Guest post courtesy DALIT CAMERA
[On 10th December 2015 Osmania University students celebrated Beef festival to mark Human Rights Day in a novel fashion. BJP MLA Raja Singh few days before stated he would kill or get killed to protect the cow. It is strange because the Osmania Uuniversity students had only said they would eat beef which is already available in the market, they never said they would kill cow, but the BJP/VHP was spreading rumours that OU students are killing cow. Print and Electronic media gave a full coverage for the BJP/VHP activists). With threats pouring in from different corners (Police, Judiciary, Administration) OU students organized the Beef festival, and in their support EFLU, TU, UoH organized beef festival. Most importantly TVV organization ate beef in Delhi Red Fort.
Why did OU students hold the Beef festival? Here we present an interview of Sudarshan, key organizer of the Beef Festival in OU for the larger public. The interview was conducted and transcribed by Dharma Teja.]
December 10th, the whole world celebrates the world Human Rights day. Human society, through various stages of history, have fought for rights and have established this day, for protection of human rights. In India, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities and Bahujan sections have been fighting against the inequalities laden Hindu religion, through different ways and forms.
But, unlike any other place in the world, in India there has been a ban on food habits. In this country, there have been various restrictions, asking people not to eat cow meat, bull meat, and ox meat. There have been restrictions on food habits of Dalits and minorities, and if anyone consumes these foods, there has been a history of murdering them. In 2006, in Durvaria, 4 dalits were ruthlessly murdered inside a police station. And very recently, in Dadri, they spread rumours that a Muslim man named Ikhlaq consumed beef and they cruelly murdered him. In this country it seems that an animal’s life is worth more than a human being. Nowhere in the world, there is a rule that a certain food is only for dominant castes, certain food is for Dalits or only for the oppressed classes. But only in India, there is difference in food consumed by Dalit-Bahujans, Muslim minorities, Christians and Buddhists, and the food consumed by dominant Caste-hindus, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. For thousands of years all these people were consuming beef and after Muslim kings invaded India, they have also continued the habit of consuming beef. Even in Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabarata, all other history shows that people enjoyed beef. D. N. Jha, wrote this in The Myth of the Holy Cow and in the past Babasaheb Ambedkar in the Riddles of Rama and Krishna, clearly showed how untouchability is present around cow meat. Nowhere in Purana Itihasas or in Hindu religious books, has it been written that cow meat shouldn’t be eaten. They have written in Puranas that Vishnu avatars, Pig, Fish and Turtle are holy. In their books [caste-Hindu], it is written that the Hindu gods and goddesses enjoyed beef. But during the independence struggle, to keep power in the hold of Brahmins, after sending the British away, Dayananda Saraswati, to change minority Brahmins to majority, said that only Muslim minorities eat cow meat and that the rest are Hindus and don’t eat cow meat. He conducted a Gosamrakshana yatra and explained how cow is a holy mother. Later in 1964, Vinobha Bhave submitted in parliament that cow should be protected as it is holy to Hindus.
But in truth, article 48 of our constitution mentions that states can make laws to protect agriculture. But there is no mention of religion in article 48. But it only states that, through scientific temper, Indian agriculture and dairy animals should be protected. In ancient India, all classes of people consumed cow meat and there is historical evidence for this. Brahmins only became vegetarians from actually sacrificing hundreds of thousands of cattle in the name of Yagnas, only after Buddha started a movement to protect farm animals, to save agriculture. Later Jain Mahavir also started a movement to protect cattle from being sacrificed in thousands, in order to save agriculture in the country. But Buddhism and Jainism only opposed wasteful sacrifice of farm animals and there is no evidence that they opposed their consumption as food. In fact, even in Ramayana, as Rama was sacrificing thousands of cattle, Thataki fought with Rama to protect farm animals, and they deceptively kill her for that. From Thataki, to Asuras , later Buddhisim and Jainism and Ambedkarites in the modern age, in order to protect nature and environment, they have been saving and caring for cattle. In this country, agriculture and cattle are only cared for by Shudras and Untouchables. Because, products from cow like milk, ghee and butter are enjoyed by Caste-Hindus, but from the time of a cow’s birth and removing it’s skin after it’s death and making chappals, in every such process, Shudras and untouchable castes are involved. How to make use of an animal and how to rear them, is completely known only to the Shudras and Untouchable castes.
Therefore the main issue we are addressing today is that, the concept of purity, started by Dayananda Saraswati and Vinobha Bhave is a very cruel one.Swami Vivekananda, whom hindus consider as one of their great philosophers, in his book The complete works of Vivekananda, volume 3, page 356, states “There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed;”. Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Ithihasas, Mahabarata, Vivekananda, all their holy books state that cow can be ate and that it is unusual to not eat cow, for their political benefit, for votes, to get votes from the majority, they are actively propagating Hindutva, politicizing cow, in order to show Muslim minorities as our enemies, to try to grab Dalit-Bahujan and Adivasi votes.
