Chandigarh, Dec 1: Every time a sportsperson brings laurel to the country, authorities shower him/her with cash prizes, government jobs, lands and luxury cars too. They definitely deserve such pampering in the form of gifts for their hard work and dedication.
Imagine when a sportsperson is presented with an "unusual" gift for winning gold, silver or bronze medal for the country. The six women boxing champions from Haryana, who won medals at the recently concluded Women's Youth World Boxing Championships in Guwahati, Assam last week, were taken by surprise when they got to know that they will be getting cows as gifts from the government.
The announcement to honour the boxers with cows was made by Haryana Animal Husbandry minister and president of the Boxing Haryana Association Om Prakash Dhankar at a felicitation function for the champions in Rohtak, Haryana on Thursday.
"All four gold medalists and two bronze medalists of the World Youth Women Boxing Championship will be rewarded with one Indian breed cow each," Dhankar was quoted as saying by ANI.
All 4 gold medalists and 2 bronze medalists of World Youth Women Boxing Championship will be rewarded with one Indian breed cow each: Haryana minister Om Prakash Dhankar in #Rohtak pic.twitter.com/0gw28gsSmk— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2017
The six boxers to be given four-legged prize are gold medal winners Nitu (48 kg), Jyoti Guliya (51 kg), Sakshi Dhanda (54 kg), Shashi Chopra (57 kg), and bronze winners Anupama (81 kg), Neha Yadav (81+ kg).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister told reporters that the cows would be of a local variety, which would give over 10 litres of milk per day. He also told the audience at the event as for why he has decided to give cows to the champions as the animal's milk has several "benefits".
"(Unlike buffalo's milk) cow's milk contains less fat and is beneficial for boxers... a cow is very active, while a buffalo sleeps most of the time," Dhankar told The Indian Express.
"Haryana main kehte hain, haanga chahiye toh bhains ka doodh, aur khoobsarti aur dimag chahiye, toh gai ka doodh (They say in Haryana that if you want power, drink buffalo milk; and if you want beauty and brains, drink cow's milk). These boxers have done the country proud at the world level and we want them to excel more," he said.
While a few of the boxers expressed happiness on getting cows as presents, others said it would be difficult to maintain the animal at their homes.
Along with bringing smiles on the faces of people after they came to know that these days in India cows are gifted for winning sporting laurels, many questioned the intention behind honouring the champions with the four-legged animal.
Over the last few months, cow politics has reached its zenith in India as several people were killed in the name of protecting cows. As the ruling saffron party and its affiliated groups have always accorded the animal a holy status to allegedly push their Hindutva agenda, such an announcement by a minister in the BJP-ruled state raised several eyebrows.
In fact, Dhankar is known for championing the cause of cow. He had earlier announced bovine hostels in the state.
A senior journalist, who covered the event in Rohtak, said that gifting cows to the boxers looks well intended.
"However, scratch the surface a bit, the Hindutva agenda of the BJP can be seen in the latest largesse announced by the BJP government in Haryana," added the journalist.