings of Vijayanagara empire which was described as “a Hindu bulwark against Muhammadan conquests”, took the title of Gobrahamana Pratipalanacharya, or the protector of cows and Brahmins.
Even for Shivaji, cow protection was an issue of utmost importance.
However, the task of cow protection wasn't limited to Hindus kings. In a few cases, pragmatic Muslim rulers made laws for cow protection to garner the support of Hindus.
Akbar, for instance, made cow slaughter an offence punishable by death.
As the Mughal empire started weakening, Hindu powers such as Marathas, Sikhs and Dogras replaced Muslim rulers and made cow slaughter illegal. It became a crime that often invited severe punishment such as life imprisonment, as in case of Kashmir and death, as in case of Punjab
In general,the decline of the Muslim power in India resulted in political and legal framework becoming more favorable to the cause of cow protection. However, the rise of the British power acted as a check on the this trend as new set of complications arose from this development
In the pre British phase, where the contours of the cow protection issue were defined by expansion of Muslim power and population, the conflicts around cow protection were resolved by direct conflicts or negotiations between the 2 conflicting parties viz. Hindus and Muslims.
However, the new reality of British rule meant that Hindus not only had to deal with the Muslim opposition but also had to seek the support of their new political masters who were going to act as arbiters on the disputes surrounding cow protection.
The British policy towards cow slaughter was ambiguous and inconsistent from the start. While they agreed to continue the ban on cow slaughter in some of their treaties with Indian rulers, they refused to do so in some other cases.
In 1802, the British refused the offer of Scindia, the ruler of Gwalior, to cede more territory to the English if they agreed to a cow slaughter ban in areas already ceded to them.
However, they agreed to temporarily continue such a ban when they annexed Punjab.
It was in Punjab where first organized effort for cow protection was seen during Kuka movement.
Before going into specifics of this episode, it'd be useful to take a look at the attitudes and laws regarding cow protection prevailing in Punjab before start of the British rule.
Punjab had a long history of existence of strong anti cow slaughter sentiment and laws.
Moved by the widespread cow slaughters by Muslims, the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak had lamented, "why cow and the pundits are suffering?"
Bhai Gurdas, the original scribe of Guru Granth sahib said that the Muslims "demolished temples and raised mosques and committed sin by killing the cow and the poor."
Guru Gobind Singh also raised his sword for the protection of the cow.
He invoked the goddess' help in his task
"to end the cow slaughter from the world."
As Sikhs gained power,cow slaughter was banned in Punjab. As per one writer, by the start of British rule,
"The Muslims in Punjab also had not used cow meat for about three-fourth of a century."
However, this status quo favorable to cow protection was upset as the British begin to gain control of Punjab.
A controversy erupted in Lahore in 1846 when a European artilleryman attacked and injured 3-4 cows from a herd which was passing that way.
This lead to huge protests. Many people were arrested.
2 protesters were executed and 2 others were externed from British territories.

The European soldier who caused the trouble was let off with a warning,
" to be more careful how he used his sword in the future."
As at Lahore, the arrival of Europeans at Amritsar led to the killing of kine, and there were several complaints about it.
To pacify the rising anger of the people, the Governor General of Punjab, in 1847, prohibited slaughter in Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs.
However, this concession was available only in Amritsar and there was no prohibition in other parts of Punjab.
Even this concession was withdrawn as the British completed the annexation of Punjab in 1849.
Governor General Lord Dalhausie issued an order which said, “Nobody would be allowed to interfere in the faith and tradions of a neighbour.”
It was perceived by Hindu- Sikhs as a license for cow slaughter and open sale of cow meat at every place.
For Amritsar, a Board of Administration ruled that the prohibition, which had formerly been maintained out of deference to a Sikh sovereign had to be removed and that in every large town, a spot for the shambles and butchers’ shops was to be appointed.
There have been suggestions that the British policy towards with respect to cow slaughter was an attempt by British to please the Muslims who not only formed a numerical majority in the province but had also sided with British during the 2nd Anglo Sikh war.
Another explanation says that since the British like Muslims were consumers of beef, they were more likely to favor the Muslim position on the issue .
Yet another theory is that these measures were part of a deliberate ploy to drive a wedge between Mulsims and non Muslims.
