In Hinduism, the most widely followed religion of India, cows are viewed as a sacred symbol that should be respected and protected. In the Hindu scripture, Vedas, it tells followers not to harm animals in any way and for this reason they live a life free of meat consumption. The scripture also celebrates cows for the milk and nutrients they provide. It concludes that because of this ability, cows should be treated as a maternal figure. Due to this, cows are able to meander freely without fearing harm or mistreatment. In some places of the country, people are sentenced to death if they are caught with cow meat in their possession.
Growing up in a small farming community in Southeastern Minnesota, I have always had a strong appreciation for cows and the beneficial resources they provide to humans and the environment. After working on a dairy farm milking cows during my freshman and sophomore year of high school this love was only magnified.
Prior to this trip to India, I had only been out of the United States one time. I spent a week in Costa Rica with my Spanish club in 2015 traveling around different parts of the country. This being said, making the decision to come to India for a month was one that required a lot of thought and contemplation. In the end, the pros out weighted the cons and I hopped on a plane feeling more than excited to soon be immersed in a new and incredibly rich culture.
On January 4th, our first full day in India, I encountered my first cow roaming the streets streets of Delhi. Like a little kid on Christmas morning, I was so excited. Forget the worry and stress, forget the uncertainty, forget the jet lag. Here, in the middle of this chaotic city filled with millions of people stands a single cow aimlessly wandering the crowded streets. Here, in a completely overwhelming foreign place filled with new people and a new culture, I found a little piece of home.