Selling the Sacred Cow: India's Contentious Beef Industry - The Atlantic
Later, at the same conclave, an animal rights activist, Chetan Sharma, said ,. When she is slaughtered, something called EPW is released, which is directly responsible for global warming.
These provocative remarks come at a time when vigilante Hindu groups in India are lynching people for eating beef. Such killings have increased since Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata party came to power in September In September , a year-old Muslim man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was lynched by a mob in a village near New Delhi on suspicion that he had consumed beef.
Since then , many attacks by cow vigilante groups have followed.
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As a scholar, studying Sanskrit and ancient Indian religion for over 50 years, I know of many texts that offer a clear answer to this question. Scholars have known for centuries that the ancient Indians ate beef. After the fourth century B. In the time of the oldest Hindu sacred text , the Rig Veda c.
Like most cattle-breeding cultures, the Vedic Indians generally ate the castrated steers, but they would eat the female of the species during rituals or when welcoming a guest or a person of high status. Ancient ritual texts known as Brahmanas c. It was the Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata composed between B. The Earth assumed the form of a cow and begged him to spare her life; she then allowed him to milk her for all that the people needed. This myth imagines a transition from hunting wild cattle to preserving their lives, domesticating them, and breeding them for milk, a transition to agriculture and pastoral life.
It visualizes the cow as the paradigmatic animal that yields food without being killed. Some dharma texts composed in this same period insist that cows should not be eaten. The animals, sacred to Hindus, have a licence to roam. Earlier this month the state government of Uttar Pradesh proposed making medicines with their urine, which is rumoured to cure cancer, eliminate wrinkles and prevent ageing. Their dung is believed to absorb harmful radioactivity. Thirty-seven such attacks were reported in , many more than in previous years.
Just last month a mob in the eastern state of Bihar beat up a truck driver whom they suspected to be carrying beef. It was not always so.
But sometime during the second millennium BC, with agriculture evolving, cows were increasingly considered more useful as a source of milk, manure and ploughing power than as meat. Fast-forward to the 19th century AD and for upper-caste Hindus the eating of beef had become a taboo. Cows were central to the first big riot between Hindus and Muslims, in Uttar Pradesh in , which took place after Muslims had been stopped from slaughtering cows during an annual festival.
In Gujarat it is punishable by life imprisonment.
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Rajasthan has a cow-welfare ministry. They have been known to extort money from drivers without verifying whether the cows they carry are being sent to slaughter or, in the case of meat, whether it is indeed beef. In a country where relations between some Hindu and Muslim communities remain especially fraught, this behaviour does not necessarily reflect greater religiosity.
But politics does seem to matter. Most have targeted Muslims and Dalits formerly known as untouchables , who traditionally skin the carcasses of cows.
The costs of the attacks are high. All of those factors mean the context that made this cow sacred have changed. And the business people who've been holding it sacred need to recognize that, too. It's one thing to recognize the situation has changed. It's another to identify the opportunities in it.
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At the owner meetings, the NFL is hearing all sides of the story, especially ways gambling has been incorporated into sports leagues throughout the world. One of the big takeaways is that traditional points-spread betting doesn't present much opportunity. But prop bets betting on individual evens, like whether or not they'll kick a field goal on this drive can be very lucrative, and in-game prop bets could help engage the active-viewing audience who watches with phones in hand whether they're at home or in the stadium.
Selling the Sacred Cow: India's Contentious Beef Industry
It's considered an open secret that most of those us fantasy football players would rather be placing money bets. Once you realize disruption is coming, you need to figure out what you want the post-disruption future to look like and move to make that the reality. Taxi companies didn't see the business opportunity of mobile apps, so Uber ate their lunch. The NFL doesn't intend to be Ubered, so he owners are looking very carefully at the ways this change could best benefit them.
You shouldn't let yourself be Ubered, either, but recognize that this level of investigation is needed to figure out where your real opportunities lie. You don't stumble into the promised land. Once you see disruption coming and identify the opportunities, you need to make change happen.
If the NFL decides to cozy up to gambling, it's going to mean new apps need to be built, new partnerships need to be made, new brand messaging needs to be developed Any response to disruption is going to be a big endeavor. It's going to be disrupting in its own right. It will take clarity and vision to bring your response into reality, the same kind of clarity and vision that elevated the sacred calf in the first place.