The optional exam will be held annually, mainly for pupils and students, although the general public can take it, said Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA), an agency set up in 2012 to protect cows at the Ministry of Fisheries, Livestock and Dairy.
“The science of cows needs to be explored,” said RKA President Valabhai Katyria said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I’m a cancer surgeon myself, so I can confirm that.”
“Even if the cow does not produce milk, cow dung and urine are so valuable,” he added.
An opposition member of the Indian National Congress, Priyank Harge, criticized the move on Twitter.
Cows are a controversial topic in India and many among the majority of the country’s Hindu population consider the animal sacred. Most countries have banned their slaughter.
The political impetus for enforcing these bans has increased since Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party is strongly attached to conservative Hindu nationalists – came to power in 2014.
Clean and smart
RKA has released a 54-page exam study guide that includes topics such as “religious significance” and “medical significance” of cows.
“The cow is a living heritage not only of the Hindus, but also of humanity,” the document said. “In world traditions, the cow means fertility, prosperity and life and is often called the mother-ancestor, perhaps because it is the first mammal domesticated by man.”
The document states that the large-scale slaughterhouse leads to large earthquakes, an unproven claim that suggests that the pain emitted by a massacre may generate enough stress to trigger a seismic response.
In addition, it is stated that local (Indian) cows produce the best quality milk on earth compared to ‘exotic cows’.
“The quality is not good at all, but the quantity is more,” says the Jersey cow. a breed that is usually associated with high-quality creamy milk.
According to the document, local cows are “smart enough not to sit in dirty places” and are also more emotional than Jersey cows. “Whenever a stranger approaches a desi (Indian) cow, she will stop immediately,” the document said.
A propaganda tool?
“After the rise of the far-right government in India, the cow has become a political animal,” Ghosh said. “The cow is used as a tool to divide people, and the exam is seen as a way to put the cow on a pedestal. These politicians are not interested in cows, only in politics.”
During Modi’s national election campaign in 2014, he promised to end the “pink revolution” – a phrase he uses to describe the slaughter of cattle across the country.
Other BJP lawmakers have taken a step forward.
“I promised to break the arms and legs of those who do not consider cows to be their mothers and kill them,” said Vikram Saini, Uttar Pradesh’s legislator, at an event in March 2017.