Defending beef ban in India on question of faith of majority of Indians

To conclude, the Constitution of India never says compulsorily ban cattle slaughter. It seems to offer ample space to Indian people’s food diversity. That’s why there’s NO reason you should believe that cattle slaughter is prohibited by Constitution of India. In addition, the COI is clear that majoritarian view doesn’t mean Constitutional view.

A couple of days ago, a spokesperson of a political party was defending beef ban in India on the ground of the question of faith of majority of people in India.

Although majority of the States in India have banned cow slaughter, defending beef ban in India on the ground of majority’s faith is a bad argument.

Why? Because majority of states doesn’t mean all the states. If issues are debated on the question of majoritarian argument or on the basis of whose voice is louder, then the minority’s way of life, food and faith will always get relegated.

To ensure that this does not happen in India, the Constitution of India(CoI) tries to give equal (and in some cases even more voice and space) to the minorities. Here, minorities includes both religious and ethnic minorities. The basic idea here is to allow the religious/ethnic minorities to develop and prosper. The Constitution of India has not taken a majoritarian stance. Instead it has tried to give equal opportunity to all, irrespective of the number. That’s why defending issues on the question of faith is a bad argument.

Take an example. What can be a question of faith for sizable population of Uttar Pradesh, may not be so for the ethnic diversity of North East India. But since the population of Uttar pradesh is much larger than any of the states in the North East, hence things cannot be decided on the question of Faith.

Here, it’s necessary to understand that although the Constitution of India, from the time of its inception, acknowledged cow as being a question of faith for a section of Indians; it never linked that acknowledgement to the number. That’s it never said — Because larger number of people treat cow as sacred, hence lets ban cow slaughter. Instead the CoI mandates the state to prohibit the slaughter of cattle (cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle). In simple words, the CoI conveys to the State (country) that the State must aspire to put a pan India ban on cattle slaughter. But when will it be done, will depend on the time the people are ready for it. Since India is a culturally diverse Nation, with diverse food habits; hence the decision and extent of cattle slaughter has been left with the states comprising India. This explains why there are still many states namely — Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.

Thus If someone tells you that the Constitution of India strictly tells the State(Country) to ban cow slaughter; then he/she is misleading you. The CoI is simply telling the State to aspire for such a ban.

To conclude, the makers of Constitution, had different sensibilities and thinking about Cattle slaughter. But since they were unsure of the impact of such a ban on the cattle economy and the food sensibilities of the people of India; hence they made subject of cattle slaughter directive (non-coercive) only.

To conclude, the Constitution of India never says compulsorily ban cattle slaughter. It seems to offer ample space to Indian people’s food diversity. That’s why there’s NO reason you should believe that cattle slaughter is prohibited by Constitution of India. In addition, the COI is clear that majoritarian view doesn’t mean Constitutional view.

Food is a major part of any culture. If we want to appreciate any culture then it’s important to appreciate not only their clothing, traditions, language (or dialect); but also their food. Remember, culturally India is not one homogeneous mass (made up of similar parts). We are different. Why go far, the food of Punjabis is very different from that of Rajasthanis!

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