Cows are worshipped.. Literally as gods. They are decorated, they are blessed, they are patted, they are fed, they are allowed to roam the streets and go wherever they like. It is ILLEGAL to kill a cow. They are considered the highest life form – even higher than humans, and are to be revered.
But, at the same time, they are, for want of a better word, considered to be a pest…
They will quite happily stand or mingle or sleep in the middle of a road, or highway. They will block narrow paths. They will steal food from market stalls.
And, well the locals don’t like that very much. Whilst being worshipped and loved, they are also beeped at by cars, beaten with sticks, kicked, punched, chased, and quite honestly, abused… It’s a strange sight to see. Something I can’t quite get my head around.
They are such peaceful animals, so different to the cattle cows back home. To see them just chilling out, happy to be patted, sometimes asking to be patted, is a beautiful thing. Seeing them being abused by the same people who worship them is hard to watch. But its even harder to watch them eating plastic off the ground. India isn’t the cleanest country. Even areas where the roads and paths are swept clean of rubbish, its usually just piled up in one area rather than actually being taken away. And that is where you will find a lot of cows, eating old food scraps along with the plastic bag it was disposed of. So many of the cows are so sickly thin, probably with plastic entangled in their intestines. And yet nobody cares. People will feed the holy cow food still in it’s plastic bag. Knowing, or maybe not caring that they are in fact killing the animal that they are worshipping.
It’s so contradictory and so common, and something that we truly struggle to understand.