Valentine’s Day in India: Kiss Me Cow – Panorama

The fact that Valentine’s Day is celebrated anywhere outside the United States should be seen as a victory in the soft power competition between cultural nations. Not only in Europe, but also in India, the label now serves as a marketing tool for jewelry stores, chocolate makers, restaurants and hotels. The government wanted to do something about it and declared February 14 “Cow Hug Day”.

The cow is “the giver of all, offering humanity its nurturing nature,” India’s Animal Welfare Agency said in a statement. Moreover, the Vedic traditions, i.e. traditional knowledge, have almost become extinct “due to the progress of Western culture”. We already suspect the dominance of pop culture in the United States. “The splendor of Western civilization has almost made us forget our physical culture and our heritage,” he would say – and it sounded as moody as what annoyed Europeans explain to children in fancy dress at the front door as they don’t have any on Halloween want to hand out candy.

Of course, hugging a cow is a good idea. There are about 80 million cows in India. They can be seen grazing on the highway median, trotting in herds on country roads, sometimes just standing and flapping their long eyelashes. Cows are part of Indian culture and daily life. You can also heart them, but that’s not entirely trivial.

The sacred cow has gone from a religious issue to a political issue

Since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party banned the slaughter of cows in the huge agricultural state of Uttar Pradesh, for example, animals there have become a nuisance when they no longer produce milk and are abandoned by farmers. Hindu farmers are not allowed to kill them, nor give them to Muslim slaughterhouses, as they did in the past. The sacred cow has moved from a religious issue to a political issue in recent years. About 80% of the population of India are Hindus, about 14% are Muslims.

Now freed cows eat other farmers’ crops or go mad with hunger. Anyone who has ever seen a cow go crazy and jump on the side of the road is right to be scared. A hug is out of the question, not even on Valentine’s Day. Even in the most pious Hindu, love cannot go that far.

So immediately after the announcement, clips of violent encounters between cows and humans were uploaded to YouTube. There are deaths every year, the animals are big and have horns. Newspapers and magazines across the country also mocked the government’s plan, publishing cartoons of cows running away from men in love. A presenter from the NDTV news channel bravely allowed himself to be filmed kissing several cows, but they rebuffed his advances.

The Ministry of Fisheries, Livestock and Dairy quickly dismissed the idea. And Valentine’s Day is still celebrated in India without cow hugs, but with flowers and jewelry. Quite apolitical, but hopefully romantic.

Rosemary Rowse

"Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Web maven. Infuriatingly humble creator. Typical tv specialist. Music aficionado. Proud explorer."

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