India plans mass online national cow science test
India will hold a mass nationwide online “cow science” exam next month, in the latest push by the Hindu nationalist government to promote and protect the sacred animal, officials said on Wednesday.
The hour-long test on February 25, open to children and adults as well as foreigners, comprises 100 multiple-choice questions in Hindi, English and 12 regional languages.
The aim is to assess the public’s knowledge and “sensitize and educate” them, according to the RKA cow protection agency created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.
“Certificates will be given to all. Successful meritorious candidates will be given prizes and certificates,” the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said.
“The cow is full of science and economics. People are not aware of the true economic and scientific value of the animal,” RKA chief Vallabhbhai Kathiria said.
Accompanying study material released by the RKA includes information on different breeds of cow as well as the theory that slaughtering animals causes earthquakes.
Many from India’s overwhelming Hindu majority consider cows sacred but under Modi’s rule the animal has increasingly become a political and sectarian flashpoint.
His government has made cows a top priority and invested millions of dollars in programs to protect the animal and research the uses for bovine dung and urine.
Cow-slaughter and eating beef has become illegal in many parts of the culturally diverse and officially secular country.
There have been a string of attacks by vigilante Hindu groups on Muslims and low-caste Hindus who have traditionally eaten beef and disposed of cow carcasses.