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Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

JUH and Hindutva

As a person with some experience of negotiations, I appreciate the conclusion drawn by Mr. Shamsul Islam in his article on "JUH At the Service of Hindutva" about the impropriety of its timing, its methodology and the exploitation of Darul Uloom's advisory on cow slaughter by the RSS for its false propaganda against the Muslims that the Muslims have been the 'culprits' and need a treatment from time to time to bring them to their senses.

Cow slaughter is basically an economic question. Muslims do not eat beef for the love of it or for spiting the Hindus. They, and more than them, the SC/ST community eat beef simply because it is cheaper than chicken meat or mutton as a source of protein for the poor. The consumption depends on the availability of the aged and decrepit uneconomic cattle in the market. The sellers are mostly Hindus who cannot afford to keep them. They are bought not for their meat which is a by-product but for their skins and bones. As the citizen of a secular state, I would not like legislature to be used to appease religious sentiments at the cost of economy. So, instead of depending on legislatures to ban the slaughter of old and useless cattle and on state subsidy to run cattle shelter, Hindu philanthropists should enter the market and buy the cattle by offering a better price and then establish Goshalas and Gosadans out of religious piety without drawing upon the public exchequer.

Incidentally the Deoband 'fatwa' was on the basis of significant but erroneous element in the question that the Central Government had banned slaughter of cows and all its progeny all over the country. The Muftis never questioned this statement which is factually incorrect and since Islam calls upon Muslim to abide by the law enforced by a duly constituted authority if it does not prohibit the performance of a religious duty by the Muslims, they advised that Muslims should refrain from Qurbani/Zabiha of cattle of all ages.

The fact is that only in some states there is a comprehensive ban on slaughter of cow and all its progeny of all ages. In other states, there is either no ban or the ban applies on cattle below a prescribed age or on milch cows.
It may be added for the information of Hindu scholars that Islam clearly prohibits demonstrative public slaughter of all animals which may hurt the sentiments of those who are not carnivorous. 

Syed Shahabuddin

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