An essay on the cow, a modern approach
Essay writing normally begins with the cow but days have been changed. The cow has gained different features. Children are also advanced. Before writing an essay on the cow they may ask - which cow? Local or foreign? Malvi or Holstein Friesian? Male or female? Black or white? Skeleton cows of rural Bengal or healthy cows of farm? Mahesh of Sharatchandra or the cows of Iswar Gupta's famous hymn -"You mother Kalpataru, we are all pet cows / We have not learnt to bend the horns / We will only eat hay and grass."
Regarding two horns of the cow question arises - long or short? Straight or curve? Bankimchandra wrote - "Strength of ox lies within its horns-"A giant cow of Texas has set a Guinness world record having the longest horns measuring hooping 10 feet 7 inches. So, the matter is not so easy. The cow lives on grass but which one? Grass that grows everywhere or Napier? Dry or wet? Compact or cut into pieces? Grass of Jeevananda or Rabindranath? Similar to the cow human beings also eat grass (vegetables belong to grass species). Understanding Jeevananda is difficult. He wrote - "I want to drink the smell of this grass like yellow wine in glasses." So, things are gradually growing complex.
Even a few years back the cow was used for ploughing field, threshing paddy and pulling carts. Staying behind cows Men were drivers but those days are gone. A report of the Anandabazar informs that, "�leaving field cows in tales climbed the tree but now the country is bowing before it. When blindfolded the cow walks along the paved road. Similarly, a group of blindfolded people are also doing that same thing. So, going behind the cow is not humiliating now."
Loosing Burmese box Podipisi (aunt Podi) of Leela Mamjunder went to search it raising the tail of a cow. Just then the cow kicked on her knees. Once, on her way to uncle Nimai's house, she was attacked by robbers. Getting down from the palanquin Podipisi groaned, "My men are almost half dead. What about my cows? Now you carry me on your shoulders to the house of Nimai." Hearing this, the robbers fell at her feet (because this Nimai was their boss) and requested, "Please, don't say anything to NimaiSardar." Shrewd Podipisi understood that secret had been leaked and filled her Burmese box with rubies, emeralds and diamonds from Nimai's robbery store but situation is different now? If anybody happens to know state secret his place is certainly custody. That famous story of Churchill may be repeated here. It is said that during World War II a man was arrested for calling Churchill a fool. Opponents shouted in parliament - "Is it a police-state?" Churchill replied that the man was arrested not for calling him a fool but for divulging state secrets during war.
We don't know what happened to the fate of cows of Podipisi's cart but look the horse. The horse reigns irresistibly in racecourse, war and films. Think of that chariot race in Oscar winner film Ben Hur. Two world famous actors Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd were chariot fighters with white (Charlton Heston) and black (Stephen Boyd) horses. Horse riding was essential in police department, army and administration in British India. Images of horse rider policemen (male and female) are place in front of many police establishments. Equestrian is a very enjoyable and aristocratic game in and outside the Olympics. Can anybody forget that wooden horse of Troy? Netaji on horse is a symbol of pride of the Bengalees. Looking at the horse riding scene of Kangana in Queen of Jhansi spectators shouted but someone silently disclosed that it was a mechanical horse. So, the horse (not cat) came out of the bag. Statues of the horse are found in many places of the world but it could not attain godhood like Indian cows. Though a symbol of heroism and strength the horse is not fortunate enough to be carrier of any Indian god whereas the cow (rat, cat, owl also) has attained that credit. An ox is the carrier of Lord Shiv. Sri Krishna, holding flute in hand and leaning against a cow, is a familiar picture.
The cow gives us milk which is an ideal nutrition and essential material for dairy farms but the cow gives money in other ways also. Cows were used for smuggling gold in Indo-Bangladesh border. Cross border cattle trading (legal and illegal) was a profitable business not only to smugglers but also for persons responsible for preventing smuggling. The Tribune (Kolkata) reported on 17th November, 2020 that The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Satish Kumar, a BSF commandant, for his alleged involvement in a cattle smuggling racket operating at the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
In 2019 Government of India imposed a ban on cattle export to Bangladesh. A media report informs that Bangladesh, once highly dependent on Indian cattle, is almost self-reliant to meet its own demand, Professor Atiur Rahman, former governor Bangladesh Bank commented, "The demand was so big that at times the border guards were compelled to turn an informal trade to a formal one charging taxes locally." The Indian government's crackdown on cattle smuggling through India-Bangladesh border helped Bangladesh attain self-sufficiency. A large number of farmers and traders got engaged in cattle rearing reducing dependence on import.
Stealing cow is a common matter but the case of milkmaid Prasanna and opium addict Kamalakanta's appearance at court to testify in that case is incomparable in Bengali literature.From 1971 to 1977 election symbol of Indian National Congress led by Indira Gandhi was a cow and a calf. On 3rd April 2021 a bull infiltrated into a procession of Mamata Banerjee in Howrah and revelled for five minutes. Police and people got perspired to control it. However, its political identity remained unknown. Is it possible for schoolboys to preserve all these matters properly in memory? Anybody believes or not it doesn't matter to the cow but we must admit that writing an essay on cow is not so easy now.
The writer is a former
Commissioner of Taxes