Eating Beef is a Personal Choice

‘Leave the cow alone, it does not wish an innocent human to be killed in its name.’


The recent lynching of a Muslim man called Muhammad Akhlaq for eating beef in his house has taken the country by storm. The incident is as jejune as it can get! This wallop of communal violence takes the country centuries back with no legal trial and justice to rely on. The riot began after the temple priest said that, a calf had been killed, who later alleged that he was forced to make this statement. One fails to understand how lynching of a person is going to save one’s tradition or culture. Why bring turmoil in a village where everyone wants to live in harmony.

Senior SSP Kiran.S made statement saying, ‘meat samples from Akhlaq’s house are taken for investigation.’ How inane is it to examine someone’s food, that too, after he has already been stoned to death!

Besides, even if it was beef, what is the whole ruckus about? Beef eating is not an alien concept even in Hindu Tradition. Try asking a Keralite to stop eating beef. Atleast, 72 communities in Kerala prefer beef over the, expensive mutton and not all of them are dalits or low class communities. While, one should respect the sentiments of Hindus who consider cows as divine and refer to them as ‘mother.’ It is not acceptable to strangulate someone’s liberty by stoning him to death just because he doesn’t share the same beliefs.


Manusmriti did not prohibit consumption of beef. Historically, majority of Hindus including Brahmins used to eat beef. So, the question is when did the whole ban on beef eating start? It is believed Brahmins increasingly became vegetarians and a ridiculous myth of vegetarian diet being superior to non-vegetarian diet began. It is also believed that Gandhiji, who believed in vegetarianism, spread the belief among the Hindus that used to eat beef. It was because of Ambedkar’s counter campaign that Muslims, Christians and Dalits stayed away from being influenced. The whole botch over diet began with Hindu empires trying to distinguish themselves from the Muslim empires and Brahmins trying to portray themselves as superiors among the Hindus. This political debacle of banning cow slaughter was given the name of Hinduism. All, this despairingly did, was to weaken India and give rise to communal violence.


Laws regarding cattle slaughter vary in each state in India. Recently, Maharashtra joined a host of other states including Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, etc., who have banned cow slaughter. The only states that do not ban cow slaughter are Kerala and the northeastern states of India. The implementation of the law also varies greatly. In Goa and Daman & Diu, cows that are old and sick can to be slaughtered. However, there is no national law that bans the sale or consumption of beef. According to reports, ban on cow slaughter has given rise to 30,000 illegal and unlicensed slaughterhouses. Ironically, despite the ban by majority of the states, according to the U.S. report, India tops the list of world’s top exporters of beef.


Muhammad Akhlaq’s death is a blunt violation of the Constitution of India that guarantees due process of law and right to life. No matter what the law is and how heinous a crime it may be to eat beef, it does not justify a mob to decide whether he deserves death penalty. To disregard such a dreadful violation of the Constitution by statement like ‘it happened to due to a misunderstanding’ given by local leader Vichitra Tomar is tormenting.

The incident was rightly described as, ‘communalism in its ugliest manifestation’ by the National Commission for Minorities. This kind of moral policing needs to be condemned vehemently, and the perpetrators need to be punished at the earliest. I think it is time that attention and drudgery is diverted towards the more important issues like poverty and human rights violation that is grappling the country instead of making an issue out of what is cooked at someone’s house!

Discernment lies in following what you believe in and to prudently prevent forcing your beliefs on others. The idea is to live and let live! It cannot be so muddled to follow.

Picture courtesy: Flickr

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