“You will be astonished if I tell you that according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef.”
The beef issue has become a talking point in our country in the past few months, starting with the Maharashtra Animal Preservation bill, which banned the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate. In October 2015, a man was ruthlessly lynched in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh by a mob that believed he possessed beef. Shortly after that, a 30-member police team illegally entered the canteen of Kerala house to search for beef. Beef sale was outlawed in Jammu and Kashmir after a Public Interest Litigation was filed that contended that slaughtering and sale of bovine animals was rampant in certain parts of the state and affected the religious sentiments of a section of the society.
This week, a student film, called, ‘Caste on the Menu Card’ was not allowed to be screened at the Jeevika Film Festival by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting because the synopsis of the film mentioned the word ‘beef’, further fuelling the debate around beef. Despite not getting clearance, the jury of the film festival awarded the film two prizes, ‘Best Student Documentary’ and ‘Jeevika Freedom Award’. The film looks at the paradigm of beef consumption within the caste hierarchy in Mumbai.