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Cow politics: When the issue of religious faith, performance of rituals raise ugly head

By Harasankar Adhikari 

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa preached that the religion of man is like the dialect of an individual or a group of individuals. Individuals of varied religious groups pray to reach the infinite and supreme soul considered to ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ or "Rama" or "Krishna" through religious practices in daily life. Sri Rabindrannath also shares his view on religion in the same vein, and he expresses his dissatisfaction regarding the origins of the different religious groups and religious practices. According to him, the origin of different religious groups is the cause of communal harmony. However, the various practices of a particular religious group are very special and personal. It never harms any other group if it is not imposed by one group on another. Thus, separate religious groups might have their own food practices and other rituals as per their choices.
But the focal point of discussion is that when various religious groups are divided and treated according to their size of population as majority and minority, it might create disharmony among these groups. In Indian society, Muslim religious groups are the largest minority groups, and they are considered other Indians by the Hindu majority. Rephrased, Hindus as the majority dominant group are also treated as others because of the lack of the necessary degree of tolerance for one another and the wrong perception of intercultural communication. It causes civil violence and conflict very often. Muslims are the victims of such violence. This religious group often faces the problems of acculturation, bilingualism, alienation, cultural determination, ethnocentrism, ethno-phobia, cultural shock, etc. This causes a cultural deviation that leads to clashes, misunderstandings, and hostile behavior. There is a vivid competition between majorities (Hindus) and minorities (Muslims) due to the misevaluation and interpretation of other cultures, and due to ethnocentrism, one thinks their culture is superior to another. We forget that the behavioural code of conduct is determined by the environment and surroundings in which a member grows up. It has no relation to biological or genetically inherited traits.
The banning of beef and the demolition of Masque are acts of anti-religiousness because dominant Hindus are trying to rule over minorities (Muslim groups). While the protection of the cow is a symbol of Hindutva, then what would be our food chain and eco-system? The cow is sacred in Hindu mythology, and its attachment to Lord Krishna is the reason for its worship. So, the Muslim minority has no right to take it as their food, and it is anti-Hindutva in India, a secular country. So, cows are very fortunate. Side by side, a goat, sheep, or chicken is unlucky because it has no attachment to the popular ‘Hindu god." So, these animals are victims of discrimination. It reminds us of the guarantee of the Indian Constitution, which promises to provide, protect, and safeguard the fundamental rights of every citizen and every minority. But now it is saffronized in terms of political ideology. It is a threat to the minorities, and it jeopardizes the fundamental rights of the minority. Surprisingly, we observe that there is no or little religious conflict at the grass-roots level if there is no political interference. Both the majority and the minority live together. But the issue of religious faith and the performance of rituals raises its ugly head with the interference of some interest groups.

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