If we ban beef in India, the world is coming to an end cries the usual noise makers, The Political left, the Muslims and the Christians in India (The usual big three, Hindu “scarediecats”). The poor, who eat beef would be adversely affected by this ban, they cry. India is becoming a Hindutva Fascist State if we ban beef, they claim.
I’ve eaten beef living in Tamilnadu, India since I was a child.. It’s available all over. OK maybe it was buffalo meat..I never could tell. and yes, its fairly cheap..It used to be cheap (relatively speaking) at least. Mutton (Goat) and Lamb are very very expensive for most Indians. So are good Vanjeeram (seer) fish..that is also quite expensive. Chicken is reasonably priced white meat in India. Most of them imported from Mexico I believe. (A Side note: Mexico sells the breast meat to the US and dark meat (Legs) to India, cause, breast meat is preferred in the US, Indians prefer the dark meat and both are willing to pay premium for their choice of cut. Oh well! I just wanted to share that piece of interesting trivia)
For many Hindus, killing cows is offensive. More than religion, I believe its cultural. For these Hindus someone eating cows is akin to someone eating dogs and cats to most Americans. It’s a cultural “eeeeew” factor. This subject is even more sensitive in the “cow belt” of India. Duh! As a libertarian, I always felt what one man eats is his prerogative and one has no business on imposing that on others. So that is my going in position on this topic. Everyone should have a right to eat whatever heck he/she feels like. But it did not take long for me to realize that the world is not truly libertarian. There are social norms that society follows. It’s kind of a group agreement that does not fall under “Tyranny of the majority”. It is not Tyranny when others have very close choices. (e.g. Why its ok to ban marriage between siblings but cruel and tyrannical to ban gay marriage)
I consider the recent United States society to be fairly sophisticated when it comes to liberty. As of today, Its illegal to slaughter horse for human consumption in the US while its perfectly legal in Europe. Its illegal to slaughter dogs and cats for human consumption in the US. and In Europe,. In many parts of the far east, its perfectly fine to slaughter and eat dogs and cats (I know it grosses me out too). In the middle east, it may not be illegal to slaughter pigs, but its illegal to sell pork and illegal to consume pork. It seems fine in Canada to club seals, the Japanese to kill and eat whales and its a celebration when the Danish (Faroe Islands) slaughter dolphins and turn the ocean into crimson. And then we are all outraged at each others preference in killing and eating what we hold dear. So we realize there is no absolute liberty in most societies to eat whatever the heck we may want
Does India and Indians have a right to ban cow slaughter?.. You betcha. They do! Indians have the same rights as Europeans and Americans to decide what is legal and what is illegal in their country based on their social sensitivites! If enough people in India believe in social norms of not slaughtering cows, they have every right to pass laws against slaughtering cows. From a practical point of view I am not sure if they could get a consensus across India. But I believe this should be a state issue. I doubt, if this ban would pass in Kerala and Tamilnadu. In the North East of India, Christians may even vote to have the right to eat dogs. Or maybe they are slowly giving up this habit.
The thing about the Hindus, for the most part is, they are not fascists at all. Hindus, theologically are liberals and do not have a single fascist bone in their cultural body. They are generally so accommodating to others.. In this case, in the form of not restricting others to eat buffalo meat.. a close cousin of the cow and I could hardly tell the difference between cow meat and buffalo meat. And more importantly, my fellow Hindu friends who are vegetarians when they know that I eat beef, they do not castigate me, they do not ostracize me. Yes, even the most religious Hindu Brahmin friends of mine are wonderful about it. I don’t even hide from them the fact that I eat beef and that I enjoy it. So to call them as Fascist is downright offensive. I am sure if some temple priest somewhere in the boonies come to know I eat beef, may decide to wash their murties (idols) clean after my visit. But hey, that is his prerogative as much as it is mine to eat and like beef in places where it is legal to eat beef.
And when I am in Europe, I may even try some horse steak..But I doubt if I could ever eat fluffy. Hey! Even I have some standards!
There are folks who find cows to be highly intelligent and loving and feel they are part of their family. They would dare not eat them.
Then there are of course jerks who would be offensive to Hindus just cause they can be jerks! Like those illiberal political leftists who held a “Beef festival” at JNU and mocked the Hindus in the usual leftist English media…Yeah you NDTV. But these cowards would not dare hold a “Pork festival” at JNU. These anti Hindu jerks of India are not very different than the people who held the Yulin Dog and Cat Meat Festival
Others simply enjoy a good meal. I remember the famous line when a reporter asked Eliot Ness who put Al Capone in prison during the prohibitions, what he would do if prohibition was lifted and he famously answered, he would go get a drink!
For all those Beef eaters, where its legal. Something for you! Bon appetit
Hindus fight against cow slaughter is not new.
Rare picture of anti cow slaughter efforts in late 19th century
People of Yulin cry tyranny when they are criticized for killing and eating dogs. They say they have a right to eat whatever they want.
My favorite: SNAKE WINE!