The truth is that the fascination for cow-related cure cuts across party lines in India.
For example, Oscar Fernandes, an important Congress leader, in the upper house of Indian Parliament extolled “the virtues of ‘gaumutra‘ and shared an anecdote about a man claiming to have cured his cancer by drinking cow urine to drive his point home”.
This happened as late as 18 March 2020. Months earlier another Congress lawmaker from Maharashtra had spoken how cow removes negativity.
In reality, both the high voltage reports by Krishnan seemed to indulge more in ballistic polemics against Hindutva than actually reporting the facts.
In The Atlantic article, Krishnan brings in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. The CAA which brings relief to persecuted religious minorities in India’s neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is in no way discriminatory to Muslims in India.
In 1971, Hindus in East Pakistan underwent a genocide. If anything, the recent massacre of Sikhs in Afghanistan with the message to go back to India has demonstrated clearly the need for the CAA.
Yet Islamist politicians in India, hands in gloves with pro-Islamist left radicals, instigated nationwide protests. These protests with slogans calling for ‘freedom from kafirs’ and ‘no god but Allah’ led to riots in Delhi. This was perfectly timed to align with the visit of the President of the United States.
The riots saw gruesome killing of many Hindus and was in no way a one-sided pogrom.
But Krishnan has no qualms about presenting a distorted picture of the events as CAA being discriminatory, and Delhi riots being pogroms against the Muslims.
She makes these CAA-related Islamist responses and violence as the basis for writing about Indian government handling the Covid-19 pandemic. But she fails to mention how the anti-CAA protesters continued to defy social distancing in the capital and had to be cleared by the police.
One can contrast with such biased reports by Krishnan with a more balanced report that appeared in Science (‘1.3 billion people. A 21-day lockdown. Can India curb the coronavirus?’, Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, 31 March 2020).
The article explains in detail the measures undertaken by the Modi government – the announcement of “nearly $23 billion economic package on 26 March to support the poor, providing rations of grains and pulses, free cooking gas cylinders to 83 million families, and cash transfers of $6.65 a month to about 200 million women for the next 3 months”.
Though it says that according to “many observers” it “is too little – less than 1 per cent of India’s gross domestic product”, at least the article attempts to provide an unbiased version.
While discussing the criticism on the lockdown by those like Ravi Duggal, a public health activist, the article also points out this: