Cow slaughter is a contentious subject in India. Mainly because the Hindu religion prohibits a devout Hindu from eating beef. in addition the cow is  considered a holy animal and given a high position in Hindu religious thought. But one fact does stand out and that is despite the Hindu reverence for the cow, beef ie meat of the cow was readily available for more than 1200 years. One reason for this was that the Hindus had lost to the Muslims who had become the rulers.

In 1947, when the British left India was perhaps the ideal time to ban cow slaughter, but the Congress government did precious little in this matter. Eating beef spread and even Justice Katju in his blog has said that he eats beef and has no qualms about it. Even I have eaten beef , when I was detailed to do a stint with the USAF. This was a regular part of the menu in the officers mess.

Nw after 67 years two states have banned slaughter of cows, namely Haryana and Maharashtra.Killing a cow now invites a 10 year prison term in these states. It must be mentioned that in states like  West Bengal and  Goa there is no ban on cow slaughter. The BJP Chief Minister of Goa has announced that he cannot ban  cow slaughter as 38% of the population is Christian. When I was posted in Calcutta it was a common sight to see Muslims  towing a cow for the ritual slaughter on their holy festival and Hindus just watched.

One aspect that is overlooked is that India is the second biggest exporter of beef in the world. India also has the largest cattle population  in the world and obviously that is the reason that beef is exported from India in vast quantities. In my sojourn in the United Arab Emeritus  a visit to the supermarkets is illuminating as there are out lets selling beef with the signboard reading " Indian Beef". There is also "Pakistani Beef" and " Australian Beef". The shop salesman who was an Indian from Kerala told me that Indian beef was rated highly and sold the most.  This sale of beef has not been tinkered with by the BJP government. One of the main reasons is that it earns precious foreign exchange. I am told India earns $250 million from Beef exports. 

What than is the purpose of the ban on cow slaughter?. The  entire exercise looks like an attempt to please certain  vote banks. If beef has to be banned , it has to be banned in the entire country and all exports stopped. I am afraid this will not happen as even the BJP will not like to lose foreign exchange which it earns by way of beef exports. it's about time a rational position was taken without pandering to vote banks. Just for the record the Muslims ruled for 900 years but despite prohibition on eating pork, it was never banned.. I think this should be food for thought.



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