Beef was on the menu of Vedic Savarnas (Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya). They even ate venison, horse (Ashwamedh Yagna), fowls, and other animals, which were first offered as sacrifice (Naivedya) to Vedic deities.


Later under the influence of Jain & Buddhist teachings of Ahimsa, the vegetarianism entered into Hindu practice. Yet, the Shudra and Ati-Shudra (Dalits & Adivasis) continued with the practice of animal consumption. While beef is Halal food as per Muslim culture & practice, the consumption of beef was neither an imported practice nor is it alien. BJP in their own version of “Hindutva”, which has little to do with history, has time and again imposed ban of Cow (i.e. even bullocks & buffaloes) slaughter whenever & wherever it is in power. This action doesn’t take into account ground realities. These animals are predominantly owned by farmers and cattle keepers. No milch cow or capable draught animal will ever be sacrificed by its owners, who are well versed with its economic potential. It is only when animal becomes old or dries up and thus loses its economic value that they think of parting with it under great emotional strain. But poverty is merciless. They cannot afford to feed an animal that gives no return. Such cattle finds its way to the slaughter houses. Poor owners realize some money through sale. Also, beef is a cheap source of protein for Dalits and Adivasis. They too are deprived of it through such bans on slaughter. There are heart rending tales in Dalit literature of how people had to survive by consuming carcasses found of animals, who had died through unnatural causes (drowning/ electrocution/ starvation) or diseases. India’s cattle population is largest in the world. So there is no fear that Gau Mata will become extinct here. There is a serious case for BJP to reconsider its policy and not be blinded by deceptive, defective & self-serving readings of Hinduism.


(Dalit Media Watch)

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