I was really not inclined to discuss this issue again. I was not so inclined because I have already spoken and written a lot on it, and 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 (Americans, Europeans, Africans, Arabs, Chinese, Russians, Turks, Afghans, Pakistanis, Thais, and even some of our own countrymen like Keralites, Bengalis, Goans, North Easterners etc) who eat beef as wicked. So are 90% of the people in the world wicked and we Hindus alone sadhu sants?
I have said this several times earlier in writings and speeches, but I have now been instigated to write again on this topic after reading an article by Dilip Mandal in the print.in 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 all over India, at least that is the demand of Indian Muslims.
I am totally against ban on cow slaughter, and in fact want laws against cow slaughter, which are in force in most Indian states, to be repealed, and everyone who wants to eat beef (including me) should be free to do so.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.
I am a totally scientific person, and though born a Brahmin (surely that is not my fault) eat beef. I regard a cow as just another animal, like a horse or a dog.
The feudal economy in India was largely destroyed after Independence in 1947 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. So supporting this ban is supporting feudalism and backwardness, which are the main enemies of India today. To my mind therefore whoever supports ban on cow slaughter and eating beef is unwittingly harming India.
In his article Dilip Mandal says that in the Constituent Assembly 2 Muslims supported ban on cow slaughter, and many orthodox Hindu members supported the ban 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.
Second, to respect the feelings of the majority Hindu community, and maintain good relations between Hindus and Muslims.
But these grounds are specious. As regards the first, this is the age of chemical fertilisers, not cow dung, and fields are now tilled by tractors, not bullocks.
And as regards the second, the reply to those who say that cow veneration is part of Hindu culture is that there is a lot of rubbish in Hindu culture too e.g. caste system and looking down on dalits.
Should that be continued too? No, we must not blindly continue 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 ban on cow slaughter will put an end to communalism in India is silly and ignores realities. Communalism will be stoked up by vested interests for getting votes, ban or no ban.
Has communalism ended in states where it 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 that is not my fault) eat beef. I regard a cow as just another animal, like a horse or a dog. We make ourselves a laughing stock before the whole world by calling a cow 'Gomata' and worshipping it.
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
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