A Blessing in Disguise?

Travelling through the thickly packed roads in urban Bangalooru has always made me wonder if it’s a blessing for the livestock that strays throughout the city.

Paying respects

Karnataka, the southern state of India, still values and respects cows, as its religious beliefs and laws are quite entwined. The cows are considered as holy animals and therefore worshipped by the Hindu community.

Government Support

According to THE KARNATAKA PREVENTION OF COW SLAUGHTER AND CATTLE PREVENTION ACT, 1964 (ACT 35) slaughtering cows, calves and she-buffaloes are prohibited in the state of Karnataka unless they are diseased.

On December 13th 2012, the Karnataka legislative assembly passed another new bill on anti-cow slaughter called the ‘Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation Bill 2012’. As stated in the bill, any animal falling into the category of bovine will not be slaughtered. High punishment is to be charged to those who slaughter any cow, bull or buffalo.

Cattle Power

I have never seen an urban city that has such liberal views. These animals are totally free to go anywhere they want. Even if they parked themselves right in the middle of the road, every vehicle has to make way for them. Oh, that’s good! Know why? Because pedestrians are always annoyingly honked out of their way and trying to cross a road is like a life or death mission.

Every animal lover will be delighted to know it’s a heavenly place for these animals. A huge relief against animal cruelty too. However, it is doubtful if it has actually helped the four-legged animals to survive.

In search of Banquet

In the streets, you can see small herds of cattle moving along the side of the roads (at times even in the middle of the road!) to their grazing spot. It is a common sight in the city, one that is hardly noticed anymore.

They usually move one after another, where the mother or the older animal takes the front, leading the rest of the herd in search of any patch of green. But they usually have to be content with the leftovers the thoughtful street vendors provide them with or the garbage pile in the corner of a road. Seriously, finding even a square inch of green is quite a task when compared to stumbling into a garbage pile.

Different perspectives

Apart from the problem that the cattle do not get enough fresh fodder for consumption, there comes the challenge of shelter and care, which is equally important. Even though it doesn’t snow in Southern India, it can get very chilly in the winter. It’s upsetting to see how the new born calves lie near the dumps and freeze.

Most of the cattle do not have any loving owners or homes. But some domesticated cattle that do have real owners are let loose to roam around the city for food. Usually, small scale farmers resort to such things because of the increasing value of packaged animal fodder and lack of fresh green. At least they take back the animals in the night.

It is indeed commendable on the part of the government to bring about such laws and the society to support them, but not much has been done to care for these animals in terms of nourishment, shelter or nurture.

Note: This post does not intend to discuss any religion. However, it bears some slight reference in order to acquaint the reader.

Cow Fables

 

If you are an animal lover, one of the most wonderful things you will see here in Bangalore are the free-roaming cattle and the street animals. Bovines, especially cows, are considered holy in Hinduism.

Once on a quiet weekend morning, I heard some pleasant Indian music outside my apartment. I noticed that the music stopped at specific intervals. Although I rushed to the balcony, I could not spot the source of the music.

I was getting ready for the weekly grocery shopping. I could hear the music again, and it got much louder as I descended the apartment. As soon as I reached our apartment’s tiny parking lot, I bumped into my apartment landlord, who was paying respects to an ox. Our landlord, a true Kannadiga (person native to Karnataka, India) is a vegetarian and a very religious person.

A beautifully decorated and a fairly healthy-looking ox and a man with an air instrument was in the parking lot. Being curious, I stayed to watch the rituals that were being performed. Besides, the way to our vehicle was blocked. The landlord handed over the offerings (coconuts and bananas) meant for the ox to the man and got started with the rituals. While my landlord was seeking blessings by touching the ox 360 degrees, the poor thing was drooling continuously, eyeing the goodies in the man’s hand. The prayers ended after about 7-8 minutes, and the man left with the offerings and the ox. I wonder whether the ox ever got to eat the goodies!

Another time it was totally amusing to see a cow climbing few steps of a small lights and fixtures shop to peek inside. I guess the fully lit and sparkling shop must have caught its attention. It could even be that the shopkeeper had offered something to eat when it passed by. I couldn’t get a second look as the auto-rickshaw I was traveling sped-off like a pro car racer dodging all the other bikes, cars and some misfortunate pedestrians who got stuck in the middle of the road while crossing.

Note: This post does not intend to discuss any religion. However, it bears some slight reference in order to acquaint the reader.