New Delhi, July 17: India is definitely progressing with great "bullock cart" speed. Those who want the country to compete with neighbouring China and the United States (US), and embrace progress with the "speed of light", unfortunately have to wait for a while till we get rid of mob lynching in the name of cow.
Cow, bull, bullock...name any cattle, politicians of the country--both from the ruling and opposition parties stand up and speak with great eloquence.
Ask them about country's job growth, farmers' distress and violence against women, often you would get a dismissive reply as if these issues hold no importance at all.
Now, as the important monsoon session of Parliament is all set to begin from Monday, the Narendra Modi government has already set the tone of debate inside the houses.
Within a gap of few days, the "blood-thirsty" gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) have forced Modi to speak against the menace of cow vigilantism once again--just a day ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament in the all-party meeting on Sunday.
Modi's cabinet colleague, Ananth Kumar, who addressed the media after the meeting, which saw attendance by opposition party leaders including that of the Congress, informed that the PM assured that strict action will be taken against "cow vigilantes" indulging in violence.
"I have asked states to take strict action against those violating law in name of cow protection," Modi said at the meeting.
In the same breath he also insisted that cow is considered like a "mother" by many Indians.
"It (cow vigilantism) should not be given political or communal colour; the nation doesn't benefit from it. There is a widespread belief that cow is like mother but this should not let people take law in their own hands," Modi added.
It's this focus on cow as "gau mata" (cow mother), which needs to stop first. Unless and until, cow is brought down to the level of all animals (say a camel or a pig), the problems of cow vigilantism and mob lynchings won't be solved.
The holiness associated with the cow has caused so much madness across the country that right from a 16-year-old boy Junaid Khan to a dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, people are getting killed with great frequency because they are either alleged to be "beef-eater" or "cow-smuggler".
It is true that animals need to be protected, but not at the cost of murders of humans.
Modi's condemnation of cow vigilantism just ahead of the monsoon session is understandable as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clearly sensed that this session of Parliament risks being washed out due to bovine issues.
So, like a shrewd statesman, Modi, in spite of being 'handcuffed' by the Hindutva groups to take a strong stand against violence in the name of cow protection, decided to raise the issue on his own with opposition leaders.
While Modi bhakts are singing praises for the PM as he condemned cow vigilantism, the tragedy is that the denunciation is the result of political compulsion and sounded half-hearted too.
Modi can't wash his hands of cow politics as the saffron party and its allies including, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) (where the PM started his political journey as a young boy), are very passionate about the whole religious "business" of cow.
It is their zeal to end cow slaughtering and beef eating that the environment ministry in its controversial ruling came up with strong regulations regarding selling of cattle in animal markets.
The beef ban and mob lynching politics have been hogging the limelight since the time Modi took over the reins of the country in 2014. The first most horrific incident related to cow protection during Modi regime came to light when Uttar Pradesh resident Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched to death by a mob on suspicion of storing beef in his house in Dadri.
Since then the issue continues to boil. However, this year cow politics has reached its zenith with strict government rules against cattle sale and abnormal increase in mob lynchings by cow lovers.
In spite of so many tragedies, Modi mostly remained "maun" (silent). Only in three occasions in the last three years, Modi spoke against cow vigilantism. His statements were mostly mild and did not have its desired result as lynchings continued against Muslim men across the country.
Is the Opposition, which has been playing its own brand of cow politics, has been convinced by Modi's condemnation? If not, then get ready to hear a lot inside Parliament about cow in the coming days.
The gentle cow, on its part, is definitely wondering what wrong it did to attract so much violence in its name.