Beef is the culinary name of meat from bovines, especially cattle. In almost every part of the world, Beef is harvested from cows, bulls, heifers, etc. Acceptability of beef as a food source varies in different parts of the world according to the availability.
This scribe is not a strict non-vegetarian by choice and can’t exactly remember when the beef was consumed at my dinner table last time. However, God had gifted us INCISORS among the set of teeth furniture of mouth. That tells me that nothing is added to human body by nature without purpose. It is known that most of the world religions sanctify offering of animals in sacrifice and that includes many practices of Hinduism. Numerous Hindu scriptures are witnesses to such sacrifices. Being a Muslim, I’m afraid it would evoke undue reaction if I to reproduce what Dr. D N Jha, a Professor of History, Delhi University and member of ICHR, had written in his book ‘the Myth of the Holy Cow.’ Mr. Jha had received death threats over his book. Just to bring home the point, I am quoting the Hindu scriptures like Manusmriti, Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmins, Grihsutras, Dharmasutras and others.
Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”
Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.
Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.”
Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”
One of the greatest scholar and propagator of Hinduism Swami Vivekanand says,“You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).
The subsequent Brahmanical texts Grhyasutras and Dharmasutras provide ample evidence of the eating of flesh including beef.
The idea of ahimsa seems to have made its first appearance in the Upanisadic thought and literature. Gautama Buddha and Mahavira had vehemently challenged the efficacy of the Vedic animal sacrifice. Thus, although both Buddhism, and, to a greater extent, Jainism contributed to the growth of ahimsa doctrine, neither seems to have developed the sacred cow concept independently. The practice of flesh eating and killing cattle for food was customary right through the Gupta period and later is sufficiently borne out by references to it found in the Puranas and the Epics. Strange but verified, most of the characters in the Mahabharata are meat eaters.Draupadi promised to Jayadratha and his retinue that Yudhisthira would provide them with a variety of game including gayal, sambara and buffalo.
It’s interesting to note that Aruveda provides an impressive list of fish and animals and speak of the therapeutic uses of beef. Somesvara shows clear preference for pork over other meats. Similarly the authors Dharmasastra commentaries and religious digests from the ninth century permit beef in specific circumstances.
So, the first inference we can draw is that Muslims rulers or religion have nothing to do with beef consumption in India. Beef had been associated with Indian dietary practices much before the advent of Islam.
Now, the pertinent question is – How did the cow become a symbol of faith and reverence to the extent of assuming the status of `motherhood’?
Many scholars believe that a challenge to Brahminical order appeared with the emergence of Buddhism. It posed a threat to the Brahminical value system. The low castes were slipping away from the grip of Brahminism. The rebellion and the emergence of a new derivative religion pushed hard the concept of the protection of cattle wealth, which was needed for the agricultural economy. It is here that this ideology took up the cow as a symbol of their reverence, physical and ideological as well. Buddha’s pronouncements were based on scientific reasons. Those were not based on mere assertions.
Let the reader know that it was Shahanshah Babur, the first Mughal to rule India who had advised in his will to his son Humayun to respect the cow and avoid cow slaughter.
The write would advice those whose livelihood is dependent on the ‘profession of butchery’ in Mahaharshtra or anywhere in India to respect the sentiments of those who worship cow and regard her as their mother. They should try to take lead in the business of the permitted varieties of animals with more emphasis on Hygiene and Sanitation.
Thanks a lot Hon President Sir for the assent on MaharashtraAnimalPreservationBill.Our dream of ban on cow slaughter becomes a reality now.
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) March 2, 2015
However, I doubt if the buck is going to stop here. The RSS juggernaut is all out for trouble full throttle as the recent call of Sadhvi Prachi about the boycott of Khans is any sign of that. The far right has let loose these communal and political predators and nothing deterring or monitory is coming from ruling class.
They say – ‘Enjoy rape when it is inevitable.’ I say – ‘We should learn from history.’
An Urdu poet says – ‘Mat mere rang-e-zard ka charcha karo ke dost, rang ek sa kabhi bhee kisi ka naheen rehta.’ Oh my friend Don’t stress about the paleness of my face, remember that only one color can’t always dominate all the times.
By: Naim Naqvi
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