Yesterday, 52 year old Mohammad Akhlaq, his 22 year old son Mohammad Danish and his 82 year old mother Asari Begum were attacked by a fundamentalist mob on the basis of rumours that Mohammed and his family were eating beef. Mohammed Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son is admitted to the hospital in critical condition. Ansari Begum is badly hurt but did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
This is not the first time such an incident has happened. While some state governments have recently passed laws banning cow-slaughter, this country allows sale and consumption of beef.
Let me make it very clear. Indians eat beef. There are thousands of families who cannot afford chicken or lamb/mutton. Beef is the only affordable meat they have access to. There are many families living in remote forest locations where even beef is a luxury and all they have access to are mid-sized rodents in their habitat.
From what I understand, about 15% of Indians are vegetarian by tradition who never eat meat. Another 10% are vegetarian by choice and they don’t eat meat either. Another 15% of the population doesn’t eat beef owing to religious and non-religious reasons included [they eat chicken/egg/fish/lamb]. The rest of the population either regularly or irregularly eats beef. They are Indian citizens too.
Beef is by far the cheapest meat available in the market and this makes it affordable to those Indians who cannot buy chicken/lamb on a regular basis.
If someone says ‘Indians don’t eat beef,’ then that is absolute triple distilled BULLSHIT!!!!
There are more beef-eating Indians than anyone can possibly imagine. Unfortunately most of those segments of the Indian society are not represented outside India and the vast majority of the non-beef-eating Indians just shoot out generalisations such as ‘Indians don’t eat beef.’
My dear fellow humans of the western world who regard orange clothing and the word ‘guru’ as something related to high-end Indian spirituality, please don’t get misguided by the comments from few Indians who say ‘Indians don’t eat beef.’ Who say so may not eat beef for various reasons. Please respect their lifestyle choice. However, do not believe them when they say nobody eats beef in India.
If we have to bring an analogy to this situation we can look at hollywood movies. Everytime they say the world is going to end in a disaster movie, the disaster almost certainly hits Manhattan and the few big cities are often portrayed as ‘America.’ However, the real USA has so much more that even those in the big cities there are yet to realize.
Similarly, when you hear India, don’t jump to a cultural stereotype coloured in orange, hymns and yoga tricks. Nobody does that. Those who do the spiritual practices you see at ‘cultural centers’ form less than 15% of the population.
Because those Indians who don’t eat beef are too embarrassed to indicate their minority status, they tend to generalise and what you receive is ‘Indians don’t eat beef.’
Well, I am Indian. I eat beef. I know many of my relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues who eat beef and this list includes all religions. We get beef in fine dining restaurants, takeaway eateries and the most important street shops we fondly call ‘KaiYendhi Bhavan’ [this is a term very local to where I come from and most of my Indian friends would not understand or even heard of it before….however, it has been in existence for decades].
Fundamentalist violence is slowly taking over this country and is depriving the citizens of their rightful lifestyle choices.
Time has come for the beef-eating Indians to stay strong and not feel marginalised because of a simple lifestyle choice - BEEF.
For those who are not aware, India is the largest beef exporter of the world. Indian beef accounts for 23.5% of the global beef exports. This in essence means that India harvests a lot of beef which also explains the low cost of the meat and its consumption by large segments of the Indian community.
Summing up, INDIANS EAT BEEF and will continue to.