India Urges Citizens to 'Hug a Cow' on Valentine's Day

Image copyright: Shutterstock [via The Guardian]

The Facts

  • The government-run Animal Welfare Board of India is encouraging citizens to mark Valentine's Day as "Cow Hug Day" to promote Hindu values, saying on Wednesday that it will "bring emotional richness and increase individual and collective happiness."

  • As India's economy has liberalized over the past decade, young people have increasingly celebrated Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, through romantic gestures like giving flowers, teddy bears, and heart-shaped gifts.

The Spin

Narrative A

India's democratic boom over the last decade is rapidly distancing from the multicultural and multiethnic foundation it was built upon. The beauty of India since its independence from the UK was that it allowed Hindu, Muslim, and secular beliefs to flourish side-by-side. The nation's constitution was written with those values in mind, but the current regime has sadly used its popularity to go directly against the founders' wishes.

Narrative B

Cows are the backbone of India's majority-Hindu tradition, which is under attack as Western influence grows. This innocent initiative is a light-hearted way of reminding the population of that fact and honoring Vedic traditions, all while bringing emotional and mental health benefits to those who partake.

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