November 1, 2015

Where's the beef?

Much as I'd like to dismiss political news from around the world as vapid, I dare not ask of that from India these days, "Where's the beef?" Not without inadvertently causing offence to some of my friends and family on either side of the cow divide. After carefully weighing the risks, I decided to modify and re-post this from about a decade ago.

I am assuming that there is no "right to be forgotten" law in India yet. If there is, then I sincerely appeal to Mr. Ravi Shastri, the protagonist of this story, to let me know a.s.a.p., so I could delete this post.


From Zee News, December 23, 2006:

A case was filed against former Test cricketer Ravi Shastri in a local court here for allegedly hurting the religious feelings of Hindus by reportedly eating beef during the India-South Africa Test match in Johannesburg. The case was filed by Bajrang Dal, Indore Incharge, Manoj Malpani in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), R K Batham....The case was filed under Section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief) and 298 (A) of the IPC, he said, adding the court has fixed January 5 for recording evidence in the case.

I cannot draw a cartoon these days without risking being beheaded on the shores of the Mediterranean in global view. Call a plumbing leak a plumbing leak, and not tears flowing down Virgin May's cheeks? Forget it, unless you like to live in the slammer for three years. I better not ask the guy in the Rolls Royce parked on the next lane, "Pardonnez moi, do you have a condom or two?" What if he is fanatically Catholic? Soon, you can't breathe in a micro-biotic cocktail without offending someone's religious sentiments. Jain, anyone? Now, if you are averse to eating anything but beef and potatoes, and planning a long trip to India, then you must prepare yourself for Diabetes or starve to death!

The Indian Penal Code Section 295(a) may be the culprit in the Hindus' beef with Ravi Shastri, as Amit contends here. What about everything else from the Satanic Verses to Idomeneo? I am with Dawkins all the way on this. Religion is the scourge of humanity, and not its savior. What is worse, the fundamentalists are often the worst read in their own scriptures. Read this excerpt from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, a Hindu book of wisdom:

VI-iv-14: He who wishes that his son should be born fair, study one Veda and attain a full term of life, should have rice cooked in milk, and he and his wife should eat it with clarified butter. Then they would be able to produce such a son.

VI-iv-15: He who wishes that his son should be born tawny or brown, study two Vedas and attain a full term of life, should have rice cooked in curd, and he and his wife should eat it with clarified butter. Then they would be able to produce such a son.

VI-iv-16: He who wishes that his son should be born dark with red eyes, study three Vedas and attain a full term of life, should have rice cooked in water and he and his wife should eat with clarified butter. Then they would be able to produce such a son.

VI-iv-17: He who wishes that a daughter should be born to him who would be a scholar and attain a full term of life, should have rice cooked with sesame, and he and his wife should eat it with clarified butter. Then they would be able to produce such a daughter.

VI-iv-18: He who wishes that a son should be born to him who would be a reputed scholar, frequenting the assemblies and speaking delightful words, would study all the Vedas and attain a full term of life, should have rice cooked with the meat of a vigorous bull or one more advanced in years, and he and his wife should eat it with clarified butter. Then they would be able to produce such a son.

Who the heck is Malpani to object, if Ravi Shastri wanted to beget a scholar of all the Vedas by eating bull's biltong?


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