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Beef Politics – Cheap Protein Verses Religious Sentiments.

In the past few weeks, the much heated topic which has been the headlines is beef eating. The lynching of a U.P. based Muslim man for consuming beef has torn apart the country. But the question arises is beef eating really a sin, a sin for which a person has to lose his life.

The latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) shows that around 80 million people- around 1 of every13 Indians- eat beef. Surprisingly this number includes 12.5 million Hindus. Yes, those Hindus for whom the sacred cow is related to Lord Vishnu and proudly boast that eating beef is taboo for them. The historical evidences show that the Vedic Aryans sacrificed cows and ate beef. This practice continued in the post-Vedic period up to the pre- Mauryan period. Moreover it is the Hindus who sell the cows for being slaughtered after they stop being useful to them.

Think of a laborer after the day’s manual work takes a meal lacking all essential nutrients required by the body. Will he able to have a long and healthy life? In such circumstances the person has to rely on a cost effective source of protein.

Beef provides numerous benefits to human nutrition. This red meat is typically rich in iron and more readily available than any other source. Rich in iron means rich in zinc even which is another common nutritional deficiency which humans have. Beef is not an exception to this. Selenium, a nutrient critical to the human antioxidant defense system is found in good amount in beef. Additionally, the meat is a rich source of vitamin B12, B6 and amino acids. What forms the best part is that it is comparatively cheaper than any other source meat yielding such benefits.

The issue of beef politics is aroused by the politicians to make an attempt to control the mindset of a common man. Their comments have contributed much to the fanning of the religious sentiment of the people. Questions have even been raised on moral grounds. People have gone to the extent of demanding a ban on beef.

However, there are some like Mamata Banerjee, CM West Bengal who has condemned the Dadri Incident and said that if she has got the right to eat fish in a similar way a person has got a right to eat beef. Cine stars like Om Puri has endorsed her remarks and said, “Those banning beef-eating are hypocrites”.

It’s time to remind our countrymen that India grants liberty to its citizens. We have the freedom to dress ourselves in the apparel which we like, move about freely, choose our own life partners, follow any religious faith and of course the right to freedom of speech and expression as prescribed in Art 19 of the Constitution of India. If that is the case then why the food that some eat has to be linked with the religious sentiment of the people of other faith? It is individual’s choice to decide what to eat and none has right to interfere or dictate their choice.

For a vegetarian the plants too have life in them. Does this mean they should stop consuming vegetarian foods? Then why a controversy is raked for eating beef?

-Soma Sarkar