Kaleidoscope has witnessed painful departure of much loved cows at his mother's ancestral home. The departure was eased through a process of handing over the dying cow to mercy killers (to read about the story click here). However, those days have gone in most part of his country at present and there is some new era has come when you are not supposed to use you assets as and when needed. Kaleidoscope is not talking about note ban nor he is interested to deal with the consequences of ATM queue or the problems of AADHAR card linking. This is more substantial. No ATM, no money. This is about mother (or father?) nature.
Stray cows:We listen to over and over again about the damage that can caused by the non performing assets or the bad loan recovery by the banks. We are supposed to hit worse with these things. Now let us think about your asset demanding a lot and giving you nothing in return. Please no PETA argument here. People who raise cows raise them because this is their asset and their livelihood depends on it. They do not fantasize like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Mahesh. That excellent short story even today makes Kaleidoscope cry and I guess most of its readers feel the same way. How can a person has so much of attachment with his cow? Well this is possible, Kaleidoscope has seen it and knows it. But one must also understand cows (similarly hens, ducks, pigs) are valuable assets with strict economic issues attached to it. Since, there is strict rules about how to sale and buy cows the economic dimension of the cow rearing all of a sudden has fallen under strict vigilance. In consequence, there are people who have no choice than to abandon their cows. Let them starve to die or to encroach in places where they are supposed not to enter. This includes not only farmland in places like Uttar Pradesh (For a Business Standard article click here) but also places like reserve forest (for Hintustan Times article click here). Professor Sudhir Panwar of the Department of Zoology, Lucknow University in a recent article has expressed grave concern for the rising number of abandoned cattle and potential damage they can cause over reserve forests (click here). He says "Developments following the 'cow protection' efforts of the government and other social organisations have not only crippled an already beleaguered livestock sector but also resulted in the proliferation of stray cattle, raising serious economic and ecological concerns" (page 13). One might talk about the cow shelters recently been built up to give shelter to the strays, but these full and cows are ill treated. Hundreds of them have died already (click here for more information). This simply is a disaster having serious economic and ecological consequences.
National Green Tribunal and Jantar Mantar:
Interestingly, while there is a rapid growth of an environmental disaster primarily because of cow protection without proper management plans, the National Green Tribunal asks all the protesters to be relocated from the historical Jantar Mantar ground in Delhi (click here). While Kaleidoscope has been there a few times to experience the iconic sundial and to see the protests. He has also felt a stream of blood flowing while watching Rang de basanti (those requiring some motivation watch the movie, click here), those places are repeatedly shown. There is no denying that those who have pleaded to the court on account of the continuous dharnas have suffered for long, but then again from where one can protest other than Jantar Mantar? Its not too close neither too far from Parliament house, very close to police stations and the roads can be cordoned off without much disruption to the city's traffic. Ramlila maidan as a replacement of Jantar Mantar is ineffective: first of all it does not have that location advantage, and second, its close to some of the major hospitals!
The question of dissenting voices:
Kaleidoscope recently completed a refershers' course on environmental issues at Jadavpur University to gather respect for the National Green Tribunal. This article doesn't mean that he has lost all of his faith on the organisation. He always preferred stronger institutions. He prefers stronger institutional mechanisms and he doesn't mind if there are relatively weaker leaders. However, the incidents of stray cows and till date silence from the part of National Green Tribunal and a proactive decision is symptomatic. It is symptomatic to a possible shrinking of democratic space and a bias that can bring an all-round disaster economic-ecological-democratic.
Image courtesy: Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/joint-protest-by-1000-farmers-brings-traffic-to-a-crawl-in-delhi/story-mUC6yz7fOp2yO6leajCcHM.html.