Religions of South Asia, Vol 10, No 1 (2016)

Cows Caught in the Crossfire: Provisional Remarks on India’s Current Cow-Slaughter Debate

Deborah Nadal
Issued Date: 17 Jan 2017

Abstract


This article focuses on the voices raised from Muslim, Christian and Dalit communities on the highly sensitive topic of beef consumption in India. It discusses the main points of the debate on cow protection which has taken place in the last years. India is defined as a secular country,2 but already in this text (in article 48) the hindu portion of the population managed to obtain an important recognition of the inviolability of the cow. as a matter of fact, the vast majority of Indian states (excluding the North-east states, West bengal and Kerala) currently forbid the slaughtering of cows, and often also of bulls, bullocks, heifers and calves. Many Muslims, Christians and Dalits, in addition to many people who work in the beef-related business, regard the constitutional immunity given to the cow as discriminating against their communities, through a sort of ‘food fascism’, not only from a religious point of view, but also in relation to their economical subsistence and livelihood.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/rosa.32695

References


Aam Admi Party. 2014. National Manifesto 2014.


Agha, Eram. 2015. ‘“Missed Call” Movement to Elevate Cow as “rashtra mata”.’ The Times of India (02/04/2015).


All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. 2014. Lok Sabha General Election 2014. Election Manifesto of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.


Ambedkar, Bhimrao R. 1990. ‘The Untouchables: Who They Were and Why They Became Untouchables.’ In Bhimrao R. Ambedkar (ed.), Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, vol. 7. Mumbai: Government of Maharashtra.


Anon. 2012. ‘Bhagwat’s Gyan: Rear Cows at Home to Inculcate Values.’ Hindustan Times (25/12/2012).


—2013. Thousands of Dalits to Embrace Buddhism in Junagadh.’ The Times of India (12/10/2013).


—2013. ‘Muslims Fight for Cow Protection in Gujarat.’ The Times of India (30/10/2013).


—2014. ‘Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi Speaks against Cow Slaughter.’ The Economic Times (01/11/2014).


—2014. ‘Law to Check Cow Slaughter Soon.’ The Pioneer (16/12/2014).


— 2015. ‘Muslim Chamber Welcomes Cow Slaughter Ban.’ Deccan Herald (04/03/2015).


—2015. ‘Hry Imposes Ban on Beef Sale.’ The Daily Pioneer (17/03/2015).


Appadurai, Arjun. 1981, ‘Gastro-Politics in Hindu South Asia.’ American Ethnologist 8 (3): 494–511. https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.1981.8.3.02a00050


Barak-Erez, Daphne. 2010. ‘Symbolic Constitutionalism: On Sacred Cows and Abominable Pigs.’ Law, Culture and the Humanities 6 (3): 420–35. https://doi.org/10.1177/1743872110374265


Basham, Arthur L. 1954. The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Subcontinent before the Coming of the Muslims. London: Sidewisk and Jackson.


Batra, S. M. 1981. Cows and Cow-Slaughter in India: Religious, Political and Social Aspects. New Delhi: University of Delhi.


Bharatiya Janata Party. 2014. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Election Manifesto 2014.


Bhatt, Chetan. 2013. ‘Democracy and Hindu Nationalism.’ In John Anderson (ed.), Religion, Democracy and Democratization: 133–54. London, Routledge.


Bhattarai, Binod. 2014. ‘Reconsider India’s North-East in National Curriculum.’ American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 9 (2): 132–34.


Bourgat, Florence. 2004. ‘Non-Violence towards Animals in the Thinking of Gandhi: The Problem of Animal Husbandry.’ Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 14: 223–48. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JAGE.0000033082.58743.5b


Brown, W. Norman. 1964. ‘The Sanctity of the Cow in Hinduism.’ Economic and Political Weekly 16: 245–55.


Chigateri, Shraddha. 2011. ‘Negotiating the “Sacred” Cow: Cow Slaughter and the Regulation of Difference in India.’ In Monica Mookherjee (ed.), Democracy, Religious Pluralism and the Liberal Dilemma of Accomodation: 137–59. Houten: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9017-1_8


Chilkoti, Avantika. 2014. ‘Narendra Modi to be India’s First Social Media Prime Minister.’ Financial Times (23/05/2014).


Crooke, William. 1912. ‘The Veneration of the Cow in India.’ Folklore 23 (3): 275–306. https://doi.org/10.1080/0015587X.1912.9719531


Dandekar, V. M. 1969. ‘Cow Dung Models.’ Economic and Political Weekly 4: 1267–69, 1271.


Deshmane, Akshay. 2015. ‘Meet India’s First Cow Minister Otaram Devasi Who Likes to Address Himself as “Gaupalan Mantri”.’ The Economic Times (09/01/2015).


Dhattiwala, Raheel. 2014. The Puzzle of the BJP’s Muslim Supporters in Gujarat: A Summary. New Delhi: The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.


Dudley Jenkins, Laura. 2008. ‘Legal Limits on Religious Conversion in India.’ Law and Contemporary Problems 71: 109–27.


