Cattle class versus the ‘cattle’ class

Pictures of helpless, grieving relatives carrying their dead and ill on backs is a mind-numbing reality of the Indian health care system. But going by the government announcements looks like humans figure pretty low on its priorities. The Chhattisgarh government soon plans to join BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan and MP and begin an ambulance service for cows. 

Haryana is giving cow owners in the state the option of sending their  animals to a ‘hostel’ if they don’t have enough space for them at home. The Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog, an autonomous body constituted by the state government in 2013, will soon send its proposal of setting up “cow hostels” across the state to CM Manohar Lal Khattar. Aayog chairman Bhani Ram Mangla says he has discussed the proposal with state Urban Local Bodies minister Kavita Jain, who, wanted the “first such cow hostel to come up in Sonipat, her constituency”.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling making sweets made of cow-milk  available as prasad at temples by Navratra, state Dairy Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary has said. The minister said this will be done through the ongoing projects of his department in districts, where there are prominent religious shrines and temples. “In a bid to popularise cow-milk, the plan is to make available sweets made of it as prasad at temples in Mathura, Ayodhya, Vindhyachal and at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple,” he said.

That the state governments are taking such pains for the welfare of cattle is heartening. At a time when the government is drawing itself out of public welfare enterprises, it isn’t hard to understand the logic behind its state governments’ cattle engagements. Cattle class Indians are well aware of their status in the country. The decrepit infrastructure that exists in the name of public health care. The poison their kids consume in the name of milk and racid free meals that are passed of for free education. That the central government is cutting funds to public-run educational and cultural institutions and plans to replace it with privatised higher education is a new reality. Cattle class Indians can only envy the real ‘cattle’ class and wish that they find a place in there in their next life. But for that, they must die and be carried on a relatives back.