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Why in India cows roam freely in the streets?

india,cow,meat,cows on the streets,temple cows,milk,euthanasia,killing a cow,old cows,untouchables,she-buffaloes,cowsWe just saw why cows are considered as sacred in India; and the advantage of being a God is that you can do what you want when you want where you want... So if a cow wants to be where it is, well it just stays here!

We have the right to blow their ears by honking like mad but not to touch them... Talking of ears, I have a feeling that bovines have not a very developed hearing... Coupled with an overdeveloped nonchalance and you have it… huge traffic jams!


But in the first place, why are they in the streets? 


You can find the cows that belong to temples (they are sacred remember).


But most of them belong to ‘urban farmers’ who provide the daily fresh milk Indians are fond of (because of habit, taste and cost).india,cow,meat,cows on the streets,temple cows,milk,euthanasia,killing a cow,old cows,untouchables,she-buffaloes,cows


And why do their owners leave them in the streets? Because it reduces their food budget! On the one hand they eat garbage (organic waste and not so organic (a downward slide of modernization)) and on the other hand they get fed by people (accomplishing the good deed of feeding a God!).) They gather them for milking...

One might wonder why we see less she-buffaloes roaming around on their own (whereas they are also in the cities where you can see them walking in herds)? They would be dumber than cows and have more difficulties finding their shelter and master...


And then there are the old cows. Which are of no more use. And as it is forbidden to euthanize them, their owners prefer to abandon them in the streets. In addition to this legal explanation, there is also a religious dimension: “Higher castes consider the body of the dead cow polluting; if they do handle it, they must go through a rite of purification.”*


What happens to them then? The out-casts (lower than the low castes), the Untouchables, are called to the rescue to haul away the carcass from which they will take the meat and skin to make leather... 

india,cow,meat,cows on the streets,temple cows,milk,euthanasia,killing a cow,old cows,untouchables,she-buffaloes,cows 



Untouchables, again...

I will finish my story on the “Backwards” (cf )

I have been told that my note was full of contempt and condescension.

But this system is really contemptible!

I will quote here an expert, Marc Boulet who wrote this book “In the skin of an Intouchable” – he basically learned Hindi perfectly, took drugs to get a tan and lived on the street as an Intouchable beggar for months…


“Westerners completely fall for it. They rightly fight racism and anti-Semitism but they see the caste system with a lot of indulgence and consider that it is part of the Indian cultural heritage, like the Tâj Mahal. They don’t get shocked, outraged, by the caste system; it is far away. And I also think that their benevolence comes from the fact they admire the brahman civilisation and they get disgusted by sweepers and other untouchables, altogether with beggars and lepers for whom they only think of a contemptuous charity. […] I am not scared of words anymore. The caste system is a segregationist system, just as Apartheid in South Africa. As revolting, as condemnable.”


Then I had a word about it with Indian friends. This world “backward” was found by the Government after independence. The idea was to create quotas (for education, for public-sector jobs (22.5%), for seats in the parliament (17.5%)) for underprivileged and women. These quotas had been created for 10 years.

When the Government revised it, in the late 80’s, they estimated that the deadline should be extended, created the “Other Backward” class and increased the quotas.

Since mostly “Backwards” vote and they represent more than 50% of the population, the quotas stopped being a temporary solution…

And that upset other people because quotas target only the cast and not the revenue. But you now have rich Untouchables (who get the quotas) and poor Brahmans (who don’t)…

Not easy…


Source : My friends and


And you, what's your little name?

Today we celebrate in India Ambedkar’s birthday (you can google it ; to sum-up he was an untouchable who fought to suppress the cast system and finally converted to Buddhism when he understood it would not happen within Hinduism ; he later on participated to wirtting the Indian Constitution).


Talking about him to a colleague, I heard for the first time that “Ambedkar was a backward”. A what?? Translating in my language, it is just SO insulting!!

Nice to imagine the father seeing his baby for the first time: “you will be a backward my son”…


But that’s not all, the backwards have other nice pet names!


Actually, in India, there are the casts and the other (also called Lower castes).

The Lower castes are divided in 3 :


·         The « Scheduled Castes » (15% of the population) – the dictionary translates « Scheduled Castes » by «privileged classes » (maybe it’s some kind of humour ??). They used to be the untouchables – who call themselves « Dalit » (depressed) and were called by gandhians « Harijan » (children of God – and other people, there are children of whom, mind you?).


·         The « Scheduled Tribes » or « Adivasi » (which means aboriginals): people living in the jungle.


·         The « Backward Classes » (50% of the population) : « This category includes in it castes who belong to Sudra Varna and also former untouchables who converted from Hinduism to other religions. This category also includes in it nomads and tribes who made a living from criminal acts. »


Sometimes these three categories are defined together as Backward Classes.


Today,” untouchability or discriminating a person based on his caste is legally forbidden.”

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