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.’
Dwijendra Narayan Jha is a historian, a former professor of the University of Delhi. He was also a National Lecturer in History and General President, Indian History Congress. He is the author of Rethinking Hindu Identity and Early India: A Concise History. Most of his writings have been translated into several Indian and foreign languages.
In the media
G. Sreedathan interviews historian D. N. Jha in Business Standard.