As a hindu, and as one who believes in the sacredness of every living being, I don’t see any conflict at all in the decision taken by the British authorities. Given that sufficient due diligence was done and the action was not the result of some arbitrary fiat, I don’t see what the fuss is!
Leave an infected animal around and more sacred, and non-sacred, animals would meet their maker! It seems to me that as any system gets more and more guided by a written word of law, common sense slowly bleeds to death.
And add to it the idea of right to practice religion, however counter intuitive to the law of the present times and immediate cultural mores, you begin to see a recipe for disaster in the making.
Certain religions and spiritual systems have been lucky enough to have modernist reformers, who have reinterpreted old laws and customs in the light of current needs, but way too many systems have not gotten around to it as yet. Practices and notions that were formulated many hundred of years ago in a very localized region, are thrust upon the rest of the world as the very way mandated by God, and whoever does not obey them will be subject to very bad things.
Dharma, or the law of being and existence, is said to be a very complex phenomenon. To be in alignment with the universal law of existence must, by its very scope, be out of purview for much of humanity. In the Gita, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna how he may recognize a man of perfection, a soul whose being is aligned with the Supreme Self in Samadhi. I quote this passage from Sri Aurobindo‘s Essays on the Gita –
Arjuna, voicing the average human
mind, asks for some outward, physical, practically discernible sign of this great Samadhi; how does such a man speak, how sit, how walk? No such signs can be given, nor does the Teacher attempt to supply them; for the only possible test of its possession is inward and that there are plenty of hostile psychological forces to apply. Equality is the great stamp of the liberated soul and of that equality even the most discernible signs are still subjective.
Now, my point is this – if there are going to be no outward signs of perfect beings and most discernible signs are subjective, then may be we should take the words of so called intermediaries between the individual and God with a pinch of salt. All values and systems that have been propounded, especially by so called religious systems, have to be reevaluated and tested in the crucible of life and recast into forms suitable for our forward march into the future.
But alas humanity is fond of forms- it cherishes the images of loved ones, hoards its petty trinkets and continues to cavort with the corpse of form long after the spirit has fled.