Gandhiji on Eating Beef (Post No.12,013)


Post No. 12,013

Date uploaded in London – –  18 May , 2023                  

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The Muslim public need to be satisfied on a very important question. Will the Muslims be allowed to eat their national food—beef—under a Hindu majority government? If you can satisfy the Muslims on this all important question, a great deal of knots will be solved. You should give a straight answer to this question in your paper Harijan.

Answer (by Gandhiji)

I do not know how the question arises. For whilst congressmen were in office, they are not known to have interfered with the practice of beef eating by Muslims. The question is also badly conceived. There is no such thing as a Hindu majority government. If a free India is to live at peace with herself, religious divisions must entirely give place to  political divisions placed on considerations other than religious. Even as it is, though unfortunately religious differences loom large, most parties contain members drawn from all sects. It is more over not true to say that beef is the national food of the Muslims. In the first place, the Muslims in India are not as yet a separate nation. In the second beef is not their ordinary food. Their ordinary food is the same as that of the millions. What is true is that there are very few Muslims who are vegetarians from a religious motive. Therefore, they will take meat, including beef, when they can get it. But during the greater part of the year, millions of Muslims, owing to poverty, go without meat of any kind. These are facts.

But the theoretical question demands a clear answer. As a Hindu, a confirmed vegetarian, and a worshipper of the cow, whom I regard with the same veneration as I regard my mother  ( alas no more on this earth) , I maintain that the Muslims should have full freedom to slaughter  cows, if they wish, subject of course to hygienic restrictions, and in a manner not to wound the susceptibilities of their Hindu neighbours. Fullest recognition of freedom to the Muslims to slaughter cows is indispensable for communal harmony, and is the only way of saving the cow. In 1921, thousands of cows were saved by the sole and willing effort of the Muslims themselves. In spite of the black clouds hanging over our heads, I refuse to give up the hope that they will disperse and that we shall have peace in this unhappy land. If I am asked for proof, I must answer that my hope is based on faith and faith demands no proof.

Harijan, 27-4-1940


My comments

If the same question is put to any Hindu saint, he would have said, No, you should not kill cows. Like your religion forbids pork, my religion bans beef eating. In the articles on cow protection, he says cow is better than our own mother in many ways. So, he contradicts himself when he said that beef eating is okay. The last few sentences is about a separate country for Muslims. There also Gandhiji’s hope failed. He tried to act like a saint in a wrong place, that is politics, at the wrong time. He was not bold enough to tell the Muslims not to kill the cows. His writing like this, only advising Hindus, enraged the Hindus. He himself admitted that he was inundated with letters every day criticising him and the letters increased the income British postal service to a large extent. And yet he could not feel the pulse of the people.

He wrote that several thousands of Hindu women were kidnapped and raped and made pregnant by monsters and those Hindu pregnant women should be accepted by the Hindus.

See my old article,

What Gandhiji wrote Before Godse’s Shooting (Post No. … › 2023/05/04 › what-gandh…

4         May 2023 — Gandhiji was shot dead by Nathuram Godse n 30th January 1948. Millions of Hindus in Punjab and Bengal were suffering because of partition.


–Subham —

Tags- Gandhi, Muslims, Beef eating

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