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Supporters Of Beef Ban Are Hindering India’s Progress

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Former judge of the Indian Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju writes about how a ban on beef and cow slaughter is part of a feudal mentality and argues a stop to such bans if India is to progress.

I was really not inclined to discuss this issue again as I have already spoken and written on it at length. I am now fed up trying to educate asinine blockheads who unfortunately are the vast majority in India, and who believe that a cow is ‘gau mata’ when even a little common sense can tell us that an animal cannot be the mother of a human being.

A cow cannot be venerated as a mother just because it gives us milk to drink, otherwise we must also venerate goats, buffaloes, camels, yaks, deer etc. because humans drink their milk too. Eating beef cannot be regarded wicked, otherwise we will have to regard over 90% of the world’s population and even some of our own countrymen like Keralites, Bengalis, Goans, North Easterners who eat beef as wicked. So are 90% of the people in the world wicked and we Hindus alone are sadhu saints?

I have said this several times, but I have now been instigated to write again on this topic after reading an article by Dilip Mandal titled ‘From Constituent Assembly to Azam Khan, Indian Muslims have supported cow slaughter ban’. This article in a subtle way insinuates that to stop communal hatred and have communal harmony in India, cow slaughter should be totally banned; at least that is the demand of Indian Muslims.

I am totally against a ban on cow slaughter, and in fact want laws against cow slaughter, in force in most Indian states, to be repealed. Everyone who wants to eat beef should be free to do so. In my opinion, laws banning cow slaughter are laws revealing a feudal mindset, and it is this feudal mindset among Indians which has to be destroyed if India is to progress.

The feudal economy in India was largely destroyed after independence by the ‘Zamindari Abolition laws’ enacted in almost all Indian states. However, the feudal mindset continues in most Indians, as is evident from the rampant casteism and communalism prevalent everywhere. The ban on cow slaughter is part of this feudal mindset. Hence, supporting this ban is tantamount to supporting feudalism and backwardness. To my mind, therefore, whoever supports a ban on cow slaughter and eating beef is unwittingly harming India.

In his article, Dilip Mandal says that in the Constituent Assembly, two Muslims supported a ban on cow slaughter, and many orthodox Hindu members did so too on two grounds. First, India has a predominantly agricultural economy, and to grow more food we must protect cows as they give manure which is used as a fertilizer, and bullocks are needed to till the fields. Secondly, cow slaughter, it was argued, must be banned to respect the feelings of the majority Hindu community, and to maintain good relations between Hindus and Muslims.

But these grounds are specious. Regarding the first, this is the age of chemical fertilisers, not cow dung, and fields are now tilled by tractors, not bullocks.

And with regard to the second, the reply to those who say that cow veneration is part of Hindu culture is that there are a lot of problematic cultural practices in Hindu culture too; caste system and looking down on Dalits. Should that be continued too? No, we must not blindly continue to practice everything in Hindu culture. We must sift the good from the bad and continue only that part of our culture which is rational and useful to us and contributes to our progress.

To think that a ban on cow slaughter would put an end to communalism in India ignores reality. Ban or no ban, communalism will be stoked up by vested interests for getting votes. Has communalism ended in states where beef is banned? Ikhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Tabrez etc. were lynched in states where cow slaughter is banned. 

I am a totally scientific person, and though born a Brahmin, surely through no fault of my own, eat beef. I regard a cow as just another animal, like a horse or a dog. We make ourselves a laughingstock before the whole world by calling a cow ‘gau mata’ and by worshiping it.

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