We already know that cows—and the consumption of their flesh—is quite the touchy subject in India. Between the recent legislation criminalizing beef and the ongoing wrestling with the nation's meat-eating Muslim population, there has been ever-growing beef over beef in the nation for decades, particularly in the western state of Maharashtra.
But now, Hindu nationalists are turning their sights towards another cow-sourced food: the milk of Jersey cows, which are henceforth being pegged as evil, crime-spawning hell-creatures.
Wait, Jersey cows? Those sweet-looking copper-colored ones with big brown eyes and Precious Moments-esque eyelashes?
Yep. Those are the demons that expel poison-laced milk and are responsible for teenage delinquency and other unsavory deeds.
According to the UK's Telegraph, a well-known Hindu nationalist named Shankar Lal who is a leader in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—a group that counts Prime Minister Narendra Modi among its members—is at the forefront of a new movement encouraging India's middle and upper classes to maintain their own set of Indian—and only Indian—cows. Mix in some English varieties, such as the Jersey cow, and you'll experience the wrath of their demonic properties.
The RSS hopes that by encouraging wealthier Indians to care for their own cows, they'll improve animal welfare, create a more cow-friendly culture, and prevent the animals from walking through dirty urban areas and eating plastic bags, laundry detergent, and other street garbage that can contaminate their milk. Additionally, these newfound cow owners could enjoy the higher-quality milk and medicines derived from the dung and urine of their herd.
The RSS has previously encouraged drinking cows' urine like soda—to prevent bad breath and cancer—and using their dung as home flooring and body scrub. ("It kills all the germs and bacteria and heals wounds," RSS researcher Kasari Gumat told The Telegraph in 2010. "And dry cow dung is a great scrub to get rid of dead skin and improve blood circulation.")
According to Shankar Lal, Indian breeds of cow are saatvik—meaning "virtuous"—and foster healthy milk with positive health and mental benefits, but Jersey cows—with their "devil in the milk" and "poisonous particles"—encourage children to break the law and pursue delinquent activities.
The RSS has also had success in previous regional campaigns to end the slaughter of cows for beef due to its noncompliance with Hindu belief and practice.
Improved animal welfare is certainly worth applauding for any reason. But as to whether the paneer made from the milk of doe-eyed Jerseys will turn your children into poisoned hellions, that might be more easily tied to some good old fashioned crappy parenting.