Friday, May 11, 2012

Sacred Cows

An interesting read 

The construction of today’s India as a vegetarian-loving and cow-praying country is an outright lie and a false cultural-propaganda by right-wing upper caste forces to oppress Dalits, lower-castes and Muslims. Culinary politics and contact with animals play a huge role in establishing purity-pollution rules to discriminate people in the caste system. In today’s independent India, the beef-hating Brahmanical vegetarianism made cow slaughtering and beef-eating not only a taboo, but also illegal in many states of India. It has even secured a supportive-protection in the Indian constitution: Article 48 of the Indian constitution directs the State to take necessary steps for prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves. Many Indian states have banned cow-slaughtering and selling beef is not permitted in public. Beef sellers and buyers in those states have to conduct their trade like drug-dealers. In Delhi, the cow protection enforcement team visits supermarkets to ensure beef is off the shelves.

 Despite all these forceful bans go to prove that India has a significant beef-eating population. In fact, that consumption of beef and buffalo meat together top the list of highest meat consumption in India. Annually, India produces an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of buffalo meat, of which only 24% is exported. This year India will also overtake the United States as the world’s third largest beef exporter. The vegetarian image is also now part of India Inc. and exported to the world. It is a false-representation of millions of people’s every day politics and food practices.

 Cow was neither sacred nor unconsumable by Brahmans according to D.N.Jha who has studied Rigveda in detail. This vedic scripture – written roughly between 1100 and 1700 BC – has frequent references to the cooking of ox meat for every day consumption and offering to gods. Jha’s The myth of the holy cow, offers detailed evidence that ox, bull and cow were both killed in public sacrifices and domestically slaughtered to be consumed in every-day life. Later, Buddhism and Jainism became critical of ritual and public sacrifices of animals and introduced ahimsa (non-violence). According to Ambedkar – Dalit leader, architect of Indian constitution and a strong critique of Gandhi’s ideals – ‘the clue to the worship of the cow is to be found in the struggle between Buddhism and Brahmanism’, a strategy to establish its Brahmanical supremacy over Buddhism.This explains why Ambedkar advocated Dalits to convert to Buddhism.

The historian D.D. Kosambi pointed out in his work The culture and civilisation of Ancient Indian (1964), “A modern orthodox Hindu would place beef-eating on the same level as cannibalism, whereas Vedic Brahmins had fattened upon a steady diet of sacrificed beef.”

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