Monday, November 2, 2015

Beef ban to provoke farmers to commit suicides?

There cannot be any religion in food habits. There cannot be such doctrine in any religion or laws. No food has proven bad for the health though propaganda against meat consuming has ancient traits in some religions. Jainism is one of them from India. The Vedic people and even Indus civilization people used to consume cow/bull meat. Ref.: The practice of sacrifice of cow and bulls is as ancient as pre-historic era among pastoral tribes. The animal sacrifice was related to the fertility cult. Such sacrifices and beef eating continued even after the agriculture was invented.

I received multiple threats two weeks ago when my Marathi article against the beef ban that elaborated how Vedic people along with Indus people used to consume beef. People have become intolerant because they just don’t want to reason! Most of the Vedic and Hindu people those are under influence of RSS ideology think that the people's mandate was not to BJP government but to RSS and not at all to the progress of the country which Mr. Modi was bragging about during election times. Rather talk of progress now has almost vanished from the public discussion. This is why there almost are no concerns over dwindling economy.

They say Hindus worship holy cow hence cow cannot be slaughtered! They have imposed ban on cow slaughter in most of the states and may be soon all other states too will follow the suit! The Dadri lynching and other brutal episodes followed by that incident has shocked the rational people. The main thing of worry is that such incidents are openly supported by leaders as well as crazy, insane people!

Beef eating was quite popular among Vedic people and other societies across India. Rig Veda in many verses talk about it. Cow sacrifices were common. In excavations across the country has unraveled the bones of cow, bulls, buffaloes, horses etc. showing the food habits of the people of those times. Buddha too did not prohibit meat to the monks. Instead his orders were, “"Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you." (Book of the Discipline, Vol. 4, p. 325) There was beef eating practice in Buddha’s times too.

From evidences it can be deduced that the beef and other meat eating was prohibited within Vaishnava cult, A Vedic sect, in Gupta era. But others sects continued with their traditional practice. It seems only after tenth century, when India had to confront series of famines, till 1630 AD, in which not only large populations were perished but the first onslaught was on the cattle. Johan Van Twist reports, about 1630 AD famine, that the roads were blocked with the dead men and animal. There was no food to eat and no grass for the cattle. The famine of 1394 continued for almost 14 years devastating rural and urban life and economy! From 1022 AD till AD 1630 there are such 350 famines have been recorded across the country. The constant onslaught of famines completely changed people’s life style and social order. A free society became closed and village oriented. Balutedari system was introduced, thus confining the production limited to village needs. 

We can imagine, how the natural calamities would have considerably reduced number of cows and bullocks those always had been backbone of agriculture. Under the changed circumstances, it seems obvious that cows and bull rearing became most important than killing it for food. Thus cow slaughter ban came in use as it was the need of the time, not because of any religious doctrine. Cow became holier than holy for her scarcity because of famines. The myth that 33 crore gods reside in cow has the very late origin. Most of the practices, though later treated as having religious relevance, emerge from the urgent needs of the people. Such practices continue even after the circumstances are changed.  Holy Cow concept has such practical origin. The farmers developed this concept, hijacked by medieval Vedic religious fanatics with a purpose to use it against beef eating Muslims. “Go Brahmin Pratipalak” (Protector of Cow) title to the kings emerged in this era only. We do not find such title applied to any king before that era. 

Muslim hatred is a main reason for present ban on cow slaughter and prohibition to beef eating. It is not that RSS has any love for cows, if we look the pitiable condition of cows kept at various Goshala’s. Today already nation is burdened with non-productive and stray cattle. Supreme Court had preferred ban only on young cow and bulls. The farmer’s economy was previously set, because he would sell his cattle as soon they became unproductive to him and would buy young calves. When in any financial trouble it was his first liquid asset to meet urgent requirements. Farmland would be last option to sell off to survive.

But now, this source has gone. Even if he sells illegally he gets half of the price than what he used to get. He cannot replace old ones with fresh livestock. Most parts of the nation is facing drought-like situation. The grazing lands, whatsoever that has remained, are devoid of grass. The Kharip season has not yielded enough for food, then how he can feed his animal? And feeding useless animal till they naturally die is a burden to which neither he has any solution nor the government!

What he will do? In all probabilities he will stop rearing cows and instead will go for buffalo’s as there is no ban on its slaughter. Bullocks have become nearly irrelevant for tilling lands as most of the farmers are using tractors to aid their agro-related-work. But it will consume time. Till then farmers plight won’t end.  Already number of farmer suicide is growing. The additional burden that has been loaded on them already has added to his trouble.

But one day Cow certainly is going to fall under category of the rare species. None is interested in rearing the species that adds to financial burden and invite constant threats from the fanatics.

If one really wants to protect cow, he should buy a cow and take care of her lifelong! Ban on slaughter is not a right answer. Right answer also is not to create havoc over beef eating. It is freedom of every citizen to consume food of his choice. You are at liberty to propagate against any meat eating or beef eating with due reasoning and in democratic manner, but have no right at all to forcibly ban and prohibit anything. That is against principles of liberty that constitution guarantees to every citizen.

And it will be utterly inhuman to destroy farmer’s economy by forcing such stupid illogical bans. It is inhuman to add another reason to farmer’s suicide. Already farmer is troubled with problems of his own. Low productivity because of natural calamities have made already the life intolerable! Why add another one to provoke them to commit suicide?

I would like to request concerned state governments to lift this insane ban and let farmers and beef consumers decide their choices on their own! No State has any right to interfere in his personal choices. Such bans violate the very principle of liberty of the citizens!


  1. I fully agree with you. Cow is backbone of rural economy and it has to be dealt with pragmatism. However, I have doubt on your first two lines of the article. You said "There cannot be any religion in food habits. There cannot be such doctrine in any religion or laws." Is this applicable to pork for Islam? Does Islam as a religion does not allow eating pork? If yes, how correct is your statement that there is no religion in food habits?

    1. Such doctrines, such like ban on pork by Muslims, should be treated as anti-religious. Muslims too will have to learn from this!