Homo sapiens are one of the worlds newest species which is only 200,000 years old in the grand 4.5 billion years history of the earth. We, as a society, learnt eating crop products only 20,000 years back. So for most part of mankinds history humans were non vegetarian. I am giving this argument here not to justify any eating habits but to show that as a species, we have evolved, and this evolution was on the basis of requirements and choices. Humans have evolved, but never forcefully; it has always been a slow and adaptable process.
So what has changed now that people are going crazy over ones food preference? Most people argue that it is related to Hindu sentiments and cow is sacred in Hindu religion. Yes, for most people cow is sacred and considered as mother. I would like to put a disclaimer here that many people against eating cows are themselves non-vegetarian. Many argue that we cannot take any animals life to eat its flash. But this argument is also flawed, since science has proven that even plants have life; they breathe, grow and feel pain. So what we as thinking, mature and conscious society should eat?
Science is no way far out in its assertion, because there are contradictory studies available in favor of both vegetarian and non vegetarian diets. So basically science has no problem with anybody eating plant or flesh. After science being out of the question, next comes religion. Religion should be used as a positive force in society, nowhere in any Hindu religious texts is mandated that only a specific diet should be taken or not taken. But one can find the ancient text which confirms that cows and horses were once the delicacies in upper cast Brahmin homes. In some parts of our country many Durga and Kali temples are present where it is a tradition to sacrifice a goat or a bull on special occasions. Hindu religion is, and always been, a very vast and adaptable one, I agree on a point with many people that Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion. May be, this is the reason Hindu religion was able to survive during the decades of looters and foreign rulers. So in nutshell I can say there is never been any embargo by any gods or religion on eating animals specifically cow.
So why suddenly in recent history, Hindus have become so attached and obsessed with cow? One of the argument is, cow as mother gives us milk, but so is the case with goat and buffalo. I can still sympathies with poor buffalo as we Indians have always been obsessed with fair skin so may be buffalo is paying the price of her color, but why goat? Seriously speaking, I feel its a game of symbols. When the foreign Muslim rulers started invading country, local Hindu population started looking for nationalistic, social and economic symbols behind which they could rally. So is it still relevant? Relevancy of any issue depends upon its requirement in contemporary times. So going by this logic there is no need of banning cow slaughter. However, nobody can deny that public sentiments are attached with cow. So what is the way out?
As humans we will always have the contradictory views, and we will try to force our opinion on others. The only way out is law. The law has the power of guiding the mankind towards just practices, provided the law is written without any bias, prejudice and interference from religion or community. Law should be objective and free of emotions. This kind of law will have the power to resolve this situation permanently. We already have laws on cow slaughter, but the real question is whether these laws are free of biases and emotions. Most of our population is uneducated and can easily be swayed by the political leaders. Many people still dont understand meaning of true freedom. Just suppose someday some Jain group simply gets offended by people choosing to eat onion and starts demanding a law banning onions. Will we as a country and society be morally upright in denying its demands? The better question to ask is, do we really need a law banning any food preference? As a free civilian, one should always have the right to choose ones own food without fear or stigma.
If there were no law on cow slaughter most people, including me, would choose to not eat cow from the sense of our justification. Because people will then have choice- sign of mature society. I believe the right to choose is the essence of freedom, and without it, freedom is like ice-cream without sugar. P. S- Ice-cream is of buffalo milk, and I, for one, I like black