Nepal, an ancient state, of culture and heritage, has a large number of things that identify us. From religion to tolerance, from peace advocacy to brave warriors, Nepal has been successful in forming an unmatchable identity around the world. Same goes with its national Animal, Cow, the symbol of motherhood, nurture, and love. Being a country with a rich heritage that advocates peace and love, the culture of Nepal has enforced great attention to the animal world. This is clearly reflected by the National Animal of Nepal, the Cow, which is not only recognized as the national Animal but mainly protected from slaughter and violence of any kind.
One of the significant association with Cow in Nepal is definitely a religion. While Nepal is a secular state, the majority that lives here follows the Hindu religion. It is the Hindu faith that drives this love and devotion towards Cow. Nepalese people worship the Cow as the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. Another significance of the national Animal for the Nepalese people, who are mainly engaged in agriculture, is the representation of wealth and fertility. It is believed that worshipping goddess Laxmi can bring you an enormous amount of wealth. With Cow being represented as the goddess herself, it is inevitable that Nepalese people value the Animal and believe in worshipping it. This belief is celebrated to the extent that Cow is worshipped on Laxmi Puja, a celebration primarily dedicated to worshipping goddess Laxmi.
These values are held by the Nepalese people as well as the government very highly. As of the new constitution, killing a cow is strictly prohibited by the law in Nepal. Besides this, the purest and most nutritious product, Cow’s milk, and dairy products play essential parts in the households in Nepal. These products are deemed as pure and holy and often used in religious rituals of the Hindu culture. In a more economic perspective, Butter and ghee obtained from Cow’s milk are exported to India. This also adds to the revenue of the nation.
Cow: National Animal of Nepal
The body of cows is thought to represent nearly 330 million gods and goddesses inside them. The National Animal of Nepal represents abundance, fertility, symbolizes the mother, and provides milk and several other products. It is defined and protected by the law in Nepal. Hence, killing or mistreating a Cow isn’t merely considered a sin but also a punishable offence. Consequently, it is recognized as the National Animal of Nepal.
Legend has it that Surabhi was sent to Earth by Lord Krishna, one of the names of the worshipped Cow, to feed the kids and create a link between the heavenly and human worlds. Similarly, between the fifth and sixth centuries of our civilization, the notion of Ahimsa arose, and in about 200 AD, cows were already prohibited from being harmed or murdered. Scientists, therefore, noted that this occurred under the impact of a general religious concept of people living in a specific region of the world.
Looking at a more technical perspective for this subject, Cow dung is used as a fuel, also as a fertilizer, as an insulator, as a mosquito repellent, and as a building material. This certainly adds value to the Animal and its products. Similarly, it also uses urine as a chemical liquid that destroys bacteria. A cola drink that is produced from medicinal herbs and cow urine has lately been introduced on the market. In the advancing era where everyone is leaning towards healthy and organic alternatives, the Cow can definitely be a lot more valuable than it is today. These are some of the significant reasons why Cow has been announced as the National Animal of Nepal.
Since When Was Cow Worshipped As The National Animal Of Nepal?
Nepal has always given Cow a high significance in the cultural, religious, and national aspect. Since as early as 1962 AD, Cow has been recognized as the domestic Animal of Nepal. Nepal was proclaimed the Rajashi Hindu nation for the first time in the 1962 AD Constitution of Nepal. The newly established 2015 constitution also recognized Cow as Nepal’s national Animal, the already sacred and national Animal.
Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah of the Kingdom of Gorkha united the smaller states and founded modern Nepal. The term Gorkha itself came from the Sanskrit word Gaurakshya, meaning the protection of Cow. This shows the Animal’s link not just to the religion and ordinary people like farmers, but rulers included.
Some Hindrances Before Declaring Cow As The National Animal Of Nepal Under A New Constitution
Nepal is a secular country with tolerance and respect for each religion that reside here. A cow is revered in the Hindu religion as an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. However, it is not regarded as their mother by Christians, Muslims, and other faiths. This has created a lot of conflict in the formation and implementation of the law. In reality, people of different religion have raised voices against the ban on the slaughter of the Cow. As it is the Hindu tradition not to kill a cow, it is justified that people of other religions are trying to access the right to what their religion allows. As we are leaning more towards the western influence and adopting modern civilizations, people have questioned the ban justifying their argument with the western traditions.
Nearly fifty representatives of the Constituent Assembly that consist of Nepal’s Dalit minorities have demanded that the country’s national Animal should be substituted to the one-horned rhinoceros. One-horned rhinoceros could be a national animal, better suited to the country’s secular representation and assist preserve the animals’ presence in the nation. As the one-horned rhino becomes more and more scarce in Nepal, this proposal seems like an appropriate solution to the issue while also valuing and representing the diversity in the culture of Nepal.
However, at the core, we are living in a country where significant values of the country are far more critical. This makes it clear that the ban is necessary for the context of our nation’s culture and history.
The Cow is one of the most sacred animals in Nepal, both in the sense of religion and nationality. We cannot think of a better emblem than the symbol of nurture and motherhood itself. Not only does the national Animal of Nepal represents Hinduism and its values, but it also encompasses Nepal and the whole of our cultures and ethical norms. As advocates of peace and love, I believe the Cow is the perfect representation as a National animal of Nepal. It is crucial that we understand the value of the Animal instead of just limiting it to the name of the National Animal.