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

    India Urges Citizens to 'Hug a Cow' on Valentine's Day
    Last updated Feb 09, 2023
    Image credit: Shutterstock [via The Guardian]


    • 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.
    • Due to the "progress of 'West' culture over time," the Board says Hindu traditions are "almost on the verge of extinction." However, the board added that "it's just an appeal to cow lovers" and that it hasn't "planned any special event around it."
    • The Board also emphasized that the policy has been approved by India's multiple animal welfare departments. It also follows the state of Haryana's Chief Minister's directive last year to have "at least one hospital in each district of the state for timely treatment and care of stray cows injured in road accidents."
    • The cow is a highly polarising and political animal in India. Considered a sacred animal in Hinduism, cow slaughter is banned in most Indian states, leading to frequent clashes erupting between Muslims and Hindus.


    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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