Home ] Up ] PART 1 ] PART 2 ] PART 3 ] Images ] Why I am Not a Hindu ] Pseudo Hindus ] Manusmriti ] Belief ] Bride Burning and Dowry Deaths ] Women ] Hindu Tolerance: Myths ] Ram Myth ] [ Beaf Eating ] Devadasi ] Meenakshipuram ] Matts of Crime ] SaiBaba ]

Beaf Eating



On Beef Eating in Ancient India

D.N. Jha
Professor of History, 
University of Delhi
email: dnjha@del2.vsnl.net.in

There has been much hullabaloo outside the academic circle over beef eating in ancient India as if it were the most important problem facing the nation . The purpose behind raising a hue and cry over the matter is obviously to politicise it by suggesting, explicitly or implicitly, that the practice is prevalent only among the Muslims who are even today looked upon as foreigners by  communal political groups and parties in India. Those who argue against this position are dubbed as Marxists or communists, whom such groups and parties have been claiming to combat, little realising that the arguments for the prevalence of the practice of beef eating in ancient India are based on the evidence drawn from our own scriptures which are replete with references to it.

The textual evidence, in fact, begins to be available from the Rigveda  itself which is the earliest Indian religious text and figures in popular perception as being of divine origin. H.H. Wilson , writing in the first half of the nineteenth century had asserted that "the sacrifice of the horse or of the cow, the gomedha or ashvamedha, appears to have been common in the earliest periods of the Hindu ritual". The view that the practice of killing of cattle at  sacrifices and  eating their flesh prevailed among the Indo-Aryans was, however, put forth most  convincingly /forcefully by Rajendra Lal Mitra in an article which was first published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and subsequently formed a chapter his book entitled The Indo-Aryans in 1891. Later in the early forties  P. V. Kane in his monumental work 'History of Dharmashastra' referred to specific Vedic and later Shastric  passages which speak of cow slaughter and beef eating.

It is necessary to bear in mind that none of the above scholars had anything to do with Marxism which the saffronised journalists and publicists like Arun Shourie have been fighting through the columns of the Asian Age.  Wilson was the first occupant of the Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford in 1832 and was not as avowedly anti-Indian as many other imperialist scholars.  Mitra,  a product of the Bengal renaissance and a close associate of Rabindranaths elder brother Jyotindranath Tagore, made significant contribution to India's intellectual life, and was described by Max Mueller as the best living Indologist of his time. Mahamahopdhyaya P.V. Kane was a conservative Marathi brahmin and  the only Sanskritist to be honoured with the title of 'Bharat Ratna'.

The Sangh Parivar (including, of course, Arun Shourie who feels quite comfortable in his blissful ignorance!) have never turned its guns towards their writings. One is tempted to imagine that it consists of total ignoramuses who are made to carry a heavy burden of civilisational illiteracy and stupid arrogance by their pontiffs
Home ] Introduction ] Myths ] Organizations ] Cultural Fascism ] Riots and attacks ] Role of Govt. & Police ] Hindu ] Dalit ] Muslims ] India ] World Fascism ] Images ] Posters ] Cartoon ] Audio & Video ] Discussion ] Search ] News &  Events ] What's New ]
Discuss The Topic Further On Our Public Bulletin Board  Search  Indian Fascism
1 Add this page to Favorites   * Share it with a Friend   : Make it your Homepage!

FAIR USE NOTICE: Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. This Web contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are  making these available in our efforts to advance understanding of  human rights,  democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a `fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use these copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond `fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Your suggestions  will keep us abreast of what do u like to see in these pages.
Last updated: February 22, 2000.