Industrialist Adi Godrej’s is the latest voice against beef slaughter ban in Maharashtra and other states. While talking to Indian Express - the chairman of the $4.1-billion Godrej Group, said the beef ban and liquor prohibition in certain states were hurting the economy.
Commenting on the sorry state of Indian economy days before Modi government celebrated two years in office, Godrej said, “Some of the things are affecting growth, for example, the ban on beef in some states. (This) is clearly affecting agriculture, affecting rural growth. Because what do you do with all these extra cows? It is also affecting business, because this was a good source of income for many farmers. So that’s a negative,” he said.
Godrej did not stop here. Stating that Indians were beef-eaters in Vedic times, he said, “There is nothing against beef in our religion. It is a practice that evolved over years of drought, and the elders said don’t slaughter cows, preserve them for milk for children. That has turned into a religious belief. This is ridiculous. Vedic Indians were beef-eaters.”
“Now the Bombay High Court has said that alright you can stop the slaughter of cows, but you can’t stop consumption. It’s silly to say that possession of meat, which is eaten all over the world, is a crime,” he said.
Interestingly, the BJP came to power on the promise of speedy and overall growth and development. The BJP in fact promised kind of development and growth that others could not do in the last 65 years. But, among the first things it did after coming to power in Maharashtra was to bring in legislation to enforce ban on beef and animal slaughter. (Please note that the latest legislation is not related to cow slaughter. Cow slaughter is already banned in Maharashtra and other states since 1976.)
The immediate reaction after the legislation was enforced was that the government’s decision was aimed at pleasing its vote bank and punishing Muslims, who, it was made to believe, survive only on beef consumption.
But, about two years of beef ban enforcement has shown that the law did have its impact on the Muslim community, especially during Bakra Eid when they could not sacrifice animals. But, it had far deadlier and fatal impact on communities other than Muslims, and of course the rural economy.
Incidentally, ummid.com was the first to come up with an in-depth study to expose the myth that only Muslims are consuming beef and that only Muslims are associated with and are benefitting from animal slaughter and other related trades.
The study also revealed that the legislation will be suicidal for farmers who are already stressed due to poor monsoon of the last two years. But, the BJP government brazenly ignored the harm the legislation would cause on other communities, especially the farmers, and blindly followed its anti-Muslim agenda and went ahead with the controversial legislation.
The prevailing situation is also alarming for those fighting for animal rights. (Is Maneka Gandhi reading this?) The legislation has proved painfully detrimental to animals, especially those in poor health and who have grown old.
Currently, a major part of rural India is reeling under worst heat wave and severe drought condition. There is no drinking water and sufficient food for human beings. Under such a situation, condition of animals can only be imagined. (Please don’t force me to believe the images circulating on social media that show animals dumped outside villages. I sincerely want to believe that the government’s Gaushala Scheme is successfully running and all such animals are safe and healthy). But, the present government is showing no interest in addressing the issue.
On the similar lines, the government is experimenting with its textile policy because of which Bhiwandi and Malegaon – two largest textile clusters in India, are struggling since last two years. But, its impact is also seen in places like Surat in Gujarat and Erode in Tamil Nadu.
Majority of textile units in Bhiwandi and Malegaon are owned by Muslims. But, who are masters in Surat and Erode? Not Muslims, of course. Even in Bhiwandi, the two weavers – one in October 2015 and the other in February 2016, who committed suicide because of losses in business, are not Muslims.
Moreover, like animal trade, in textile sector too, Muslims are not the only stakeholders. Right from growing cotton to spinning and then sizing, weaving, processing and trading, there is a cycle involved in the whole process. Muslims are associated with just weaving, rest everything is controlled by non-Muslims. Still, the government is playing with the sector which is largest after agriculture.
Interestingly, on one hand the BJP and RSS talk of converting India into Economic Super Power, and on the other, experiment economic blunders that are aimed at targeting Muslims but are proving disastrous for everyone. Is this how you want to achieve your target?
It’s time for the BJP and RSS to realize the fact that India’s success story will be incomplete unless Muslims are taken along. As for Muslims, they have a tendency to survive hard times.
[The writer is Founder Editor of ummid.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]