The blanket ban on the beef industry has thrown a vast section of our society into a burning turmoil. Its not just about the intolerance showcased by the Hindutwa extremists or the violence that followed, but the beef ban has made a deep impact on the existing agrarian crisis , threatening the livelihood of more than 2.5 million people.
Narendra modi’s bizarre “rampant slaughter of cows” is far away from the truth. It has been concealed that the meat of buffaloes and unproductive cattle is used for consumption and export rather than cows. The cattle census has shown that over the years there has in reality, been an increase in the cow population and amounts to around 130 million in number. This paints a picture in complete contrast to that is being used to justify the beef ban
The hate campaign that was unleashed, further goes onto state that the Muslims deliberately consume beef to hurt Hindu sentiments. However, the National commission on cattle, set u by the Vajpayee government has to reluctantly admit that extreme poverty and customary practices were the reason a large section of the population consumed beef and imposing a beef ban would have a direct impact on the nutrition of the poor
Further, the Sangh pariwar went onto declare that cattle slaughter is rampant as there’s no rule to check it. But as per the legal provisions in India, except for some states in north east, al other states have some form of anti-cow slaughter rules established.
However, the major point that the supporters of beef ban seems to deliberately forget is the classification that exists in dividing cattle into productive and unproductive. Once a cow or bull passes a certain stage and does not produce milk or of be any use in agriculture, such cattle can be slaughtered, with the ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate provided by the authorities.
The beef ban will not only fuel communalism but its major impact will be that an already chocked agrarian industry will be pushed to suffocation. More than 2.5 million people are involved in cattle rearing. With the threats are being flown at them from all sides and the extreme violence against those who attempt in the trade, the livelihood of the farmers have taken a major hit.
A ban on slaughter will force the farmers to pay for the upkeep of unproductive cattle. For a family already struggling to make their ends meet, this will amount to an added burden on their meager income. According to the cattle census there’s already an amount of 50 lakh cattle abandoned by their owners
It’s not just the farmers who are impacted, but the thriving leather industry in India will take a major blow. With a deep fall in the availability of raw materials, some of the major hide industries are in the verge of closing down. With more than 8 lakh dalits engaged in the industry, most of them have ended up losing their only source of income.
However, even when lakhs of Indians are losing their livelihoods, the government has allowed for the import of cow or bull hide with zero percent duty. This, even when the government is spearing forward with their ‘Make in India’ slogan. How is shutting down the Indian workforce and importing leather form other nations exactly make in India?
The Beef Ban, has not only ignited a deep communal split, but also successfully ruined the livelihood of millions of farmers and workers in the leather industry. Even when the government is busy promoting themselves, as the fighters of the poor and bringer of good times, their policy points to the ever present communalism which has always been their driving energy. With violence unleashed upon the poor who try to live through the only income source they know, it again raises the question, is cows more important than the life of those who live amongst us. Also the increasing import of leather from Pakistan and other countries, are only Indian cows sacred?
While the Hindutwa forces ignoring the entire economic angle of the issue and pushing forward with the question, “if Pakistan can ban pork on religious grounds, why can’t we ban possession and consumption of beef in India?”. It may be a good thing for them to remember that India is a secular country and while you are fighting for a religious supremacy , millions of Indians are starving in extreme poverty.