NEW DELHI: Even the secularists will find themselves hard put to link this one with the Sangh Pariwar. But the fact that Cuba is breeding cows would definitely give the advocates of Hindutva something to moo about.
In fact, the Sangh which could actually take a cue from the Cubans. According to a report in MIT's Technology Review magazine, Havana recently passed a law under which cow slaughter was made punishable with a jail term.
It is not as if Fidel Castro's beefy regime has developed an overnight fondness for cows. But Cuba hopes cows will help rebuild its economy which is in tatters. Hence, the country has decided to undo some of the damage inflicted in the nineties when an impoverished populace ate up a large chunk of its cattle population.
How will multiplying the cows help the country?
According to the MIT report, Cuban sugar catered to entire globe's sweet tooth before the 90s, but with Russia, India and China starting to produce cheaper sugar in abundance, the country was relegated to a minor player.
Cuban policy-makers then decided to retrain their energies on two rather low-tech strategies for growth: growing cattle stock and boosting tourism.
According to the report, there are two key factors that go in favour of Cuba's newfound love for cattle. Its multiplication policy can work because almost 80 per cent of Cuba has a lush green cover which was once cleared for sugarcane production in the 70s and 80s.
The South American country also gets abundant rain and has no natural predators like wolves and big cats which compete with humans in preying on cows. Its policy-makers therefore find the conditions more suited to raising cattle than agriculture.
The key to this policy, of course, lies in not killing the cattle for a few years, but in letting them breed and multiply for the next several years as part of the exponential growth strategy.
Therefore, Cuba has made it mandatory for its citizens to procure a permit to kill cattle. And getting one is very difficult in the communist country.
Is there a tech lesson here for all similar under-developed countries?
How about an all-party a delegation of Members of Parliament visiting Havana to study the enforcement of the 'ban cow slaughter' legislation? Mooo....