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So, the world seems to be up in arms about eating beef, at least a whole lot of purists in India seem to have found this sudden love for the animal that in my view is perhaps the most exploited animal on the planet. The poor ol’ cow is made to stand in confined environments with a stash of tubes connected to its udders and is made to produce milk for all of us to consume. Now, that’s a very beautiful process isn’t it? And today, some smart alec tells us he wants to use cow pee to clean hospitals and he isn’t from the party you expect him to be from...so there you have it. A lot of respect for the poor animal is shown while this happens, isn’t it?

We also find it absolutely acceptable to pay a premium for a wallet that’s made of ‘premium cow hide’ and stuff it our ass pocket. Of course, that’s respectable. We look for bags, belts and so many more accessories that are made from this premium hide, don’t we? So do vegetarian, non-beef eating Hindus not carry leather wallets made from premium cow leather? And are shopkeepers across the country that stock cow hide leather goods expected to pull the product off the shelves? Sure, kill away that industry. Let the jobs go. That works.

And then boom! It is suddenly the most sacred animal to Hindus and it is forbidden to eat the animal’s meat?

I am a Hindu and I am very proud of being one because I was brought up in an environment of tolerance and acceptance. I went to a Christian missionary school for 4 years, sang in a church choir and followed that up with going to a Hindu school, where I learnt my shlokas, ate food with all my classmates many of whom were vegetarian brahmins that included some of who ‘secretly’ ate meat - go figure! We lived in harmony, not questioning people’s beliefs some of the food we brought to school, life was good.

So when I see this talk about this ‘beef ban’ in India, I find it ridiculous for many reasons because if we really respect and value the cow or any animal for that matter, we should look at how the meat eating industry is regulated in India? Do we really have a system to monitor how this industry functions? I honestly don’t expect the govt to start governing my eating habits based on a tale that is based on a lot of hypocrisy.

Banning anything will only lead to a retaliation. History coupled with common sense would help you understand that aspect of human psychology. Controls and regulations that benefit the customer and transparency is a better way to do it. Of course, there is tremendous scope for corruption but that’s what the think tanks should work out BEFORE they go around banning stuff.

To me, all of this secular talk is equally nonsensical. Because true secularist ideals are not made on the basis of exclusion but more on the basis of inclusion that recognizes and appreciates majorities AND minorities. What our country has faced for close to 6 decades (in my most humble opinion) is a measure of vote based politics by appeasing minorities at the expense of a majority and letting that allow for a large measure of corruption, apathy and indifference that has affected the development of the people in the country. We’ve been kept drugged with this false sense of development that has led to what is now being seen as a retaliation. And did we not expect this? In an ideal world, it would be live and let live. But are really capable of doing that? Just as much as it has been proven that ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’ aren’t actually Mahatma Gandhi’s words, the truth remains that we lack the sense to be able to see what is truly going on here...

And of course, mine will be just another opinion based on some aspects of what we see and are exposed to. But let me put it out there:

1. Stop with all the bans that seem to be the norm right now. Porn ban, beef ban etc.

2. Police content through technology and ensure that specific aspects such as child pornography, violence against animals (we’ll come to that), or intentions to instigate violence or create communal disharmony are not just blocked out but targeted

2. Set up separate consumption facilities for beef or any other meat that is certified by Health Authorities and managed by independent teams. If countries in the Middle East can have sections for those who consume pork, that to me is a significant level of tolerance. Some might call it hypocrisy but I strongly disagree. Many countries around these parts realize that they have consumers from all across the world and hence have separate sections that sell pork within supermarkets. That is quite brilliant. (now, let’s not talk about human rights and all other so called issues people might have with countries in the Middle East - you all might have a lot of opinions about a lot of these matters. Keep them. If you have something to say about this specific point, by all means, share your view.

At the end of the day, a partisan approach gets us nowhere. India is the most diverse country in the world. We have lived with each other for hundreds of years and largely respected each other for our beliefs and sentiments. . if we focus on our values and respect for each other irrespective of what language we speak, what part of the country we come from and how much money we have, would make for the most formidable country in the world. Because, we don’t need a pseudo-secular or a supposedly Hindutva political party to define who we really are.