Whatever the reasons, these measures led to widespread resentment among the Hindus and Sikhs. As cow slaughters increased after the lifting of prohibition, Amritsar became a trading center for raw skins where not only cows but also bulls were slaughtered.
Soon a riot, on the issue of cow slaughter, broke out between Muslims and non Muslims. Subsequently, many cases relating to cow slaughter reached the courts which decided these cases in favor of the Muslims.
This lead to further resentment among Hindus and Sikhs
As per M M Ahluwalia,
“The innocent, illiterate and religious-minded people of the Punjab found a new picture of ugliness and loss in the holy city of Amritsar which completely differed from the picture of those days when Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his successors ruled Lahore.”
The anger against cow slaughter kept building and by 1869 an explosive situation had been created.
Lt. Governor, Punjab wrote in an 1869 note “Like the meat stricken cartridges, the protest against the cow slaughter can engulf the entire country in violence just in a month."
Around the same time, the Kuka movement was launched by Baba Ram Singh who was bitterly opposed to the British subjugation of Punjab. He was also very angered by the British policies which had brought back cow slaughter to Punjab.
Baba Ram Singh said,
"These butchers have come from a foreign land (London). They have set up slaughterhouses. I am deeply aggrieved at the killing of the cows. Oh Sikhs of the Lord, time has come to sacrifice our lives."
In June 1871, a band of 10 Kukas, also known as Namdharis, carried out an attack on a slaughterhouse in Amritsar. A fight ensued in which many butchers were killed. Kukas were able to free around 100 cows in this attack before fleeing away in the darkness of night.
As the news of the attack spread, the butchers were terrified and shut their businesses. The govt. launched an investigation at the end of which 4 people were awarded death penalty and 2 were externed to Andaman and Nicobar.
1 month later, the Kukas carried out a similar attack on a slaughterhouse situated near a gurudwara in Raikot. 3 persons were killed and 9 injured in this attack. However, after a few days the slayers of the butchers were tracked down and many of them were executed after trials.
After the executions of Kukas involved in Amritsar and Raikot incidents, the whole sect was filled with anger which was directed towards not only the British but also states of Nabha, Jind and Patiala who had helped to track down the heroes of the Raikot slaughterhouse case.
A band of Kukas now decided to come out in the open and abandon the strategy of carrying out attacks in the dark of the night. It was decided that a group of martyrs would be organised to carry out an attack on the princely state of Maler Kotla.
Baba Ram Singh, the leader of Kukas advised against such an attack as he thought that the Kukas weren't strong and prepared enough to take on the might of the British government.
However, the group lead by Heera Singh and Lehna Singh decided to go ahead with the plan.
Nearly 125 Kukas attacked the palace in Malerkotla on 15th January 1872. In a severe fight with state forces, Kukas lost 7 men while 8 men from the state troops were killed. It was a valiant fight by Kukas given the fact that they had no guns and a very limited supply of swords.
Seeing no possibility of capturing guns,money or horses from the palace, the Kukas decided to leave Maler Kotla.
However, as they were retreating , they were captured by troops of Patiala state near a village named Rur.
From there, the captured Kukas were shifted to sherpur.
The deputy commissioner DC Cowan, alarmed by the happenings in Maler Kotla , called in 750 army troops and 9 cannon at Malerkotla.
When captured Kukas arrived there from Sherpur, they were blown away by the cannons as thousands of people from Malerkotla watched the spectacle.
The British empire came down heavily on the Kukas. Baba Ram Singh was arrested and deported out of Punjab.
This was followed by a series of repressive measures and in a short time the Kuka movement was made ineffective and powerless.
The bravery of Kukas generated a strong sentiment in favor of cow protection.
However,the Kuka approach also the displayed the dangers of a violent confrontation with the government.
Probably that's why cow protection agitations of 1880s adopted a different approach.
This new approach consisted of 3 main items.
1. Mobilizing supporters through propaganda activities such as speeches and pamphlets.
2. Formation of voluntary associations to establish an organizational base.
3. Sending signature petitions to govt. demanding ban on cow slaughter.
This template created by the Swami Dayanand was used repeatedly in cow protection agitations of 1880s.
Swami Dayanand was undoubtedly the most influential figure of the movement who, more than anyone else, was responsible for turning cow protection into an all India campaign.
Arya Samaj, established by him in 1875, had a reformist orientation. However,on the issue of cow protection it agreed with the traditionalists.
