If you casually tell your kids that it’s illegal to kill cows in India, you’re (sort of) correct. In fact, most educated Westerners are at least vaguely familiar with the connection between Hinduism and cows – it’s even made its way into most school textbooks.

The politics of cows in India, however, is anything but a stable situation. For one thing, there is no federal ban on cow-killing; rather, this issue is left to the individual states. Legally, there are 3 issues related to cows: killing, consumption of beef, and possession of beef. Some states may ban killing, but allow consumption and/or possession.

The paradoxes of secular laws in a nation of 80%+ Hindus, traditional vs. progressive values, and individual rights vs. common values all add to the quagmire.

Oh, and then there is the illegal cow smuggling across the West Bengal – Bangladesh border.

What an interesting issue to discuss…

Here are some interesting articles to read:

Summary of Indian State Laws

Recent Bombay High Court Decision

The British Origin of Cow Slaughter

Cow Smuggling


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