India’s Unseen Rivers of Sorrow


The recent pictures of rivers of blood flowing through Bangladeshi streets present ‘Humanity’ at its most noxious. Yet the ruthless and merciless slaughtering of cattle transported across the length and breadth of India into Bangladesh still does not seem to be of any significance to the state governments and the Central Government of this country.

Each day thousands of cattle are smuggled into Bangladesh from India through an organized racket. Whether young calves or old bulls; whether from as far west as Rajasthan and Gujarat, or from neighboring states like West Bengal and Orissa, the distance does not matter. Yet the state governments seem oblivious of the facts, and cannot see the rampant trade.

Stuffed mercilessly one upon another into trucks, cattle suffocate, break their horns and tails, and fracture their limbs as the trucks pass from one state to another and cross the riverine border into Bangladesh. They are deliberately made to go without food and water for their entire final journey, lasting for three to four days. For those who happen to survive such an ordeal, a gruesome death awaits them.

All parties, whether they be bureaucrats in the local governments, local politicians, local police, border security forces from the Indian side, or the Bangladesh revenue board on the other side, work together hand in glove with the smugglers.

Cattle truck in Kerala. Image credit feministjulie, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

They seem to perceive nothing sacrilegious, nor any legal or moral crime in what they do. The greed driven traffickers are highly upbeat about their business. Transactions are done through hawala: the buyer pays cash locally to an agent in Bangladesh, and the payment is delivered in India via another agent. Some slaughterhouse owners in Uttar Pradesh give monthly bribes up to Rs 60 lakhs [six million rupees]to all concerned.

The traffickers hire gangs of local thieves to troll the streets catching animals by night. The conniving of all parties involved across the Indian subcontinent spells the most horrific doom to Indian cattle destined for Bangladeshi abattoirs.

The life of an ordinary Indian cow begins with misery, continues through in misery, and ends in an even more dreadful, miserable and treacherous death. As a young male calf is born, he is separated from his mother. Some calves are not fed a drop of milk, while others are fortunate enough to be fed mother’s milk for a few days thanks to their owners’ magnanimity.

The young calf is then either straight away sent to the butcher house, or left on the streets to search for food in the filthiest garbage bins. Calves die of hunger and thirst, or are hit by traffic, or attacked by dogs. Some cattle owners tie them in the scorching sun till they die of sunstroke and thirst.

And all this so that so-called humans can feed their children milk and ice creams made from the milk meant to feed a particular young calf.

Newspaper article on cattle smuggling

Meanwhile the mother cow keeps looking for her young one, yet no value is attached to those tears that turns black as she waits for her newborn who she will never see again. And this is not the end of her grief, because each time the cow gives birth, the same story will be repeated.

For young bulls and calves, and old cows who no longer give milk, the slaughterhouses make great preparations. When the overloaded trucks that have transported the cattle across the length of the country arrive, half of the animals will have died due to suffocation, the weight of other cattle upon them, starvation and thirst. On reaching their destination, many of the survivors will be unable to get up and walk on their limbs. Yet still they are whipped and forced to walk towards their ultimate death.

The final walk leads them to a very large room where they can finally sit for the last time. Then their leg is tied with a clover leaf knot, and they are suspended upside down. Hot water at a burning temperature of 200 degrees Celsius is then poured onto them while they are still alive, in order to make their skin soft.

And all this so that some so-called fashionistas can have their bags, purses and shoes made from soft calf leather, attend parties and enjoy the fruits of the cruelest, most gruesome deaths experienced on planet Earth.

Half of the cattle become unconscious after this step, but are still alive. And for those who maintain consciousness, there still remains the experience of the final blow of death.

Cows being slaughtered in Punjab. Image credit Gopal Aggarwal, CC BY-NC 2.0

Their skin is first torn off while they are alive, because at this juncture it is the softest. Then their throat is slit. From one side blood oozes out, creating rivers of blood flowing into the country where cattle are supposed to be worshipped, and on the other side the skin is torn apart. Finally the journey of living hell on earth comes to an end, and the cow can finally ‘breathe’ a sigh of relief, because the soothing hand of ‘death’ has at last arrived. The misery, the sorrow, the wait, anguish and suffering is finally over. Life has given the cattle of this country a ‘living death,’ and what seems to relieve them is their final death.

Yet slow comes such a miserable death, a death unsurpassed in agony even in the legendary descriptions of ‘Hell’ in any religion.

And all this so that so-called ‘human beings’ can eat their flesh; get foreign exchange from the export of their meat, skin and blood; and then call themselves ‘progressive’ after spending the money on the construction of malls, highways and theatres.

It is an utter shame that India dares call itself a ‘progressive’ nation after ignoring the infliction of such brutal acts on such a noble, simple and pious animal once worshipped in this country. The rivers of milk once said to have flowed in India have been replaced by Rivers of Blood.

No country can be called “humane” that treats its cattle with such ruthlessness. We seem to have forgotten the roots of our country and our soil, the glorious Hindu culture of old that revered cattle instead of abusing and slaughtering them.

It is said that the Muslim invasion of India is unparalleled in human history. The memory of the rampage of Indian soil, the destruction of Hindu temples, the looting of treasures, and the great inhuman treatment meted out to cows and Indian Hindu women centuries ago has endured the passage of time. No matter that a thousand years have passed; the wounds remain afresh in the souls of those tormented.

Yet in spite of modern India’s independence from foreign invaders, much of its legislation still remains the same as that passed by Mughal rulers or the occupying British, for instance the legal slaughter of cows in West Bengal.

As India ‘progresses’ in the modern age, the time has come to revive our original culture and heritage, the foremost priority being ‘Cow Protection’.

Lord Krishna and cows on the roof of a Hindu temple. Image credit Neil Howard, CC BY-NC 2.0

(Featured image credit Damien Thorne, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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An individual wishing to stop cruelty to cattle. Click to see author's profile.

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