Holy Cow

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No, literally. One of the ongoing problems India has is the religious custom of letting cows – and bulls – roam free in increasingly crowded cities. Incidents between the animals, considered sacred, and people are on the rise. The latest incident had a bull pretty much running out of control through the city center of New Delhi for seven hours. A number of people were injured during the rampage.

Cows are revered as sacred in predominantly Hindu India, and thousands roam freely through the streets of cities, often seen walking busy roads, sleeping on dividers, grazing on trash and leaving trails of dung.

But letting an estimated 28,000 beasts compete for space with New Delhi's 14 million residents creates problems, and several people have been killed in recent years by rampaging bovines.

Sunday's ordeal started when overeager security personnel tried to shoo the bull from a route to be used for VIP traffic, angering the animal, the Press Trust of India news agency reported Monday.

The bull ran down roads charging groups of people and scattering crowds in a frenzy that took it through some of the city's busiest streets, markets and the entrance area to the Regal Cinema.

It calmed down after several hours, but attempts by police to lasso it from the back of a truck set it of again, The Indian Express newspaper reported.

The second run took the bull through the grounds of a YWCA hostel and a prominent temple.

I have no idea if there is a way to reconcile the religious beliefs with the facts of modern life or not. If not, this problem will simply continue to grow.

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2 Responses to Holy Cow

  1. ck says:

    Since they can’t burn young widows anymore, perhaps they could substitute a cow? Mmmm BBQ.

  2. Black Jack says:

    Actually, ck isn’t too wide of the mark. Because there is very little fuel available in traditional Indian cities and towns, the cows provide a necessary service. They wander about and leave deposits of combustibles hither and yon, which the locals use for heating and cooking. Religious restrictions prevent the cows from ending up on ck’s menu.

    The system has functioned efficiently for hundreds of years. Outsiders see cows, and quaint religious taboos, but locals see free fuel to heat their homes and cook their meals.

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