Dutt, Anuradha. 2013. ‘Holy Cow! It’s a Bad Portent.’ The Pioneer (31/05/2013).


Eakin, Emily. 2002. ‘Holy Cow a Myth? An Indian Finds the Kick is Real.’ The New York Times (17/08/2002).


Firstpost. Rishi Kapoor Takes on Twitter Trolls after being Slammed for ‘Beef Eating Hindu’ Comment. http://tinyurl.com/twitter-trolls-beef (02/04/2015).


Freitag, Sandra. 1980. ‘Sacred Symbol as Mobilizing Ideology: The North India Search for a “Hindu” Community.’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 22 (4): 597–625. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417500009567


Gandhi, Maneka, Ozair Husain and Raj Panjwani. 2013. Animal Laws in India. New Delhi: Universal Law Publishing.


Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1954. How to Serve the Cow. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House.


Gau Raksha Dal. http://protectyourcow.blogspot.it/ (17/03/2015).


Ghatwai, Milind. 2015. ‘Will Try to Bring Nationwide Ban on Cow Slaughter: Rajnath Singh.’ The Indian Express (30/03/2015).


Ghosh, Palash. 2013. ‘Where’s the Beef? In India, Believe it or Not.’ International Business Times (14/05/2013).


Government of India. 2002. Report of the National Commission on Cattle. New Delhi.


Harris, Marvin. 1966. ‘The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle.’ Current Anthropology 7: 51–66. https://doi.org/10.1086/200662


Heston, Alan. 1971. ‘An Approach to the Sacred Cow of India.’ Current Anthropology 12: 191–209. https://doi.org/10.1086/201191


Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger. 1992. The Invention of Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Hoffpauir, Robert. 1982. ‘The Water Buffalo: India’s Other Bovine.’ Anthropos 77 (1-2): 215–38.


Indian National Congress. 2014. Your Voice Our Pledge. Lok Sabha Elections 2014 Manifesto.


Jha, Dwijendra N. 2001. Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions. Del Mar: Matrix Books.


Jishnu, Latha. 2014. ‘Meaty Tales of Vegetarian India.’ Down To Earth (31/12/2014).


Kancha, Ilaiah. 2004. Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual Fascism. Kolkata: Samya.


Kandasamy, Meena. 2012. ‘A Cowed-down Nation. Why Kill over a People’s Dietary Preference for Beef?’ Outlook (30/12/2012).


Khapre, Shubhangi. 2015. ‘My Govt’s Decisions are Not Driven by Religion: Devendra Fadnavis.’ The Indian Express (10/03/2015).


Khatry, Rajendra. 2014. ‘“Love Jihad” in UP, Cow Slaughter in Haryana: BJP Softens its Hindutva Line.’ Firstpost (06/10/2014).


Korom, Frank J. 2000. ‘Holy Cow! The Apotheosis of Zebu, or Why the Cow is Sacred in Hinduism.’ Asian Folklore Studies 59 (2): 181–203. https://doi.org/10.2307/1178915


Kosambi, Dharmananda D. 1970. The Cultural and Civilization of Ancient India in Historical Outline. Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.


Krishnakumar, R. 2003. ‘Beef without Borders.’ Frontline 20 (18). Available at http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2018/stories/20030912004703100.htm (accessed 6/12/2016).


Lal, Mukandi. 1967. ‘Cow Cult in India.’ In Amritlal B. Shah (ed.), Cow Slaughter: Horns of a Dilemma: 15–34. Bombay: Lalvani Publishing House.


Lal, Neeta. 2012. ‘Indians Split over Cow Ban.’ Asia Times (06/01/2012).


Lodrick, Deryck O. 1979. ‘On Religion and Milk Bovines in an Urban Indian Setting.’ Current Anthropology 20: 241–42. https://doi.org/10.1086/202258


—2005. ‘Symbol and Sustenance: Cattle in South Asian Culture.’ Dialectical Anthropology 29: 61–84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10624-005-5809-8


McDuie-Ra, Duncan. 2012. Northeast Migrants in Delhi: Race, Refuge and Retail. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.


Mendelsohn, Oliver, and Marika Vicziany. 1998. The Untouchables: Subordination, Poverty and the State in Modern India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511612213


Menon, Kalvani D. 2009. Everyday Nationalism: Women of the Hindu Right in India. The Ethnography of Political Violence. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.


Misra, S. N. 1973. ‘Surplus Cattle in India: A Critical Survey.’ Sociological Bulletin 22: 297–308.


Misra, Maria. 2008. Vishnu’s Crowded Temple: India since the Great Rebellion. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Nadal, Deborah. 2014. ‘Per fortuna ci sono le mucche. Brevi considerazioni sul valore del pañcgavya.’ Ethnorêma 10: 41–50.


Naqwi, Saaed. 2014. ‘Running away from Hinduism.’ The Friday Times (17/01/2014).


Nayak Dutta, Amrita. 2015. ‘Beef Ban Will Leave BMC Poorer by Rs1.64 Crore a Year.’ Daily News and Analysis (04/03/2015).