In 1882, Swami Dayannd along with orthodox Hindus who had been his opponents founded the 1st Gaurakshini sabha in Punjab.
The main activities of the sabhas included rescuing wandering cows and giving them shelter in gaushalas and collecting signatures from people to demand for ban on cow slaughter.
The Arya samaj branches also actively supported these sabhas in their cow protection work.
Arya Samaj not only assumed leadership of cow protection movement in Punjab but also took the movement to other parts.The Arya samajis used the printing press effectively to disseminate the message of cow protection faster and wider.
Soon, many Gaurakshini Sabhas were established in various provinces. These sabhas were particularly effective in Northwestern provinces and Oudh ( later United Provinces), Bihar and the Central provinces.
A govt. report in 1882 noted the key role played by Swami Dayanand in spread of the movement. It mentioned the formation of a committee formed under the Swami's guidance for collecting signatures to demand a ban on cow slaughter and had raised Rs 6-7 lakhs in Calcutta..
Whether such committee was actually formed or not, there is no doubt that Swami Dayanand was instrumental in popularizing the idea of legislative action by building public pressure to limit or ban cow slaughter.
On the ideological level, Swami Dayanand, with his 'back to Vedas' motto, defended cow protection by arguing that veneration towards the cow had its origin in the Vedas and hence cow slaughter should be banned.
In addition to religious arguments, he also provided economic arguments in defence of cow protection.
In his pamphlet Gaukarunanidhi, he argued that cows needed to be saved because shortage of dairy products was causing physical degeneration of the Aryan race.
He also claimed that while a dead cow could feed 20 people, a living cow and her offsprings in their lives could provide sufficient food to feed 1 lakh people in a day to show the economic benefits of protecting the cow instead of killing it.
Another important cow protection activist in this period was Gopalrao Hari Bhide, a lawyer and social reformer from Nagpur,who advocated cow protection mainly for its economic benefits. He established the Nagpur Gaurakshini sabha which had it own press and newspaper.
The Nagpur sabha was said have been responsible for reducing the no. of cows slaughtered annually in Nagpur from 16000 in 1887 to 500 in 1892. On its 2nd anniversary in 1889, the sabha organised a procession that included 20000 people and 452 cattle purchased from local butchers.
While Punjab and Central provinces were the early centers of cow protection activity, It was the Bhojpuri speaking region of current day Eastern UP and Western Bihar, where the movement had its deepest impact.
It's here, particularly in districts of Azamgarh, Ballia and Ghazipur in UP and in Saran and Shahbad in Bihar where the cow agitation acquired its greatest social depth and was most assertive and aggressive.
The trigger for spread of cow protection movement in UP came from an 1886 judgement of Allahabad high court which said that the cow was not a sacred object as defined in section 295. Hence the Muslims who slaughtered cow could not be held guilty of inciting religious violence
Even before this ruling, the British policy towards cow slaughter had been perceived by Hindus as disrespect to their religious convictions.
In Bhojpuri speaking areas, which came under British control at the start of the 19th cent, a ban on cow slaughter had existed for long.
As per some claims, the ban went back all the way to Akbar's time. However, in 1806, just 5 years after East India Company had taken over the area, clashes over the issue took place in the town of Mau as it wasn't clear if the old ban on cow slaughter was still effective in town
In 1860s, tensions arose again due to an official order. In 1863, Azamgarh magistrate declared that Muslims were free to kill cows behind closed doors.The order was reversed after protests by Hindus but in 1865, sanction was given for establishing a slaughter house in the town
Yet again in 1885, the Azamgarh magistrate, while convicting 3 Muslims of Mau for public killing of cow, expressed his opinion that govt. order of 1808 banned the slaughter of kine for Qurbani (sacrifice) alone and not for food.
To Hindus, this position was not acceptable and they argued that the ban had been imposed for whole year and not just 1-2 occasions. They drew attention to the old custom sanctioned even by the Muslim rulers and which had been the basis of historic peace between Hindus & Muslims
However, the govt. in probably trying to promote Muslim interests against the background of what it perceived to be the rise of Hindu nationalism, paid no attention to the Hindu arguments.
Naturally, this caused a feeling among Hindus that the govt. was siding with the Muslims.
