Guest post by MARIYA SALIM
The debates and demands around the issue of the prohibition of cow slaughter in India are a highly volatile, political and contentious subject, with the cow being revered as sacred by most Hindus in the country. Although almost all the proponents calling for a national legislation for a total ban on slaughter of cow and other cattle today look to the directive principles of state policy and use an economic and agrarian argument to defend their demand, it is interesting to note that the constituent assembly debates around this directive principle clearly indicate that it was as much a religious issue, reasoned on science and agriculture instead however, for some of those who wanted it to be an integral part of the Indian Constitution.
After much debate and deliberation in the Constituent Assembly and a demand from a few members of the assembly, to include a total ban on the slaughter of cows as part of fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution, a compromise was reached and the protection of the revered bovine found place in the Directive Principles of state policy, which incorporates this Hindu sentiment in a somewhat guarded and hesitant form. Most notable among the members raising the issue were Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava and Seth Govind Das. Syed Muhammad Sa’adulla, another member argued that he would rather have the insertion on the protection of cow slaughter as a religious ground, as, the argument on economic grounds will ‘create a suspicion in the minds of many that the ingrained Hindu feeling against cow slaughter is being satisfied by the backdoor’ and he went on to give facts and figures on how cow slaughter is not as bad ‘as it is being made out to be’ from the economic point of view.  Continue reading Cow Slaughter – Can a Directive Principle Trump Fundamental Rights of the Most Marginalized? Mariya Salim