DEVAKI JAIN | 7 MAY, 2017

Branding Dear Kamadhenu


NEW DELHI: Some 12 years ago , a dear friend and I found a beautiful old wooden antique tucked away in a corner of a antiques shop , on Brigade road in Bangalore --opened its ply wood packing and there was this 3 ft by 2 and a half painting of Kamadhenu- that beautiful, ever giving mother.

The painting was in gold leaf, and over her body there were stamped, drawn almost 50 if not more images of other gods, goddesses, saints, with color and gold leaf....every one was there - wanting to seek her blessings and perhaps to bless and protect her...

Standing there all the stories I had heard of beautiful, generous, gentle Kamadhenu , her sufferings too, and the love she received..flooded my mind.

My friend bought the painting , much to the surprise of the shop keeper , who had not displayed it thinking it would attract no interest. She hung it up on the most visible wall in her house, and had small lights that would light up the gods and saints.

So we loved, and love, Kamadhenu, look to her for her beauty and generosity......but now terror has been let loose on her !

What are the saints and gods she protected doing leaving her to armies of branders, and blood sample takers?

We used to shudder and look away, when we saw films,photographs of the ill famed Chicago slaughter houses. It used to be on tourist tracks...a cow with fear in her eyes, urinating with fear, comes in on the belt - and then she is numbed with a blow, and branded.

I can see our cows , being held between bamboo or other restricting , structures. being pushed along the line, horns held, face squashed to get a photo of her eyes....then branded with a number.

She would be screaming so put a bandage around her mouth - aah she is now safe! say the worshippers -safe to die a natural death.

When her milk stops she will go to a gaushala. they will need 1000 s of them across the country but wait, where is the land? Acquire it from "those" people- the ones who have slaughter houses, the areas where the beef eaters live.

Hundreds of computers will be fitted in thousands of places,to hold the data and monitor the dear cows movements.

Dear mother Kamadhenu, and what about your male children? Perhaps Baba Ramdev will tie urine bags to their under carriage and have a Mother Dairy kind of huge network selling urine- the cure all for all maladies?

But , I am afraid, the male bovine will have a rough time - food and other amenities will not be the same in an interesting reversal of human experience. The female will have it good, not entirely of course, while the male starves or is beaten to labour .

Housing for the poor, land to the tiller will shift to housing for you, the gau mata.

What do you think Mother? Will Vishnu and Siva, sitting on you along with so many rishis, to protect you and themselves, feel safe being sucked into biometrics ? Perhaps they will flee, who knows.

Now when I light up the painting, I will not feel peace ...I will feel anger and grief. Dear Kamadhenu…

(Devaki Jain is an Indian economist and writer, who has worked mainly in the field of feminist economics.)

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