The Indian government’s campaign to promote Cow Hug Day as an alternative to Valentine’s Day was abruptly canceled on Friday after facing widespread criticism and ridicule on social media.
The Indian government has proposed a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by embracing cows in a new event called “Cow Hug Day.”
The Idea of Cow Hug Day
In recent years, Valentine’s Day, which has its roots in a Christian celebration, has gained popularity among younger Indians. On this day, people celebrate by giving one another presents and flowers and spend special time together to honor their love for each other.
However, the event has been met with hostility from adherents of the Hindu religion who believe that it promotes immorality and obscene conduct among younger generations. Some extreme vigilantes have also torched greeting card businesses and attacked couples holding hands.
The public responded swiftly and negatively to the plan, and a significant number of individuals took to social media in order to voice their disbelief and annoyance with the situation.
Indian Animal Welfare Department
The country’s animal welfare department, which is run by the government, stated that the “Cow Hug Day” celebration is aimed at preserving India’s Vedic traditions and cultural heritage, which are in danger of being lost due to the impact of Western culture.
“Vedic traditions are almost on the verge of extinction due to the progress of [Western] culture. The dazzle of Western civilization has made our physical culture and heritage almost forgotten,” the Animal Welfare Department said.
Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism and are often associated with motherhood. Many Indian states, including Delhi, have banned the slaughter of cattle.
The proposal to celebrate Cow Hug Day is part of the growing trend of Hindu nationalism in India. This is the idea that the Hindu faith and culture should influence the state and its policies.
Increasing Number of Cow Vigilantes
Over the last several years, India has also witnessed a rise in the number of people who are referred to as “cow vigilantes.” These individuals target members of minority communities who are active in the cattle trade.
According to a report published by Human Rights Watch in 2019, cow vigilante groups were responsible for the deaths of at least 44 persons between the years 2015 and 2018, including 36 Muslims.
To all Bhakts,
Your superiors have withdrawn their previous order. You don't have to celebrate "Cow Hug Day" on 14 Feb. pic.twitter.com/vP7vZ8CqUF
— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) February 10, 2023
Political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay criticized the introduction of Cow Hug Day. She describe it as “depressing” and an erasure of the line between the state and religion.
“The unfortunate part is this has now official sanction,” Nilanjhan Mukhopadhyay said. “This shows an [erasure] of one more line between the state and religion, which is very depressing. Now the state is doing what political and religious groups have been campaigning to do.”
He said that the introduction of this celebration with official sanction shows the increasing influence of political and religious groups on the state.