Given this background,the 1886 high court order mentioned earlier, brought a fresh wave of anger and resentment among the Hindus and they concluded that an organised effort was required for protection of the cow.
Eastern UP, which was already witnessing a build up of Hindu consciousness through the Nagri movement to make Hindi the official language, provided the favorable conditions for the growth of a cow protection movement driven by an urge to protect Hindu interests.
Soon, Gaurakshini Sabhas were established. In Allahabad alone, 3 sabhas were set up.
Sriman Swami was the main leader of the Allhabad sabha.
He traveled extensively to spread the message of cow protection and addressed nearly 50 meetings in 1888 in UP alone.
Cow Protection movement proved highly successful, and organizing efforts swept the urban centers of U.P. between 1888 and 1890. Besides Allahabad, In the first year, activities on behalf of the cow were reported in Kanpur, Lucknow, Ghazipur, Benares, Aligarh, Pratapgarh.
Extensive touring by leaders such as Sriman Swamii also resulted in the movement building up of strong organisation not only in the urban centers but also the rural areas of East UP and West Bihar.
By 1891-1892 the center of support had shifted emphatically to the countryside, in particular to the rural eastern districts of Ghazipur, Ballia, Azamgarh and Gorakhpur. By 1893, the cow protection movement was almost entirely based in these rural areas.
Gaurakshini sabhas were set up in these places and within a short period, they acquired the status of a powerful social institution that could command resources and obedience from its followers for the cause of cow protection.
For collection of funds, the sabhas came up with an innovative mechanism named 'chutki' where at each meal a pinch(chutki) of food per member of the household was set aside for the sabha. These household contributions of grain were given to a local agent who converted it to cash
This money was then passed up the hierarchy to a sabhapati ( who was responsible for 40-50 villages) and then further up.
The money was used for maintaining Gaushalas, purchasing cattle headed for slaughter and to pay the traveling preachers who held meetings in the area.
Besides chutki, the supporters of the sabha in certain occupations were used for collection of funds through collection boxes that were prominently displayed by moneylenders, traders, liquor vendors etc.
The chutki collection agents were also responsible for enforcement. With Muslims, a stick and carrot approach was adopted where the agents would persuade butchers to sell their cattle. In some cases butchers were offered rent free land if they gave up cattle trade.
Coercive techniques such as boycott of Muslims were also adopted, especially to prevent them from performing cow sacrifice during the festival of Baqr Id. Sometimes large crowds would make Muslims sign an agreement or iqrarnama where they promised to not to do qurbani of cow.
The measures against Hindus who broke the rules were equally strict. This is evident from the case of one Lakshman Paure who had sold a bullock to a butcher.
The sabha directed a social and economic boycott of Paure till the time he got back the bullock.
In another case, a sabha 'court' fined one Sita Ram Ahir for impounding a cow to govt. pound which was then sold to a butcher. When he refused to pay the fine, he was outcasted for 24 days and various religious penalties were also applied.
The messaging of gaurakshini sabhas was focused on the divinity of the cow. In many meetings, a picture of a cow was placed on the stage and the audience would be told that the cow was the universal mother since everyone consumed cow's milk.
Therefore, killing cow was matricide.
People were encouraged to establish sabhas for ensuring the protection of their mother. The presence of locally influential figures such as zamindars was used to draw larger crowds.
Traditional fairs such as Allahabad's Magh Mela were used for disseminating the message.
For communicating with members, a system of Patias or snowball letters was used. These Patias were to be forwarded by recipient to as many people as specified in the Patia whose contents ranged from cow protection propaganda to specifics such as the date of a meeting or campaign.
An example of a typical Patia:
"This Patia comes from the world of cow. It brings an entreaty to the brother Hindus.The religion of the cow is being destroyed.....we entreat our Hindu brothers to watch over the cow in every village and every house."
As the strength of the sabhas increased, East UP and West Bihar were infected with the call of cow protection.
The highest intensity of Sabha activities was witnessed in Azamgarh district where the sabha activites had started much later than in Ballia and Ghazipur.
In January 1893, villagers near the town of Mau rescued a herd of cattle from butchers. When Police arrived to rescue the cattle, a crowd of nearly 200 Hindus drove the cattle to various parts of Ballia district.
Conflicts over cow slaughter increased in the following months. In May 1893, 2 sabha meetings were held in the district. In the 2nd meeting a demand was put forward that there should be end to qurbani and that action be taken to stop the qurbanis.
In such a tense atmosphere, a govt. notice, like so often before, made the situation worse. The order of June 1893, released a few days before Baqr Id, directed that Muslims of all villages where there was danger of disturbance should inform if they intended to perform qurbani.
A total of 426 Muslims gave notice of their intention to perform qurbani. Many of these included those from villages where traditionally qurbanis was not being performed. The Hindus viewed this as undue official encouragement to cow slaughter.
The Gaurakshini sabhas decided to take things in its own hands to stop the performance of qurbanis on Baqr Id. Consequently crowds of thousands of men including locals and men from Ballia and Ghazipur district gathered in Azamgarh on the Baqr Id day.
As they moved around from one location to another in a bid to stop qurbanis and release cows, large scale riots broke out in various locations.
Many people died and 35 cases of unlawful assembly and rioting were filed in Azamgarh district alone.
The network of Gaurakshini sabhas was disbanded after the excessive violence of Baqr Id in 1893 and the movement was effectively suppressed. However, the spirit of cow protection could not be banished.
It appeared in the region again as a major force after the riots of 1912-13 in Ayodhya. There was a strong revival of demand for cow protection. This culminated in a massive outbreak of violence in the Shahbad district of Bihar in 1917.
The scale of conflict in Shahbad was much bigger than that of 1893 riots. Many observers described violence as "unprecedented since 1857."
What began as a conflict in villages of Piru and Ibrahimpur escalated into a huge conflict that engulfed a vast area.
Officials reported a war like situation and acknowledged that an area of nearly 150 square miles had passed out their control for a few days. Normalcy could be brought back only with strong military reinforcements.
Official figures reported 41 dead and 176 injured. The riots had affected 124 villages in Shahbad district while 28 villages were affected in Gaya. More than 2000 people were sent up for trials.
The cow protection movement that swept through east UP and Bihar from 1880s to 1917 was socially most broad based Hindu campaign till that point of time. This is evident from the social base that powered the movement.
The initiative for establishing gaurakshini sabhas in many cases came from petty bourgeois elements such as teachers, lawyers, clerks and govt officials who had links with both village and the town. Another critical group supporting the movement consisted of Swamis & Sanyasis.
However, according to the officials, the main supporters of the movement were the great Hindu trading and banking class.
According to A Macdonell, Lt. governor of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, " Marwaris were the supporters and formentors of the agitation."
Anther crucial group supporting the movement consisted of zamindars who were locally influential and thus their presence lent respectability to the sabhas.
This group was also crucial in terms of providing muscle power to the sabhas by mobilizing the men at their disposal.
Jagdeo Narain Singh, a Bais Rajput who was the president of Ballia Gaurakshini sabha and has been described as "the soul of the movement" in eastern Azamgarh was one such figure and payed a crucial role in marshalling people in various conflict situations.
The zamindar class was drawn mainly from 3 caste groups viz. Brahmins, Rajputs and Bhumihars. The sanyasis and traders mentioned earlier also belonged to the upper castes. Combined together, they represented the typical caste base behind the various Hindu revival movements.
However, what provided extra social depth to the movement in east UP and Bihar was the active involvement of non dvija cultivating castes such as Ahirs or Gwalas, Kurmis and Koeris. The militancy and independent action of these groups was evident in 1890-93 phase itself.
However, it was the 1917 showdown in Shahbad which fully displayed their strength an autnomous actions.
As per data of 7 cases ( out of total 140) 560 men were sent for trial in Shahbad. In these cases, 127 Ahirs/ gwalas were convicted. This shows how prominent their role was.
It's worth noting that the reappearance of cow protection activities after 1910 in Patna division coincided with the rise of Gwala movement which saw Ahirs organizing themselves in quest for a higher social status.
Ahirs accumulated a considerable amount of literature to show their Kshatriya origins. In many caste meetings of Gwalas, herding of cows was mentioned as an important task.We can see how even independent of gaurakshini sabhas, cow protection was an important goal for Ahirs.
Seen in that light, the active participation of Ahirs along with Kurmis and koeris ( Who too were striving for a higher social status) in the cow protection movement in the region during the 1880- 1917 period was not at all surprising.
