My Message To ‘Cow Terrorists’ As A Muslim Indian

IJMEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #ViolenceNoMore, a campaign by International Justice Mission and Youth Ki Awaaz to fight against daily violence faced by marginalised communities. Speak out against systemic violence by publishing a story here.

Lynchers, potential lynchers, aspiring lynchers, lynching organizations and their sister units are advised to maintain some control over their overtly friendly behaviour. I plead you to read this.

Though, I know, you’re far more intellectual to even comprehend this lowly language. Still, read. Others too are requested to abandon their opinions for a moment and read.

Beef and Muslims. This deadly combination has culminated into various deaths and lynches of the latter on various occasions.
It’s not that it didn’t exist before 2014. But sure, it has accelerated and even been legitimised sometimes post 2014.

Being a Muslim, it’s Harakiri for me to even write about this taboo. But after, the Bulandshahr violence, I’m pretty much aroused to clear some air on this issue.

Let’s address this issue statistically to set the ground first

  • 69% of cow-related violence has been reported in UP
  • Around 55% of the people attacked and 86% of those killed in gau-raksha hate violence are Muslims
  • In 23 attacks, the attackers were mobs or groups of people who belonged to Hindu groups, such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis.
  • Muslims were the target of 51% of violence that revolved around on cow ‘protection’ issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents.
  • Of the 63 attacks since 2010, 33 (52.4%) were based on rumours
  • 97% of beef-related violence took place after Modi government came to power
  • As many as 124 people were also injured in these attacks.
    (Source: IndiaSpend, Not WhatsApp University)

These statistics say it loud and clear, communal violence is widespread and is still spreading and engulfing the whole country. Time and time again, this issue has been used by people with vested interests to arouse communal tension.

Like one wise bigot said, ‘Slaughter a cow and throw carcass around a Temple, slaughter a pig and throw carcass around a Mosque and watch the world burn’. Now, cow-related violence is no more only a religious issue, but also a full-fledged and explicit excuse to flare up communal tensions. It has been discussed at length at every possible platform, but obviously, not to resolve the issue but to demonize beef eaters, enhance hatred towards them and contribute to their eventual lynching. All these discussions lack perspective, the perspective of a Muslim. How can one pass judgement on someone without actually knowing their intent and reasons to eat beef?

I grew up in a small town named Athagarh in Odisha. I was oblivious about Hindu-Muslims tensions prevailing everywhere. My life in Odisha was rather a very pleasant one. My friends were Hindus mostly and our neighbours were Hindus too. They always treated us like one of their own. They would celebrate Eid with us. Our families would celebrate Diwali together. Our Maghrib Adhaan was equally timed with their Aartis. They never complained about our Adhaans, instead embraced them.
Every Raksha Bandhan, they would come and tie rakhis to my hands and I’ll make some promises.

Every time I went to their house, I would offer pranam to Jagannath. Every Hindu in our neighbourhood would come to our house every Eid to savour delicious sewainya. On Rath Yatra, we would all go and take part in processions. My Hindu friends have even helped me with sneaking into the Jagannath temple where Muslims aren’t allowed. What I’ve learnt from my experience is that we have to respect each other to be with each other.

Beef-eating is nowhere mentioned in the Hadith or the Quran. The general perception among Hindus and Muslims is that beef plays a significant role in the Muslim diet, which is outrageously false. Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, the fourth Khalifa as per Sunni belief, has been quoted in Sharh Nahjul Balagha, as saying: ‘Do not make your stomach a graveyard of animals’.

Islam, instead of killing of animals always advocated for a more vegetarian diet. According to well known Islamic scholars, there is no Hadith available which confirms that the Prophet, in fact, ate beef. There are a number of authenticated statements of the Prophet, which do confirm that beef, ie cow’s meat, can cause illness, while the cow’s milk and fat can cure and heal.

Muslim countries relied on a non-vegetarian diet for the lack of options. In West Asia, there was very less availability of agricultural land. On the contrary, India has agricultural land in abundance. Non-vegetarian diet got popularized in India due to Muslim rulers, who themselves came from West Asia. Most Muslims in India eat beef due to economic compulsions. Mutton is highly popular among Muslims, but they’re priced double than beef. Both have somewhat similar taste and meat quantity extracted from a cow is significantly more than meat from a goat. It’s economical for Muslims to eat beef rather than spending more on mutton. Beef and mutton are easily substitutive. Even goats aren’t available all around the country. And if you’re thinking, cows are kidnapped before slaughtering, you’re wrong. Cows are supplied to slaughterhouses after their lactation period is over, and most cow owners are Hindus. When Slaughter Houses were banned in UP, the worst sufferers were cow owners, who had no idea about what to do with cows when they were past their lactating age.

 

The issue of cow slaughter is raked time to time for all the wrong reasons. The issue is raised by political parties, less for the welfare of cows, more to use this issue to demonise and segregate Muslims. The word ‘Cow Vigilantes’ is very flattering, media should use the word ‘Cow Terrorists’ instead because all they do is terrorising. Liberals flaunting beef eating as an act of defiance to the right wing does no good either, but increases hatred towards Muslims.

For Hindus, cows are sacred and they attach deep religious sentiments with them. My religion teaches me to respect that. Why can’t we stop eating beef as a mark of respect towards the Hindu fraternity? Why can’t we abandon a tradition, that was never our own? Beef eating isn’t a part of Muslim tradition. PERIOD.

And If my conscience does allow me to eat beef, I’ll eat beef and I’ve the fundamental right to eat it. Lynch mobs don’t have the corresponding right to lynch me. They can be mad at me, but they can’t intimidate me or kill me for my preferences. My preferences are my own and no lynch mob can interfere in that even if they have active political backing. If I’m smuggling beef illegally, go and report that to the police. You don’t have any right to take the law into your own hands. Respect is always mutual. You’ve to accept my freedom and I’ve to respect your feelings.

Our society is based on accepting and embracing differences in opinions. In the event of differences, violence is never a way out, understanding and respect is. Let’s work for a better world.

I hope, I don’t get lynched for my political incorrectness.

References: DailyPioneer, Indiaspend

What policy reforms do you think would help eliminate instances of daily violence and improve access to justice in India? Send us your suggestions and we’ll take a manifesto to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Let’s spark the change together!

Write a response

Similar Posts

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below