Author: D N Jha
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788189059163
In this book, historian Dwijendra Narayan Jha argues that the ‘holiness’ of the cow is a myth and its flesh played an important part in the cuisine of ancient India. Citing Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina religious scriptures, he underlines the fact that beef-eating was not Islam’s ‘baneful bequeathal’ to India.
Nor can abstention from it be a mark of ‘Hindu’ identity, notwithstanding the averments of Hindutva forces who have tried to foster the false consciousness of the ‘otherness’ on the followers of Islam.
This new Navayana edition features an excerpt from Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s 1948 work on the connections between untouchability and beef-eating. Ambedkar marshals evidence to argue that in the Vedic period, ‘for the Brahmin every day was a beef-steak day."
While cow veneration and vegetarianism may be the hallmarks of Hinduism today, Jha compiles copious evidence that this has hardly always been the case.
NEW YORK TIMES
Jha draws on an amazingly wide range of material an enlightening endeavour, demonstrating a critical understanding of a popular misconception.
-JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES
Jha traces the history of the doctrine forbidding the eating of cows soundly and thoroughly covering both the classic texts and cutting-edge scholarship, Indian and European.
-TIMES LITERARY SUPPLMENT
This little gem of a book provides a wealth of evidence exposing myth creation and the way symbols are used politically to divine people.
Preface to the Navayana Edition
Note on Transliterations
1.Animals are verily food’ but Yajnavalkya Favours Beef
2.The Rejection of Animal Sacrifice: An Assertion of the Sacredness of the Cow?
3.The Later Dharmasastric Tradition and Beyond
4.The Cow in the Kali Age and Memories of Beef Consumption
5.A Paradoxical Sin and the Paradox of the Cow
6.Resume: The Elusive ‘Holy Cow’
Appendix: Untouchability, the Dead Cow and the Brahmin