"Beef is our Secret of Life": Controversial Consumption of Beef in Andhra Pradesh, India

Abstract : This was not always so. Studies on food consumption in ancient India show that cow’s meat was the most valued of foods and served during festivals and rituals and to welcome important guests (Jhā 2009; Prakash 1961). Its gradual proscription by Hindu upper castes results from a long movement of ‘sacralisation’ of the cow that emerged with a revival of Brahmanism aimed at thwarting influential movements by Buddhists and Jains against animal sacrifice (Jhā ibid.; Shah 1967). This prohibition grew stricter during the nineteenth century when Hindu nationalists struggled to protect cows from being slaughtered. Brandished as the symbol of Hindu identity, or according to Shraddha Chigateri (2011: 141) as “a potent symbol of religious difference”, the cow was used overtly as a tool for stirring up religious hatred against Muslims, and less openly against the British, both regarded as consumers of beef, and as anti-Hindus. Although the Hindu lower castes were not directly targeted by Hindu nationalists, they were blamed for their undesirable food habits and exhorted to give them up (Abbasayulu 1980).
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Submitted on : Friday, June 29, 2018 - 9:09:46 AM
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Brigitte Sebastia. "Beef is our Secret of Life": Controversial Consumption of Beef in Andhra Pradesh, India. Sébastia B. Eating Traditional Food: Politics, Identity and Practices, 2017, Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment, ISBN: 9781138187009. ⟨hal-01826121⟩

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