beef
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

GVS News Analysis – Najma Minhas

Perhaps it was more than a mere coincidence that his announcement came the same day as the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) cleared senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, and two others of all charges in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case in which three people were killed.

Ever since Yogi Adityanath took over as Chief Minister of India’s largest state, UP, Muslims, other minorities and even Hindu liberals are coming under a new wave of conformist pressure to fit their practices inside a majoritarian moral order. In the latest twist of events, on Monday, the spiritual head of the Ajmer Dargah, Dargah Diwan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, at the closing ceremony of the 805th annual Urs at the Ajmer shrine, announced that he and his family would renounce beef and appealed to all other Muslims to do the same.

Perhaps it was more than a mere coincidence that his announcement came the same day as the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) cleared senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, and two others of all charges in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case in which three people were killed. The NIA,  India’s  prestigious agency, stated that no evidence was found against them. Indian media were already speculating this decision. So the submission that followed from Ajmer Sharif’s Diwan was not in a political vacuum.

When BJP first appeared on the horizon, in late 1980’s it was described, by Indian liberal apologists, as a temporary phenomenon.

Indian ruling elite, intellectual circles and liberals from Delhi to London, from Washington to Brussels often tout large Muslim minority as evidence of Indian diversity and secularism. Though actual figures of religious communities in India are hard to determine, but Muslims are described to constitute almost 20 percent of India’s population; this should be more than 200 million.

But most of these Muslims are under extreme pressure to conform to the Hindu majoritarian demands. Muslims should not eat beef if it hurts the religious sentiments of Hindu majority is one such demand. But “Don’t Eat Beef” campaign may only represent the tip of the iceberg. Indian politics appears to be on a slippery path towards greater fundamentalism – with an ever-shrinking space for Muslims and other minorities.

The pressure being faced by minorities is not exclusive to Muslims alone. Large Christian populations are upset after Modi recently declared that December 25th will be celebrated as Good Governance Day and not as Christmas Day.

This trend has been exacerbated under the right wing Hindu majority government of the BJP and especially after the last month wins in several states across India. The beef ban is also being used as a political gimmick that the BJP uses to enforce its hold over the Hindu masses especially in its heartland territories. In Gujrat, strict laws have been introduced over cow slaughtering; with life imprisonment for those undertaking it.

Read more: Gujarat Law Minister: ”anyone who doesn’t.spare cows, the government will not spare him

Modi was condemned as a butcher of Gujrat and fascist by the Indian liberals but when Indian politics veered further towards the right, Indian liberals sold a sanitized version of Narendra Modi as a leader principally driven by “Economic Reform Agendas”. And western diplomats rushed to Gujrat to pay homage to the next leader of world’s largest democracy.

Cow slaughter is thus becoming more of a burning issue in India, where even rumors of cows being transported to slaughterhouses spark killings and initiate religious riots. Cow protection vigilantes are known to roam highways that inspect livestock trucks for any trace of the animal and kill those found carrying them. Last year in India several people were killed because it was alleged they were eating beef. In a couple of cases, it was later proved that they were mere victims of overzealous vigilantes.

In this pre-existing milieu, Uttar Pradesh’s new chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, has started a crackdown on ‘illegal’ slaughterhouses; although those running licensed meat shops have complained they are also being harassed. Azam Khan, a leader of the Samajwadi Party, has also exhorted his Muslim brethren to stop eating beef.

“I appeal to the Muslim fraternity that they think upon it… It is not mandated in Islam that Muslims should eat meat. I appeal to the people that they should stop eating meat.”

Read more: Yogi Adityanath’s First step: Bans Muslims.from selling meat

The extent of vertical and horizontal majoritarian pressures can perhaps be better understood by the fact that both Azam Khan and Dargah Abedin have already moved one step further; they have asked that a ban should be imposed by the Central government on consumption and sale of all beef – so that it is implemented across all states in the country. They both have stated that this is the only way to end the growing “unpleasantness” between the two communities.

Abedin said, “The issue concerning bovines has harmed the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb… To re-establish this legacy of goodwill, Muslims should take an initiative and end the root cause of the issue by renouncing consumption of any kind of beef.” He went on to say, “The cow should also be declared our national animal as it is a symbol of devotion for Hindus,” he said.

Read more: ‘Muslim Women Should be Taken from their Graves and Raped’: Where.is Uttar Pradesh headed?

