Holy Cow

Madhavikutty, the renowned Malayalm writer, was ahead of her times. Here is a short story she wrote in Malayalam in the sixties. It foretells what’s happening in India now.



One day, while a boy was picking up banana skin from the waste bin and eating it, a cow reached there and grabbed it from him. He pushed the cow aside.

Crying aloud, the cow ran along the road. Suddenly some sanyasis appeared there. They asked the boy: “Are you the one who attacked the holy cow?”

“I did not attack the cow. It grabbed the banana skin I was eating. That is why I tried to scare it away”, said the boy.

“What is your religion?” asked the holy men.

“What is religion?” asked the boy.

“Are you a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian?”

“Do you go to temples?”

“Do you go to mosques and churches?”

“I do not go anywhere” said the child.

“So you do not believe in prayers?” they asked.

Said the child, “I do not have clothes. The backside of my knicker is torn”.

The sanyasis discussed among themselves.

“You must be a Muslim. You attacked the cow”.

“Are you the owners of the cow?” asked the boy.

The sanyasis got angry, strangled him to death and dumped the body in the waste bin.

The sanyasis said in a chorus: “Om Namah Shivaya. May your decision be glorified”.

Translated by A.J. Philip


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