Secularism in India and religio-politics of Bovine divinity

Suhail Hussain,

Secularism in India marks a conjugation of many concepts and cultural identities of many sects which calls for a consensual democracy shares powers of its sub-culture.

India celebrated its glory of democratic value as the largest democratic country in the world since its independence. “Unity in diversity”, individual liberty in believing any religion and practicing its rituals etc. marked India’s secularism a kind of model politics.

But now a  kind of mental discomfort had depressed the Muslims as well as the secularists and the believers of democracy encompassing the controversial law of denying cattle trade and beef consumption.  Within the hopeless fascist age of the central rule and the period of regaining superstitious and irrational enculturation, government restricted the slaughter of cows and sale of beef in 24 of the country’s 29 states.

The diffusion of the law to the other states especially the northern states like Kerala -which keeps its high democratic and secularist values throughout its territory- day before the first of Ramadan was the most discrepant act of controversy by the government questioning the democratic values and the future of practicing Muslim life in India.

Most of the religious and political parties except the right wing Hindu party in Kerala conducted seminars and mass participated protests against the law, claiming interference of the government on individual rights and forced the high court to reduce the law avoiding the use of beef.  The spiritual leaders and Ulama of the state expressed a high volt of patients and tranquility towards the situation by awaking Muslims that the public affair of associating beef consumption and cow slaughtering as a major religious practice should be edited and seek for alternatives in food for Eedul Alha and Ifthar meets avoiding a communal violence or riots.


An objective study shows that the holy cow was a myth in Hindu texts and anthropomorphic world of Hinduism as Kamadenu. All cows defined as mother goddess from this divine bovine reside in the cow’s body. So it holds upon the devout Hindu to worship and perform their sacred duty by protecting it.  It is a religious delusion and superstitious practice of giving spiritual dimensions to some animals and not to others. But, it is the controversy that, some Hindu texts like Manusmrithi give permission of cow slaughter and state the beef as a best and nutritious food particle. Many right wing academicians and doctors claims beef is injurious to health so as to deny cow slaughtering as evidence for their arguments.

For the legalization and execution, the law makers and promoters redefined the article of the constitution regarding the protection and welfare of the cattle’s.

Article 48 of the Indian constitution can be read as; “the state shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific line and shall , In particular, take steps for preserving and improving breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and  draught cattle’s”. The term milch used here is actually for the cattle’s cultured for milk production and the draught cattle for the cattle’s used for the purpose of agriculture such as plotting and plough.

The political viewers in some terms put into consider the new controversy and proclamation of law as a curtain to veil the anti-democratic and fruitless rule of the government by turning people’s attention towards the cow issue. And the reality slopes to the fact that the irrational and anti-modern acts and law by the government tends to gain the support and participation of the right wing Hindu majority towards making an India that consists of Hindu values and culture as in early Hindu dictums as Ramarajya by growing militancy of some Hindus targeting Muslims.

And it is totally against tradition and democratic values of India which calls for freedom of the citizen to belief and practice

any religion and its rituals as per the individual decision. It may cause a huge amount of degradation of India’s secularist and fundamentalist values in global arena and great concept of “unity in diversity”.

Although, It is a hopeful fact that some Hindus and citizens in Kerala who stands for harmony and brotherhood conducted Ifthar meets and public gatherings for Muslims reducing the high tension of communal violence and mental tensions. It was a hidden agenda of the Hindu activist’s to blast a riot in the secular state, by proclaiming the law of cow trade prevention just close to the Ramadan, and some Hindu activist’s conducted attacks towards temple’s blaming the responsibility towards Muslim groups. But, it was the mindfulness and hope of humanity and brotherhood of the Ulema and Muslim wings to hold peace and tranquility respecting the holy month that down stretched the tensions and pressure in hopeful manner. Anyway, the holy month of Ramadan this year marked a variety of memories and a wake for the belief as the public sermons are truly filled with the controversy and the role of patience and piety of the Muslim’s towards all calamities and depressions.

Suhail.VH is graduate student at Centre for Islamic studies, Madeenathunnoor College of Islamic science, Under patronage of JAMIA MARKAZ, Unnikkulam [po], poonoor,Calicut, Kerala pin; 673574

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