Two issues have again caught the public eye in the recent times. They have been pending for many years now. First of them is the reconstruction of Ram mandir on the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya and the second is complete ban on cow slaughter.
Reasons behind the issue
Even after 70 years of independence, the ongoing debate marks the tragedy of many contradictions in the public discourse. After all, who are the opponents of the aforementioned issues and what is their mentality?
Those who oppose them in Bharat can be divided into two categories. There is a section in the Muslim society which is still not able to synergize itself to Bharat and who still identify themselves with Mohammad Bin Kasim, Ghaznavi, Babur or Aurangzeb.
In the 12th century when Mahmud Ghaznavi took over the office of the Khalifa, he had sworn that he would return to Bharat every year, vandalize the temples and murtis of the Hindus and give them an option to choose between death and converting to Islam. During his 32-year reign, Ghaznavi could not come to Bharat every year but he attacked Bharat more than a dozen times.
The other category comprises of the Hindus who still suffer from the slave mentality born out of the 800 year rule of Muslims and 200 year rule of the British. They see every issue with the glasses of Marxism and Macaulay school of thought, and hence are unable to hold a self-confident view on any national issue.
Looking at the contemporary world
The key argument of the people who are not in favour of the ban on cow slaughter is that it is averse to the fundamental right of an individual to access one’s favorite food. The law and order of any nation can not be cut off from its culture and history. In many states of America and some European countries, horse meat is prohibited due to religious and cultural reasons. There is also a ban on dog meat in these places, since the locals have an emotional attachment towards them and consider it a social and cultural stigma to consume their meat.
In Taiwan, where the meat of the dog is ravished, the legislature has recently prohibited the sale of the meat of cats and dogs. There is no spiritual or religious belief behind this restriction, but an emotional perspective. It is ironical that in a country like Bharat where in spite of the faith of millions of people attached to cows, cow slaughter has not been completely prohibited. From the economic and environmental point of view also, the ban on cow slaughter is necessary.
Freedom v/s mutual respect for religion
In a civilized society, the right to freedom can not be used to override the feelings of fellow citizens. If due to the religious sentiment of minorities in Bharat, books of Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie can be banned, there appears no reason why cow slaughter can not be completely banned in resonance with the emotions of the majority community?1
Cruelty against any animal, including cows is inhumane all over the world. Article 48 of the constitution of Bharat delineates the conservation of cows. Bharat’s first revolt of independence was the result of the protest against the cartridges made up of cow’s beef and pig’s pork. In 1870, the Namdhari Sikhs also spread the ‘Kuka movement’ for the protection of cows. From King Ashoka to Akbar, all have banned cow slaughter. After the revolution of 1857, when Bahadurshah Zafar assumed the throne of Delhi again, a decree was issued by him to punish the cow slaughterers by subjecting them in front of the cannon.
Breaking the myth
All the advocates of cow slaughter give the sophism of beef intake in the Vedic civilization. First of all, it is a lie. Secondly, what is the current relevance of something that happened thousands of years ago? Earlier, there was untouchability as well as sati-pratha but these evils were eliminated by enlightened Hindus through the social reforms. 2
Our society is eternal, which is assimilating new things everyday along with keeping its old sensibilities. Along with the of conservation of cows, the reconstruction of Ram mandir on Ram janmabhoomi is also a matter concerning the conviction of millions of Hindus, which is at present, pending in the court. Is the matter of the Ram mandir only concerned with the right and the ownership of land? History bears witness that Muslim rulers and invaders have converted Hindu temples into mosques and dargahs by vandalizing them not only in Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura, but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Haryana and Delhi.
In 629 CE, a Hindu ruler, Cheraman Perumal had built a Mosque by the name of Cheraman Juma Mosque in Kondugullur district in Kerala. A miniature of the same was gifted by PM Modi to the royal family in his visit to Saudi Arabia.The most noteworthy point is that this mosque was constructed by a Hindu ruler in the lifetime of the prophet of Islam and this was the first mosque to be built outside Arabia. 3
The real problem
When due to the Bharatiya philosophy of pluralism, mosques were being constructed even before the rise of Islam in Bharat, what was the fundamental purpose of the Islamic invaders after 712 CE to vandalize Hindu temples? Did these invaders demolish the temples in Bharat and construct mosques for the sake of religious purposes? Actually these acts were done to belittle the people of Bharat who had been defeated by them. At the same time it was also for the purpose of hurting their religious beliefs and erasing their identity.
Whether it is about the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, disrespect of the flag of Bharat in the valley, raising slogans in support of the ISI and Pakistan, siding with the anti-national elements, or opposing Uniform Civil Code and uniform educational practices; the same mentality is behind all this, active in different forms. Right from Muhammad Bin Qasim’s era to the present times, the final objective of this school of thought is destroying the glorious civilization of Bharat and its pluralistic society.
If secularism and democracy are to be kept intact and vibrant in Bharat, then we must fight against this mindset. The reconstruction of Ram mandir on Ram janmabhoomi and complete ban on cow slaughter are the first two episodes of this long struggle against this slave mentality.
(This article is a translation of a recent op-ed by Shri Balbir Punj which appeared in Dainik Jagran – clipping provided above)
Editor’s Note / Footnotes
While agreeing with the crux of Shri Balbir Punj’s argument, we at HinduPost disagree with certain points raised in the article –
1.) Comparing book bans that pander to Islamists and a law against cow slaughter due to Hindu sensitivities is false equivalence. Ironically, Nehru, the man feted by left-liberals as the champion of free speech, was the one who curtailed this freedom through the first Constitutional amendment in 1951. There is an exceptional civilizational case to ban cow slaughter in Bharat, which stands independent of any other argument.
2.) Vedas and other Hindu scriptures have been mis-interpreted and distorted since the birth of Western Indology, the inglorious tradition launched by colonialists like William Jones and continued by ‘scholars’ like Max Mueller who barely knew any Sanskrit and were thinly-disguised Christian propagandists. This Hinduphobic tradition has today taken a more sophisticated form under likes of Sheldon Pollock and Wendy Doniger, and of course Indian Marxist ideologues masquerading as historians. There are no two ways about it – there is no evidence that beef eating ever had scriptural or cultural sanction in Hindu civilization. On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence which shows how the cow has been revered as a sacred animal over the ages.
On the matter of Sati, the masterly book ‘Sati: Evangelicals, Baptist Missionaries, and the Changing Colonial Discourse’ by Meenakshi Jain shows how atrocity literature around Sati has managed to brainwash many Hindus even today that Sati was a widespread social evil that the British ended. The bottom line is that Hindus need to make their own assessment of their scriptures and traditions, rather than blindly swallow what others are saying about us.
Did you like this article? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.