Thursday, December 18, 2008
INDIA VACATION 2007
SACRED COWS OF INDIA
Cows are sacred in India. The origins of this belief are lost in history, but, even today, it is forbidden to harm them. Drivers will make dangerous moves to avoid hitting a cow on the street or highway.
Cows are to be seen everywhere: sleeping on the street, feeding in a rubbish pile, or taking a leisurely stroll through a railway station. It is thought that veneration of the cow has its roots in the animal's historic role as an essential support for human life and in being the most valuable possession of most people. The cow provided milk, the bullock provided transport, and dung was the major source of fuel.
Cows continue to play a key role today, especially in rural India. While the animals are able to fulfill these functions, people care for and feed them. Tragically, when they have aged, they are abandoned and forced to forage for their food. Hence, the common sight of the cow on the rubbish heap.