Ngaihte, Thangkhanlal. 2014. ‘Nido Taniam and the Fraught Question of Racism in India.’ Economic and Political Weekly 49 (11). Available at http://www.epw.in/journal/2014/11/commentary/nido-taniam-and-fraught-question-racism-india.html (accessed 6/12/2016).


Odend’hal, Stewart. 1972. ‘Energetics of Indian Cattle in their Environment.’ Human Ecology 1 (1): 3–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01791278


Parel, Anthony. 1969. ‘The Political Symbolism of the Cow in India.’ Journal of Commonwealth Political Studies 7: 179–203. https://doi.org/10.1080/14662046908447106


Pinney, Christopher. 2004. Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India. London: Reaktion Books.


Prakash, Om. 1961. Food and Drinks in Ancient India: From Earliest Times to C. 1200 A.D. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.


Punwani, Jyoti. 2015. ‘Maharashtra’s Beef Ban.’ Economic & Political Weekly 50 (11): 17–19.


Raj, K. N. 1969. ‘Investment in Livestock in Agrarian Economics: An Analysis of Some Issues concerning “Sacred Cows” and “Surplus Cattle”.’ Indian Economic Review 4: 1–33.


Rajagopal, Krishnadas. 2015. ‘SC Verdicts Differ on Beef being a Poor Man’s Food.’ The Hindu (04/03/2015).


Randhawa, M. S. 1946. ‘Role of Domesticated Animals in Indian History.’ Science and Culture 12 (1): 5–14.


Rao, C. H. Hanumantha. 1969. ‘India’s “Surplus” Cattle: Some Empirical Results.’ Economic and Political Weekly Review of Agriculture (December): 225–27.


Rao, Smitha. 2011. ‘Saffronisation of the Holy Cow: Unearthing Silent Communalism.’ Economic & Political Weekly 46 (15): 80–87.


Robb, Peter. 1986. ‘The Challenge of Gau Mata: British Policy and Religious Change in India, 1880–1916.’ Modern Asian Studies 20 (2): 285–319. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X00000846


Sebastien, Meryl. 2015. ‘“Maharashtra’s Beef Ban is Not Merely Communal, it is Theocratic”: Kancha Ilaiah.’ Daily News and Analysis (04/03/2015).


Shaikh, Zeeshan. 2015. ‘Maharashtra Bans Beef, 5 Years Jail, Rs 10,000 Fine for Possession or Sale.’ The Indian Express (04/03/2015).


Sharma, Rajvir. 2015. ‘The Bharatiya Janata Party: Identitarianism and Governance Agenda’. In Hartmut Elsenhans, Rachid Ouaissa, Sebastian Schwecke and Mary Ann Tetreault (eds.), The Transformation of Politicised Religion: From Zealots into Leaders: 183–203. Farnham: Ashgate.


Simoons, Frederick J. 1973. ‘The Sacred Cow and the Constitution of India.’ Ecology of Food and Nutrition 2: 281–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/03670244.1973.9990349


Sinha, Arunav. 2014. ‘RSS Offshoot Now Demands National Animal Status for Cow.’ The Times of India (24/08/2014).


Smith, Vincent A. 1919. The Oxford History of India from the Earliest Times to the End of 1991. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Struggle for Hindu Existence. Ban on Cow Slaughter in Maharashtra. 5 Yrs Jail, Rs10,000 Fine for Possession or Sale of Beef. http://tinyurl.com/sale-of-beef (22/03/2015).


Struggle for Hindu Existence. High Turn in Goraksha Movement in India. Less Cow Slaughter in Eid ul Adha. No Slaughter in Next 3 Yrs. http://tinyurl.com/cow-slaughter-in-this-eid (22/03/2015).


Teltumbde, Anand. 2015. ‘The Maharashtra Beef Ban is Unconstitutional.’ The Milli Gazette Online (23/03/2015).


Thounaojam, Swar. 2012. ‘A Preface to Racial Discourse in India. North-east and Mainland.’ Economic and Political Weekly 47 (32). Available at http://www.epw.in/journal/2012/32/commentary/preface-racial-discourse-india.htm (accessed 6/12/2016).


Tiwari, Mrigank, and Nazar Abbas. 2015. ‘More than 800 Valmikis “Convert” to Islam in UP’s Rampur to Save Homes from Demolition.’ The Times of India (15/04/2015).


Toffin, Gerard. 2005. ‘Cow/Buffalo: A Significant Opposition in the Indian and Himalayan World.’ In Alessandro Minelli, Gherardo Ortalli and Glauco Sanga (eds.), Animal Names. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.


Vishva Hindu Parishad. Shri Guruji on Cow Protection. http://vhp.org/vhp-glance/dimensions/cow-protection (26/03/2015).


Yadav, Yogedra, and Sanjay Kumar. 2006. ‘The Food Habits of a Nation.’ The Hindu (14/08/2006).


Yang, Anand A. 1980. ‘Sacred Symbol and Sacred Space in Rural India: Community Mobilization in the “Anti-Cow Killing” Riot of 1893.’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 22 (4): 576–96. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417500009555


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy