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Flashback 2015: How the humble cow controlled the Indian psyche

By Maitreyee Boruah

It is an annual ritual that comes at the end of every year. We review our successes and failures in equal measure just days before a year comes to an end. |

Even if the aam janata don't critically examine their personal history, the media houses definitely love to crown the politicians, film stars, sportspersons and other celebrities with fancy titles.


As a barrage of TV and print reports scrutinised how the nation and its most-discussed personalities performed in 2015, suddenly the humble cow took a leap of faith to win the much-wanted trophy-Personality of the Year award.

It was definitely after much deliberations that Yahoo decided to crown the cow with the coveted title of the personality of the year in India.

A shocking result?

Are you asking, what is so special about the humble cow? How could the bovine beat your favourite politician or film star to bask in the glory of such a big honour?

Then you just need to jog your memory. Didn't all our debates directly or indirectly revolve around the cow? Right from the ban on beef to the anti-cow slaughter movement, Dadri lynching to award wapsi, the otherwise peaceful animal evoked quite an animated discussion in our drawing rooms and of course, on social media.

Even Yahoo couldn't hide its disbelief while announcing the result recently. "In an unexpected twist, the humble 'cow' emerged as 'Personality of the Year', trumping other high-profile contenders for the top spot," Yahoo said in a statement on its "Year in Review" for India which captures the year's top trends, happenings and events.

"It started with the Maharashtra government announcing a ban on the sale of beef in the state -- a move which led to massive debates online and offline, spiraling into the 'beef controversy'," it said.

It added: "Fuelled further by the mob lynching at Dadri, the cow became the icon of discussions on 'intolerance', sparking the 'award wapsi' campaign, and even stalling Parliament proceedings at one point."

In August company

It is not often that you would find a cow rubbing shoulders with the rich and the famous. In fact, mostly a herd of cows could be seen grazing leisurely in a village field or searching for food from a pile of trash on city roads. It was not an easy battle for the innocuous animal to win. The cow had to fight against some of the biggest names of the country to emerge victorious.

"Some of the distinguished names that were considered included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, actors Deepika Padukone, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, social workers, human-, women- and child-rights activists, litterateurs...," the Yahoo statement said.

This victory is definitely going to boost the morale of the once-neglected cow community.

Why this kolaveri over cows?

No matter how bad the living conditions of cattle are or how famished they look, we Indians worship cows. The cow, according to Hindus, is like a mother.

Thus our politicians to score some brownie points are trying hard to declare the cow as our national animal.

The nature of our political debate is closely associated with the cow. The bovine has made a significant impact on a variety of matters, dominated national debate, pervaded general consciousness, evoked passion, initiated protests, stalled work, and set the social media afire, among other things.

There is no doubt that in the coming year the dog, a man's best friend, would demand a similar recognition that has been bestowed on the cow, which of course has no clue, what the hell is all the fuss about.

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