Cow Slaughter or Desecration of Granth Sahib- Does it Matter?

I am a Hindu, a devout Brahmin, a vegetarian purely for religious reasons and I consider cow sacred. At the same time, I understand the cow might not be sacred for everyone in society, and, they might not worship cow the way Hindus worship. Thus, even if someone slaughters cow my religious sentiments don’t get hurt. I am pained at slaughter of cow as much as I am pained when any other animal is killed for dinner. Not that I disrespect cow, but that I respect the feelings of others. I will stop someone from killing a cow, not because sacred cow of Hindus should not be slaughtered, but, because I believe God gave us no right to kill.

I found it appalling when someone desecrated Guru Granth sahib. What was more appalling was the way people took to streets to protest against it. Whom were they protesting against? What were they protesting for? That someone committed profanity and he should be punished? Is he worth that much of attention? Had I found Hindu holy text (or any other religious text) torn and thrown on streets I would have picked it up and ensured it is treated well by me. It would have been senseless to take to streets protesting against it.

I am hurt when someone tries to Evangelize. I am hurt when someone tries to convert a person of other belief to Islam. I am hurt when someone stages ghar wapasi. I am hurt when a murder or a rape is painted in colour of cast and creed. But I believe the God will forgive the perpetrators of such sins, because as Jesus said, “they don’t know what they are doing”

All the above things, just because I practice a religion which is extremely tolerant.

Here I reproduce a speech by Swami Vivekanand given way back in 1893 at World Parliament of Religions. It highlights how tolerant India has been. Let us preserve that glory.

“Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.

We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth.

They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal”.

He goes on to say “If anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

A pertinent question here is, are we really the ones about whom Swami Vivekanand spoke? Or have we become Bigots and fanatics?

Let the truth prevail over the tyranny of bigots and fanatics.


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