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‘Cow’webs Of India: It’s Time To Let The Dancing Skeletons In The Hindu Closet Out

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By Kanika Sori

There is a certain narrative gaining major currency in the public discourse nowadays: Hindus always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow. Only the first half of that contention is true. In fact Hindus used to sacrifice and consume beef on such huge scale during both Vedic and post-Vedic age that Buddhism was born out of sheer disgust at the amount of animal bloodshed for Hindu rituals and sacrifices, way more than the consumption requirement of the population. But this still wasn’t a call for vegetarianism in the name of Ahimsa; Buddhists continue to eat beef till date. So do many Hindu castes and communities. The only real vegetarians in India were Jains. That Hindus, both Brahmins and non-Brahmins, never ate beef is an outright lie!

holy cow beef ban india

Vegetarianism was a much later adopted strategy by Brahmin and Bania castes to establish Brahminical supremacy over Buddhism. The claim of the militant Hindu gang that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar endorsed the Hindutva project and opposed beef-eating is yet another lie. He advocated Dalits to convert to beef-eating Buddhism. Ambedkar rigorously studied Rig Veda, Satapatha Brahmana, Dharma Sutras and even Buddhist literature to demonstrate just how prevalent beef eating was among Indo-Aryans. In a brilliant essay titled ‘Did Hindus Never Eat Beef?‘ he meticulously argues all of these points with specific citations for anybody facing too much of cognitive dissonance after reading this.

The State Dictates: What Does Communism Share With Indian Communalism?

Historian D.D. Kosambi notes in ‘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.” 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. Albeit on shaky economic grounds, 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. To deny people the right to eat their traditional diet is the denial of the right to live with dignity and without fear. The ban on cow slaughtering and the violent cow protection movement – where a ‘legal’ ban exists – are nothing short of state-sponsored caste and religion-based discrimination.

Believe It Or Not: Who Eats Beef And Who Doesn’t Is NOT Based On Religion

The ‘holy cow’ myth is just food fascism. This culinary politics is nothing but an attempt to wipe out cultural identities other than Brahmins, be it Dalits, Shudras, tribals, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians or any other distinct group. In fact, eating habits are not just an outcome of religion in India. As outlined in recently concluded Anthropological Survey of India, a social group’s geography and economic activity have a greater effect on food habits than individual religion. The study shows that most communities in Kerala (72 to be precise) prefer beef to the expensive mutton. In Rajasthan, on the other hand, live the Rabaris, a Muslim community reputed to be the finest breeders of cattle in the country. They revere cows and shun beef.

The tragedy is that while the forces of militant Hinduism are persuading Keralites to go easy on beef, the Maulvis are campaigning among the Rabaris to start eating it. It is unlikely that such canvassing will succeed given historical experience with alcohol. So much is the extent of sharing between different religions and communities whose leaders are forever battling each other. More worryingly, the food-fascism cuts across political parties and beef-eating remains an uncomfortable issue to most upper-caste vegetarian intellectuals and non-beef eating liberals. They are hardly likely to admit their wars have been meaningless. As the papers start appearing, IF they’re not swept under the carpet, the conscience-keepers will scream slander; politicians will play up the differences and sundry hypocrites will refuse to accept the fact that they share human vices as well as virtues with their countrymen.

The Shameless Murder Of Human Rights In The 21st Century

To think that Muhammad Akhlaq was lynched to death by a mob in Dadri recently for a meticulously shaped lie ingrained by planned indoctrination over  many years is too tragic to even put to words. It’s worse to know that there have been innumerable murders by such individual as well as group vigilantism in the past for the same myth. This cultural imperialism has rendered meaningless the very concept of human rights. This is a crime against humanity perfectly fitting the category of ethnic cleansing. The moral compass of the country seems to have gone for a toss in the environment of cultivated hatred when Ministers seek to protect criminals, call them innocent and seek to justify their crimes shamelessly. And there is no leader of any substance and courage in sight willing to drive the country out of this mess. Is there no one to put such politicians and their rogue gangs in their right place: the prison? Are we that broken? Are we at a point where only a UN intervention can ensure justice and put an end to this criminal design? Maybe we are.

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  1. Sujay Rao Mandavilli

    The bulk of the Rig Veda was compiled between 1650 BC and 1380 BC – this tallies perfectly with all mainstream theories.
    There is no need to revise any dates.
    Yet, all aspects of Indian culture can be explained logically and wonderfully.
    Read my papers with the maps
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sujay_Rao_Mandavilli/contributions
    STOP HINDUTVA REVISION OF HISTORY NOW!

    Sujay Rao Mandavilli

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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