But in the Bihar elections, the Hindutvas were given a slap. Lalu Prasad Yadav bravely proclaimed that Hindus in this country also eat cow meat. We are inviting him. And Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah also stated that he himself eats cow meat and stop him if they can. They [BJP] threatened that they would cut Siddaramaiah’s head into thousand pieces. In this country, Hindutva has reached a very dangerous stage that even Chief Ministers are being threatened openly that they will be murdered. In truth, RSS Hindutva forces are not even following their own religious books. Only for political gain, they are encouraging religious politics and psychopathic politics.
That is why, in this context, in 2012, as nobody has the right to ban people’s food and the constitutions gives us the right to eat whatever the food we like, we brought forward the demand that beef should be in the menu of all social welfare schools, hostels and especially universities. In 2012, we sent notices to Human Rights ministry that it is not right to ban people’s food and as it is a part of food culture of dalit-bahujans and muslim minorities, beef should be brought back to menu in universities.
On this very World Human Rights day, we have brought this issue into discussion again. The whole world is surprisingly watching that in India, there is a culture of banning food, there is fascism. Hindutva forces behaving very dangerously, when we have a Constitution that states our right to eat the food of our choice. Therefore, dear friends, this 10th in Osmania University, it is going to be celebrated in a big way, to the “Peddakura Pandaga” beef festival, all SCs, STs, Minorities, Democrats, Communists, Rationalists, Atheists, should come in big numbers to Osmania university and save the food rights in this country. We are inviting you all. A BJP MLA called Raja Singh, is showing a big Talwar and openly threatening to kill if this festival is held. But this state government didn’t arrest him. Police didn’t arrest him. BJP didn’t get him arrested. They tried to bring this up as an internal tussle within BJP, but we gave notices to TRS government and speaker, that those who make such statements should be arrested. But still no one cares. They are not arresting Raja Singh, but arresting Osmania University students. They trapped us in Hostels. There are about a thousand police surrounding the hostels right now. They are trying to arrest the organizers of this fest. Yesterday we tried to conduct a 5k run, and the police arrested 40 students. On one side, Hindutva representatives have gone to court to stop beef festival. We read in today’s newspaper that city civil court has given status quo. In reality, all the courts in this country are in the hands of Brahmins and are steeped in Casteism. Mahatma Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar have stated this. We regard that all the judgements will be in favour of Brahminic and Hindutva forces. But all the courts in this country are supposed to only follow the Constitution and give Judgments and this is a mandatory thing. We are hoping that high Court or Supreme Court will give a Judgement based on the constitution.
Dear friends, in order to subvert the Constution, RSS, BJP, Bajrang Dal, Vishva Hindu Parishad, ABVP, Hindutva organisations are trying. In order to change this country into a democratic society, Mahatma Jotirao Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Periyar, Ayathee Das, Ayyankali, and many more social reformers have struggled. The responsibility to protect it, the responsibility to keep this country equal, is on the SC, ST, BC, minority people of this country. Therefore as part of that, we request you all to attend the “Peddakura Panduga” beef festival in thousands.
Osmania University once presented Honourable Doctorate to Babasaheb Ambedkar. In this OU, every year Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 9 days and there is no chicken, mutton, egg in hostels for these 9 days. Everyone has to eat vegeratian food. Cow worship happens here, the pouring of milk during nagula Panchami happens, Karthika Diparadana happens. Once TRS party, for the sake of Telengana state, has used public places to celebrate Batukamma festival. They used all public roads for ’vanta varupu.’ There has been a culture of using public places only by caste-Hindus and religions. Public places belong to every citizen equally according to our Constitution. But when Dalit-Bahujan and minority people try to use public places, even TRS which was using public places recently. KCR gave his daughter crores and gave permission to use all public places for Batukamma. They are using for Vinayaka Chaviti, Batukamma, Holi, Nagula Panchami, Karthika Pournami, and none of these have been opposed by OU officials, but why are they opposing beef festival. Is it written in anywhere UGC guidelines or the constitution, to run universities under Hindutva fold? OU officials are opposing students from conducting beef fest, but they are officially giving guest house facilities to beef fest opposers. When we question them on this, they are saying they will give to whomever they want. OU teachers’ association leader Battu Satyanaraya, is close to RSS. He never spoke about University problems, doesn’t care if students are studying or not, he doesn’t appear to take any classes, but he is working to implement Hindutva agenda in OU. Therefore dear friends, these universities are running under brahminical fold and higher education institutions, administration and academics are working with Brahmin mind-set. In universities and in higher education institutes, to promote democratic culture, we have established Forum for Democratic Culture. It is going to be a big movement to rescue universities from brahminical fold and establish a democratic environment. We are calling for everyone in this country to join to save the universities and democratic values.