Delhi wants to turn Valentine's Day into 'Hug a Cow Day'
The latest attempt to celebrate 'Indian heritage' as opposed to 'Western traditions'. In recent years, the Animal Welfare Council, which formulated the proposal, has increasingly focused on the alleged benefits brought by the cow, an animal known to be sacred to Hindu culture.
New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "Considering the immense benefits of the cow, hugging one will bring emotional richness by increasing our individual and collective happiness". This is the view of the Animal Welfare Council of India (Awbi), which has proposed turning Valentine's Day into Cow Hugging Day, "keeping in mind the importance of the mother cow in making life happy and full of positive energy," reads the Awbi proposal posted on its website with the endorsement of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The idea that cows bring happiness and positivity is part of a series of claims about the benefits of the animal, which is known to be sacred in Hinduism: in recent years, cow urine has been promoted as medicinal and its dung was claimed to protect against radiation.
The Awbi is a body under the Department of Animal Husbandry and is responsible for recommending legal provisions for the protection of animal welfare, but in recent years the Council's focus has shifted to the cow, which is becoming an increasingly 'political' animal.
Hug a Cow Day is thus the latest attempt by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to celebrate Indian heritage by replacing Western holidays. Indeed, the Council's statement reads that 'Vedic traditions are almost on the verge of extinction' under the 'glare of Western civilisation'.
Earlier, Modi had for instance proposed to replace the celebration of Christmas on 25 December with the 'Day of Good Governance' to commemorate the birth of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Indian Prime Minister and one of the most important leaders of the BJP and Hindu nationalism.