Muslims that constitute almost 20 percent of India’s population are under extreme pressure to conform to the Hindu majorities demands of not eating beef because it upsets the religious sentiments of the majority.

The pressure being faced by minorities is not exclusive to Muslims alone. Large Christian populations that exist in Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya, are upset after Modi recently declared that December 25th will be celebrated as “Good Governance Day” and not as Christmas Day and has introduced the study of Sanskrit language in the states as mandatory.

Even Hindu liberals are under pressure. Noted lawyer and activist, Prashant Bhushan, had to apologize for a remark where he joked that Lord Krishna could be called an eve-teaser. He made the comment to denounce the anti-Romeo squads initiative that was recently introduced in Uttar Pradesh, where police officers were told to check that women were not being harassed; but it is discovered that police offices had instead started questioning and harassing couples.

Now India’s turn towards greater religious fundamentalism, in the form of Yogi Adityanath is set to further test the hypocrisy and ingenuity of Indian liberals and western governments. How this appeasement of fascism in Indian politics will affect the rest of the region remains to be seen.

When BJP first appeared on the horizon, in late 1980’s it was described, by Indian liberal apologists, as a temporary phenomenon. Later Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was instrumental in Babri Masjid demolishing campaign, was described as a poet and changed man. Modi was condemned as a butcher of Gujrat and fascist by the Indian liberals but when Indian politics veered further towards the right, Indian liberals sold a sanitized version of Narendra Modi as a leader principally driven by “Economic Reform Agendas”. And western diplomats rushed to Gujrat to pay homage to the next leader of world’s largest democracy. Now India’s turn towards greater religious fundamentalism, in the form of Yogi Adityanath is set to further strain the hypocrisy and ingenuity of Indian liberals and western governments. How this appeasement of fascism in Indian politics will affect the rest of the region remains to be seen.

Najma Minhas is Managing Editor, Global Village Space. Earlier she worked with National Economic Research Associates (NERA), in London and New York, Investment bank, Lehman Brothers in London and Standard Chartered Bank in Pakistan. She studied International Relations from Columbia University, New York and Economics from London School of Economics & Political Science.

Najma Minhas is Managing Editor, Global Village Space. She has worked in New York and London with the National Economic Research Associates and with the Investment Bank, Lehman Brothers and Standard Chartered Bank. She is an analyst and appears on many national Pakistani TV channels. She has contributed pieces for The Foreign policy, The Diplomat, Islamic, The Nation and other newspapers. She has Masters degrees in International Relations from Columbia University and in Economics from the London School of Economics.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “OK we wount eat beat” is not end of submission. It will follow by “ok we wount grow beard”, “ok we wount say azan loudly”, ” ok we wount have Arabic names” and so on and on.
    We have Pakistan. Thanks to Iqbal and Qaid-e-azam.
    Here too Muslims are target, but from different angles.

  2. O.K. Indian Muslims won’t eat beef, without eating beef one should not die, it was strictly observed in J &K, from 1846–1847, a Hindu Maharaja Gulab Singh bought vale of Kashmir by mere 75000 rupees from British Empire, a Muslim majority state was ruled by Dogra dynasty for nearly hundred years, those subjects 80% Muslims suffered with strict laws of Hindus’ minority, Kashmiris still live with that slavery now being Indian National. Now no freedom to all Muslims of Indian national, there is no difference between the rule of autocratic rulers and biggest democracy in the world.
    Why, so, it was menace of partition of India, which brought all these tragedy for Muslims of India, revolutionaries like Allama Al- Msharaqui, religious leaders like Maulana Attaullah Shah Bukhari and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad advised all Muslims of India not to go after Jinnah of Pakistan for partition of India, majority Muslims would divided into three would face, Hindu minority’s fate, becoming majority. These personalities’ ideas against partition are bringing fruits for all Muslims in subcontinent, Pakistan is suffering from the menace of terrorism, corruption and poverty , because Pakistan is feeding a big belly organ, armed forces for the sake of its safety, and the Kashmir issue was also created with division of Punjab.

    • Muslims constitute less than 13% of Indian population i.e. 170 million. Add to that Pak & Bangladesh muslim population 180 + 140 million respectively. Total 490 million muslims in subcontinent. Whereas total 1.1 billion hindus in subcontinent combined. The muslim % will still remain 28% and hindus will be 70% in entire subcontinent.

  3. Now wait for so many other things to be banned by BJP. They are the ruler now they will decide the faith of their secular country not be secular any more.

Comments & Discussion