The Myth of the Holy Cow

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Verso, 2002 - Religion - 183 pages
2 Reviews
Jha, a distinguished historian at the University of Delhi, received death threats when he tried to publish this book in India. The first Indian publisher backed off after ominous warnings, and the somewhat braver second publisher had to give in when a group of Hindu fanatics declared the book "blasphemous" and succeeded in getting a court order to constrain its circulation. What Jha has done is to document in great detail the fact that in ancient times Hindus and Buddhists ate beef. Indeed, the oldest Indian texts -- the Vedas and their auxiliaries dating from 1500 BC to 600 BC -- establish that the eating of flesh, including beef, was common in India. Hindus have argued that it was only with the Muslim conquest that cows were first slaughtered in India, but in truth it was only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that the cow became the sacred animal of Hinduism. Western scholars of ancient India have no trouble with Jha's thesis, which is backed by copious footnotes and a bibliography in several languages. However, such scholarship only makes the Hindu fanatics more passionate than ever, especially now that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has given a degree of legitimacy to the violent expression of Hindu nationalism.
 

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The "story" in the book starts from Aryan invasion "THEORY"...
So basically, its a made-up "theory" based on another "made-up" theory, that was recently proved false.

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Creative fiction gets a new definition. What Mr. Jha has done is cherry picked facts that hold little truth, while he has given lots of footnotes about how he derived at the conclusion. The statistics are thoroughly convoluted. Mr. Jha has deliberately ignored the acres of evidence that could prove otherwise. India being a democratic country, has entitled every citizen the constitutional right of the freedom of expression.
Statistics are like studies: who made them and who paid them matters a lot. Want to "prove" that the holy cow is nothing than just a myth? Get a group of scientists that are already stone headed about this issue to compile information and don't mind the lack of ethics.
What I would have appreciated is a balanced perspective on this than a biased one.
 

Contents

Preface to the Verso Edition 9
ix
Animals are verily food but Yajnavalkya
27
The Later Dharmasastric Tradition and Beyond
90
The Cow in the Kali Age and Memories of Beef
123
The Elusive Holy Cow
138
Index
173
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Dwijendra Narayan Jha is Professor of History at the University of Delhi. His books include Ancient India in Historical Outline and Feudal Social Formation in Early India.

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