We end the description of the campaign in E UP and Bihar with the observation that it was the most potent of all cow protection agitations. It expanded the social base of the emerging Hindu nationalist movement.
It also exhibited the sentimental pull of the cow symbol and its power to unify diverse sections of the Hindu society and with great vigor and force it reiterated the age old fact that cow protection was an essential element of the Hindu identity.
The period from 1880 to 1920 saw intense cow protection efforts all over North and Central India. Many a time, these efforts triggered communal clashes. In 1886, disturbances were reported on Baqr Id in many cities of Punjab. There were also riots in Bombay & Junagadh in 1890s
Riots broke out near Calcutta in 1909 when a cow was sacrificed publicly. In 1912 rioting was triggered in Ayodhya. The issue of cow protection kept arousing tensions for next 3 years in Ayodhya.
Kartarpur village in Saharanpur ( West UP ) saw intense riots in 1917 when the Hindus of the village demanded to have a complete ban on sacrifices during Id. In the legal action that followed, 142 Hindus were given sentences ranging from 2 year imprisonment to death.
As MK Gandhi agreed to support and lead the Khilafat movement in 1919, a temporary unity between Hindus and Muslims was witnessed. In this period, the violent incidents related to cow issue were reduced considerably.
The following period leading to independence was dominated by Gandhi. He continued to use the love for mother cow in his imagined vision of the Indian nation.
However, his version of love for cow did not allow any aggression for the cause of cow protection.
As was typical him, his stress was on changing the hearts of Muslim community through persuasion although the long history of Hindu Muslim conflicts centered around the cow issue suggested that the effectiveness of such an approach was dubious.
The impact of Gandhi's views on seen in Congress party's articulation of the cow slaughter issue.
The issue of cow protection was too useful politically to be given up
However, now it had to be raised within the framework of Hindu Muslim unity.
This approach was exemplified by the slide show presentations by Chittu Pandey of Ballia in 1930-31.These slide shows tried to draw the onus of cow slaughter away from Indian Muslims by giving details of cow slaughtering in foreign countries.
Another Congress leader Narbada Prasad Singh said that 7 lakhs cows were killed every year in India: 1 lakh for Muslims, 2 for the British and 4 for dyeing cloth. He concluded by remarking that if Indians stopped using foreign cloth they would win swaraj and save seven lakhs cows
Other speakers tried to win over Muslims by praising the ‘enlightenment’ of past Muslim rulers regarding cow slaughter. Yet another Congress leader Sahib Singh went to extent of saying that English had actually taught Muslims to slaughter cows.
As we can see, the overall Congress approach was to downplay the Muslim indulgence in cow slaughter by attacking the government.
While these attempts had no impact on longstanding Muslim view on cow slaughter, they worked to constrain spectrum of actions available to Hindus.
The other Hindu party , Hindu Mahasabha mentioned cow protection among its main objectives. Since 1920, cow protection had been adopted into the party's sangathan narrative but like Congress, Hindu Mahasabha too doesn't seem to have created any grassroots mobilization.
In summary the vigor and intensity created in cow protection movement by organisations such as Gaurakshini Sabhas was lost to a great extent after 1920. As a result, in 1947 on the eve of independence the demand for a law to ban cow slaughter remained unfulfilled.
However, the situation had been different in princely states. Hindu and Sikh ruled states took great efforts to limit slaughter of all domestic animals. Licenses for selling meat were very limited. The few who received license had to set shop in locations far from main markets.
Slaughtering was restricted to set times, usually early in the morning and was subject to a substantial fees . The restrictions used to get stricter on festival days.
For instance, in Jodhpur no Muslims were allowed to take out a goat in the bazar during any religious celebration
Cattle slaughter in all Hindu and Sikh ruled states was banned. Killing of cows and male bovines attracted hefty fines and long jail terms : 7 years in Patiala and Kashmir; 6 years in Nabha.
Even import of beef from British India was not allowed in many states.
In Muslim ruled states, general approach was that of no restrictions on cow slaughter. In Bhopal, Rampur, Bahawalpur and Khairpur 100s of cattle were killed annually on Baqr Id .Many more were killed for food.
However in a few states such as Tonk had banned cow slaughter.
Nawab Hamidullah of Bhopal seriously contemplated a scheme for turning his state into a major supplier of beef to the Indian Army. Hamidullah is reported to have said that he didn't mind at all being "an arch cow slaughterer."
