Cow on the Indian Political Chessboard


The cow has taken communal colours. Under a government of the Hindu Right, beef is no more one of the items on the dining table. It is part of religious mobilization of Hindutva politics. The ‘holiness’ of the cow has been stained by human blood. The lynching of a Muslim by a frenzied mob at a village in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in the name of ‘holy cow’ is a symptom of the revival of Hindu orthodoxy and return to medieval Brahminical values.

In this context, the book ‘Holy Cow: Indian Political Chessboard’, edited by writer and activist Prof. Ram Puniyani, takes a close look at various issues surrounding the ‘cow controversy’. It puts together the true picture of the status of cow and its political use. Thirteen eminent writers, each one an authority in his/her filed, who have contributed to this work of pre-eminence, have thrown light on facts hitherto unknown to ordinary mortals.

Just one quote of Swami Vivekananda, regarded as a mentor and philosopher of Hindutva by the RSS, clears the cobwebs surrounding the whole issue. Speaking to a large gathering in USA, he had said: “You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.”

As the cow makes a comeback in the religious and political discourse of the country, the book makes an interesting and thought-provoking reading.


Contents of the book:

Will of Babur, Freedom of food, Introduction, Overview: Cow Beef and Indian Politics

Scenario, Cow-beef: From Dietary Practices to Religious Symbol, Dalit Muslims and Holy

Cow, Economic and Contemporary Aspects, Interviews, Dialogues, Index


Contributors: B. R. Ambedkar, Javed Anand, S. Anand, Ram Puniyani, Praful Bidwai, Pradeep Deshpande, Mohammad Yunusddin Farooqui, Irfan Engineer, D. N. Jha, Anupama Katakam, Anshul

Kumar Pandey, A. J. Philip, Divya Rajagopal, Dinesh C. Sharma.


Book: Holy Cow: Indian Political Chessboard

Comp.; Ram Puniyani

ISBN 978-93-7495-600-7

Price Rs. 450/-

Published by Media House, Delhi (

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2016 on page no. 21

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