Love Jihad, Madrasas, Cow Slaughter… and Sakshi Maharaj

Yesterday, BJP MP from Unnao, Sakshi Maharaj made public some of his observations and wisdom. They are,

“Education of terrorism is being given in madrassas (religious learning institutions). They (the madrassas)… are making them terrorists and jihadis… It is not in national interest”

The above remark, made on Sunday at Nademau in Kannauj district, is a repeat of what the MP said on September 7 at a programme in Etah.

Interestingly, one can’t set aside the remark completely. As focus on religious education, which is often based on dated texts and interpretations suiting the different times and eras, is often not very rational. An effect of which is that young minds which are encouraged to question the logic of aged practices, irrationality, dogmas, start accommodating such issues. Such children and Youth — stop to weigh and consider things which are taught to them. This accommodation makes them ideal for religious indoctrination.

But, this doesn’t apply to Madrasas alone, any educational institution which starts including religion in its curriculum, does a great disservice to logic and rational thinking. And hence religious teaching of any kind and degree must be discouraged in schools. Else politicians, who often use religion for their benefit, will keep trying to bring religion to school. PM Modi calls it “Cultivating People”. I call a politician teaching students to invest in people, the act of “Catching them young”.

Ideally, a book must teach a kid everything about morning routine — Get up early, Go to Toilet, brush your teeth, take a bath, get ready for school, comb your hair ; except for, pray to God or touch your parents feet etc. Such instructions must be left to the parents. If they wish, they can tell the kid to bow to God (whoever they want the kid to pray) and bow to them, if they see it desirable. The schools must not be allowed to give way to even that degree of religious teaching. The children in schools are too precious to be indoctrinated by religion and become irrational beings. They are too precious to become adults with very little innovative and original thinking.

In addition, an interesting thing about one religious leader (Sakshi Maharaj is a Saffron wearing Ascetic) commenting about the religious teachings of others is “Kettle Calling the Pot Black”.

Another Sakshi Maharaj Remark is about Love Jihad. Notably, he sees “love jihad” flourishing through madrasas. “Love jihad” is a term being used in recent times by right-wing Hindu outfits while referring to alleged conversion of Hindu girls through marriage. You may believe or nor not believe in Love Jihad. Although if you wish to check the veracity of the concept, then simply look in your immediate vicinity, the number of Hindu Girls who fell in love with muslim young men, and married them. Since I don’t see a single case of such inter religious fling or inter religious marriage among my family, friends, classmates and people I know, hence for I, Love Jihad is just like some “Ghost” or “Big Money from blogging” which usually is seen or earned by a friend’s uncle’s daughter’s sister-in-law’s brother-in-law’s son. Yes, a situation where even when you want to believe in the existence of Ghost or Big money from blogging, you can’t reach the person who saw it. Want to add, set aside the love jihad marriages, for I it’s equally difficult to find girls marrying inter-caste. They are equally rare, if not as rare as Love jihad marriages. Don’t know of your experience regarding that.

Let aside Sakshi Maharaj, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, yesterday expressed concern about India being the world’s largest beef exporter and claimed that the money from illegal animal slaughter was used for perpetrating acts of terrorism.

Speaking during a valedictory lecture at the India for Animals conference, she said,

“We are the largest beef exporters in the world and also killing them for leather production. We are actually killing more animals than China, it is appalling!”

Although, the word “appalling” is misleading, going by the fact that in the recent past, the licenses for the largest number of slaughterhouses in India, was granted during the Atal Bihari vajpayee led NDA Government. But it’s good to see that the BJP leader is not misleading people on the necessity of slaughter houses in India. That’s why she is limiting her sadness at ‘illegal’ slaughter houses only. The propaganda is not all sweeping. A big departure, if one compares from what her party kept preaching some months ago, and what some of its leaders are preaching still now.

The fact is, the large Leather industry in India, which employs Lakhs of people in UP alone (Hindus and Muslims) are dependent on these slaughter houses. And the economics of Leather industry in India is simple. Majorly, Hindus sell their cows and other non-productive milch hide animals (dairy animals which yield leather). Some Muslim and Hindu castes convert the hide into leather. Both Hindus and Muslims make products like shoes, purses out of them. Both Hindus and Muslims sell these finished leather products, with Hindu sellers far exceeding the Muslims.

Don’t know how correct her claims are, but she is surely not linking “Sacred Cow and slaughterhouses”, when she says,

“It is going into terrorism, it is going into bomb making. It is going into killing us. Why we are allowing this? It is a trade of Indians. Do not blame a particular community for this. India is illegally exporting beef to Bangladesh and India claims of exporting about 160,000 tonnes of beef. But as a matter of fact they (Bangladesh) do not own a single cow,”

May be right now, the Terrorism, Muslim viciousness is a better rallying agenda, than the humble cow.

No, she may not have any problems with legal slaughterhouses, but she is not missing the opportunity to bring the Holy Cow into the equation. She may be saying lest not blame particular community for this, but she herself wanting the listeners to look the picture that way. Why? As she is deeply unhappy with the ownership of slaughterhouses. Maneka said while members of one community sell its livestock, another slaughters it in their slaughterhouses and asked people not to link animal slaughter to a particular religion or community.

Interesting thing is, even after being an animal expert, running programmes on ethical treatment to animals, for decades now; it’s she who’s constantly linking people of one religion to the animal slaughter in the country. Those like us, who always looked non-productive milch animals playing the primary role in leather business in India, always requested people to see the picture in a liberal and logical way. It’s she (and her party) who always tried to demonize one religion for slaughtering animals in India. But, what is even more interesting is that Maneka Gandhi and her party has not stopped dilly-dallying on the issue. This dilly dallying is aimed at communicating what is not being said. I ask, What is the need to bring the beef export to the picture ? If her party supports beef exports from legal slaughter houses, then they must tell the people how they plan to stop this illegal export. As that way, the citizens will get the clear message that the Government is alright with Cow slaughter , and is only concerned with illegal exports. An act which is hurting the state exchequer. On contrary, if BJP can’t tolerate beef export, which it often wants to portray, then it must ban it. But the dilly dallying doesn’t stop at that, the Minister called on NGOs, volunteers and civil society to join the ‘save animals movement’ and urged them to set up informer systems to sound an alarm to prevent such trade. What does she want to achieve from such statement? How will people and NGO differentiate between illegal trafficking of animals for slaughter and movement of animals for legal slaughterhouses?

The minister spoke on illegal sale of animal organs, wild animals, adulterated milk, animal cruelty, Dissection of animals in school and college education etc. as well but since everything she said was laced with politics, it is hard to make sense of her utterances.

It’s better to see the statements as words in the air — Love Jihad, Madrasas, Cow Slaughter… and Sakshi Maharaj and Maneka Gandhi… the words that are being floated in the air with some motive.