Thanks to the new move by the Maharashtra government, carrying beef almost equals to carrying cocaine. My heart goes out to the red meat lovers in Maharasthra. The move really burns through my scanty faith in this government. And what's more surprising is the fact that this law has come to life, when India is possibly exporting more beef than ever.
Obviously, no sane citizen of this country stands for animal slaughter, that too of an animal which is considered sacred. But, this government has been trying to slip in their "Hindutva/pro-RSS" agendas very slyly even before it can do a favour to the country in the name of a sensible reform. I can largely sum up this Act as stupid in the following points:
- You can't command what people eat: India is a country where right to speech and expression prevail, but the right to choose your supper doesn't. Our constitution states that we are secular - and secularism cannot jot down my grocery items. More so, a state can't be authoritative at this level.
- All vegetarians aren't Brahmins/pundits: Our country comprises various religions and sub-sects of religions. But, I can definitely assure you that every vegetarian is not a Brahmin or a pandit. There are people who turn vegetarian for health reasons, and there are those who are born into such families, but claiming every vegetarian feels offended when a non-vegetarian binges on cow-meat is out rightly dumb.
- Economic impact: A ban like this would certainly not hurt the economy at a national level, but definitely at the state level. First, the manufacturers of this product will run out of work. Secondly, even those who are engaged in leather industry would be hit by this law. And the government preaches "Stop Animal Cruelty". Ironic!
- Criminal Act: The slaughter of cattle is now termed as a criminal offence. And, the sale and possession of it could term you up to five years in jail, or Rs 10,000. It's almost like trafficking a drug. Well played there, Maharashtra government, very well played!
- Flu, what?: Ever heard of deaths reported after people consumed beef? No, never? Don't worry, neither have I. That's because people don't die of eating this meat. People die of bird flu (that spreads from chicken) and swine flu (that spreads from pigs). And yes, you've heard of these last two deadly viruses.
- Trafficking: Ban on exports will definitely lead to a surge in cattle trafficking in the bordering states. And yes, the government will sit there and do nothing about that as well. Plus, there will be another black market of sorts that will deal exclusively with these products. It's just like any other contraband - it is banned by the state, but accessible to many.
- Staple food for the poor: This is actually a lesser known fact. Beef is a staple food for the lower classes, as it is much cheaper than chicken, pork etc. This act would actually sky-rocket the prices of other meats available to the people, and also burn their pockets a little more. As if, the increase in the service tax wasn't enough already?
- This law is half hearted and a fallacy: The act bans the slaughter of cattle, and not of the buffalo. Why be unkind and unmoved by the misery of this poor animal? It's distant cousin (the cow) got the relief, then why didn't the government put a ban on this poor animal as well?
Au contraire, this government needs to step up from trivial (mostly pending) issues, and move on to more concrete and essential issues. Like ban on cigarettes, undistilled liquor, rapes. I mean, an act like this would make the cows feel safer than women. That is what this government needs to take care of, than what the people of India want to/would like to eat.