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The myth of the holy cow

Par   •  25 Janvier 2018  •  1 847 Mots (8 Pages)  •  248 Vues

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The fact that such bans had been based on the fact that killing cattle made a hindu impure was flawed as it is a proven fact that even gods had shared the love for this delicacy. Therefore, since they can’t be considered less hindu, how can someone else from the simple act of consuming meat be considered impure. Concrete fact can be picked from the epic of Mahabharata. There are multiple instances in Mahabharata that prove the fact that a lot of characters in the epic were meat eaters. Take the example of King Ratnadeva who was known to have butchered as many two thousand cows each day in his kitchen, and their flesh was distributed to the Brahmins. The Ramayana of Valmiki also shows few instances where the flesh of cattle was consumed by gods or offered by them. Sita, while crossing river Yamuna, which was the holy tributary of Ganga offered the river two thousand cows and jars of wine when Rama would accomplish his vow. We also see Bhardvaja welcoming Rama by slaughtering a fat calf in the honour of the king. Such instances from the two most important epics of hindu mythology gives concrete proof that even gods were not shy of consuming cattle and believed in the sacrifice of the cattle as well. Therefore, the question that appears to me persistently is how did Hindus manage to make cow slaughtering such a huge sin for an Hindu to commit when it actually was not for our own gods.


One of the reasons which strikes instantly is the prevention of cattle for the agrarian purpose. There have been multiple instances where myths have been created around a certain object or aspect. These myths are created by people to prevent others from performing an activity that would be harmful to society in the long run. However, who decides what is important for the society and how can someone anticipate what would be the repercussions of creating such a myth in the long term. A common myth, which exists across all religions, is about life after death. Nothing can prove the existence of this myth, however so many rituals are performed to give a final send off to the dead. No one might have thought about how creating a myth around the cow could become such a talking point in the future. It could not have been predicted that so many people might die in the future, because of this one myth being created to prevent cow. The hundreds of riots that took place and an entire community being offended because of this myth could have been prevented.

A second point needs to also be considered when we talk about the beef ban. We cannot negate the fact that a lot of political agendas also inspire such bans. For a while now India’s fast growing beef industry has become a political issue. The issue intensifies suddenly during the elections in the country. These elections divide the country on many parameters. Divides are made on the lines of being cultural, religious and political. Muslims and Hindus become a great political agenda as well, which can also be seen as beef eating and non-beef eating people. Politicians are known to take a stand on the issue, just on the basis of how many votes will he garner from the audience by his decision. If he feels muslim votes are needed to be bagged, he will uplift the bans. However, if he feels the ban of slaughter houses will impress the hindu crowd, he will impose the ban. (Maharashtra's beef ban shows how politicians manipulate Hindu sentiments around cow slaughter, 2015)

The point of this research is not just to talk about the beef ban and how cow slaughtering is based on a myth. The broader point that I wanted to make out of this research was to talk about the rationale behind many more myths that needs to be questioned. These myths cannot be blindly followed and before diving into the defence of any such myth, thorough research needs to be done.


Sabhlok, S. (2010). Beef eating in ancient India. Retrieved from

Gopal, S. D. (2015). Selling the sacred cow:India's Contentious Beef Industry. Retrieved from

D.N.Jha. The Myth of the holy cow. Navayana.

Maharashtra's beef ban shows how politicians manipulate Hindu sentiments around cow slaughter. (2015). Retrieved from

Editor. (2000). Congress:Communal Consciousness. Retrieved from


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