After independence, many had hoped that at long last a national ban on cow slaughter would become a reality. However, secularists such as Nehru and Ambedkar managed to put ban on cow slaughter to list of legally not enforceable directive principles.
Nehru kept resisting to demand for making a central law banning cow slaughter by hiding behind the argument that cow slaughter ban was a state subject. However, despite Nehru's antipathy, many Congress ruled states brought anti cow slaughter laws in 1950s.
Meanwhile, demands for a central law were getting stronger and there seemed to be widespread support such a law in the country.
One prominent figure who built a strong cow protection campaign after independence was Swami Karpatri Ji.
He had been involved with the cause of cow protection movement since 1947. He played a key role in getting slaughterhouses shut down in holy city of Mathura. Also, the pressure exerted by him was partly responsible for passing of anti cow slaughter laws in UP and Bihar in 1950s.
However, Karpatri Ji's ultimate goal was enactment of a central law for banning cow slaughter all over India. He kept working tirelessly towards achievement of that goal.

The highlight of his work for cow protection was a huge protest in November 1966 for bringing central law
It turned out to be the biggest ever protest against cow slaughter. More than a million Gau Bhaktas assembled to demand ban on Gau HatyA. It was a totally peaceful and non violent protest.
Despite this, the govt. came down heavily on the protestors. The crowd was lathi charged and then bullets were fired on crowd. A curfew was imposed in Delhi. As per official estimates 11 people were killed. However other sources indicate that this figure was in hundreds.
Govt. relented after the brutal assault on Gau Rakshaks and a committee was formed to find ways to implement cow slaughter ban but as we all know, this was just a delaying tactic and 52 years after that massive agitation, a central cow slaughter ban remains as elusive as ever.
while it's true that the anti cow slaughter ban has been extended to some more states in this period,still there are many states that do not have such a law.
Even where laws are present, in many cases there a lotof loopholes that provide opportunities for cow slaughter.
We definitely need a uniform central law that bans all cow slaughter unambiguously. This is the least that our Gau Mata deserves.
Even in terms of societal support, cow protection seems to be in its leanest patch ever since the modern cow protection movement started in the 2nd half of the 19th century. We see repeated attempts to normalize beef eating by turning it into an issue of freedom and choice.
On the other hand, the people who are trying to protect the cow are demonized and branded as 'cow vigilantes' and unfortunately many who identify themselves as Hindutvawaadi also indulge in attacking the cow protectors.
Having observed that, I'd like to end this thread after making a few points in support of absolute cow slaughter ban in India.
1. Cow protection was a value accepted almost universally for at least 2000 years before Muslim invaders arrived. We can call it as Gau Mata consensus
2. Historically, from the Muslims invad to the British, the Gau mata consensus has been challeneged by foreigners only.
In other words to accept Gau mata consensus is to be Indian and to be against it is not being Indian.
3. There would be no Hindutva without the cow protection movement.
If we go back to 19th century and remove cow protection movement, there would be no Hindutva left to see.
If you call yourself Hindutvawaadi, stand with Gau Mata because you owe your existence to Gau mata.
4. The kind and no. of sacrifices Indians have made in defence of the cow generation after generation is just mind boggling.
To be defending an animal for that long ?
Is there any other culture that has done this ?
This is definitely Hindu exceptionalism!
Be proud of it.
The thread ends here.
Adding references as some had asked for it.
1. Indian Nationalism and early Congress, John R McLane
2. Religious Nationalism in India: Hindus and Muslims in India, Peter van der veer
3. Kuka movement, Fauja Singh
4. Satguru Ram Singh & Kuka movement, Tara Singh Anjan
6. Rallying round the cow: Sectarian strife in the Bhojpur region, Gyanendra pandey
7. Sacred Symbol as Mobilizing Ideology: The North Indian Search
for a "Hindu" community, Sandria B Freitag
8. Sanctity of cow in Hinduism , Norman Brown
9. Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India, William Gould
11. What to do about cows ( paper) , Ian Copland
10. Hindu-Muslim Relations in British India: A Study of Controversy, Conflict and Communal Movements in Northern India, 1923-1928, Gene R Thursby
@T_1000__ @Iyervval
realised after second the numbering went all helter skelter ! Please bear with it.
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