September 21, 2017

Cultural, Historical and Constitutional perspective of Cow Slaughter in India

Since Modi led BJP has come to power there have been an Epidemic of articles on Cow slaughter and Gau Rakshaks. After UP win and Yogi Adiyanath as UP CM and Upcoming State Elections in Gujarat,Karnataka,Rajasthan the epidemic of articles peddling falsehood by Barkha Dutta, Dhume etc will just increase. This article is not about Offering any opinion on Cow Slaughter but just about presenting Proven Facts so readers can make their own Judgement.
Cultural Perspective
Civilisational Culture of Bharat has always treated Cow and her Progeny with highest regard and given Cow the status of a Mother. Protection of Cow is the dharmic duty of everyone and killing of a cow is equated to Matricide.
The first king Prithu chased earth-goddess Prithvi, who was in the form of a cow. Prithu milked the cow to generate crops for humans.Krishna tended cows. The cow and bull represent the symbol of Dharma.According to legend, Chola King Manu Needhi Cholan killed his own son to provide justice to a cow whose calf the son had killed. Economically The cow was possibly revered because ancient Indians relied  heavily on it for dairy products and for tilling the fields, and on cow dung as a source of fuel and fertilizer. Buddha preached that ritualistic practices like animal sacrifices, Cow slaughter are not good. Jainism also played a role in cow protection idea in Ancient India. So culturally for milleniums Cow protection was an accepted way of life in India.
Historical Perspective.
Cow Slaughter first became an Issue with Islamic invasions and rule. Islamic rulers, from Central and West Asia were not habituated to eating beef, as there were no cows in Arab countries. After Islamic rulers arrived in India, they began sacrificing cows, particularly on the occasion of Bakri-Id.
In 1756–57, in what was his fourth invasion of India, the founder of the Durrani EmpireAhmad Shāh Durrānī sacked Delhi and plundered AgraMathura and Vrindavan.On his way back to Afghanistan, he attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar and filled its sacred pool with the blood of slaughtered cows.
The Mughal emperor Humayun stopped eating beef after the killing of cows in a Hindu territory by his soldiers led to clashes, according to the Tezkerah al-Vakiat.[Later Mughal emperors Akbar (reign: 1556 – 1605), Jahangir (1605 – 1627), and Ahmad Shah (1748 – 1754), imposed selective restricted bans on cow slaughter.Cow slaughter was not prohibited during the reign of Aurangzeb. In 1645, soon after being appointed Governor of Gujarat, Aurangzeb converted the Chintamani Parshvanath Jain temple near Sarashpur, Gujarat into a mosque, and ordered that a cow be slaughtered in the shrine.The shrine was later restored to Hindus by ShahJahan.The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar banned cow slaughter in 1857 in the territories he nominally controlled, a couple of months before being deposed and deported to Burma Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empireand Maharaja from 1801 to 1839, banned cow slaughter throughout his domains.
Maratha kings too banned cow slaughter, in 1760-1794 Peshwas gave concessions to Christians in Pune and portuguese Christians in Bassein with the strict condition that no cows will be slaughtered.
Cow slaughter became a big issue in the British Raj. Beef was a popular food for the British living in India. The first slaughterhouse in India was built in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1760 by Robert Clive, then Governor of Bengal. It could kill 30,000 animals per day.
The reverence for the cow played a role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British East India Company.  1870, the Namdhari Sikhsstarted the Kukua Revolution, revolting against the British, and seeking to protect the cows from slaughter. A few years later, Swami Dayananda Saraswati called for the stoppage of cow slaughter by the British.prominent leaders of the independence movement such as Mahatma GandhiBal Gangadhar TilakLala Lajpat RaiMadan Mohan MalviyaRajendra Prasad and Purushottam Das Tandon, in order to mobilize the public to participate actively in the freedom movement, assured them repeatedly that on achieving the goal of Swaraj, the first action of the Swadeshi Government would be to ban slaughter of cow and its progeny by law.In 1944 Britishers imposed restrictions on Cow Slaughter citing shortage of cattle.
During the British Raj, there were several cases of communal riots caused by the slaughter of cows. 22 cases were directly Attributable to Cow slaughter Jinnah led Muslim league also demanded right to slaughter cows that was not accepted by Hindu Mahasabha and majority of congress.
Legal Perspective
Article 48 of the Constitution of India mandates the state to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgement upheld the constitutional validity of anti-cow slaughter laws enacted by different state governments in India.24 out of 29 states in India currently have various regulations prohibiting either the slaughter or sale of cow beef  Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim are the states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.
The “Preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases, veterinary training and practice” is Entry 15 of the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, meaning that State legislatures have exclusive powers to legislate the prevention of slaughter and preservation of cattle.
On 22 April 1979 Acharya Vinoba Bhave sat on a hunger strike to demand West Bengal and Kerala Ban Cow Slaughter.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in her letter dated 24 February 1982 wrote to the Chief Ministers of 14 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir, in which she desired that the ban be enforced in letter and spirit, that the ban on cow slaughter is not allowed to be circumvented by devious methods, and that Committees to inspect cattle before they are admitted to slaughter houses be adopted.
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Thus we can see most of Articles on Cow Slaughter ban are just dishonest opinions without any mention of cultural, historical and legal/constitutional provisions- all the information is in public space. I sincerely hope this article will help readers in evaluating the rash of articles and countering falsehoods.
About Nidhi Bahuguna 20 Articles
Housewife, nationalist , loves reading and counter media lies with proof.
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  • Rishikesh Shenoy

    Excellent write up !

  • bbshetty26

    British divided the country and gave independence,one as Muslim country,other Hindus decided to accommodate others and for that sake remained secular.accordingly cow slaughter ban added to directive principles.