[dropcap]K[/dropcap]ancha Ilaiah is well-known for his hatred for Hindus and Hinduism. In India anyone who heaps abuse on Hindus and Hinduism becomes an overnight sensation. Therefore, as expected, he became a darling of the left-leaning Indian media and the jihadists. Indian media, which laps up anything anti-Hindu, popularized his book “Why I am not a Hindu”, and glorified him as a ‘world class’ academician. The jihadists, who operate in India in the garb of secularism accusing all others as racists and Islamophobes, are gung-ho about his intellectualism and don’t leave any opportunity to shower a profusion of praise on him. However, it appears that Kancha Ilaiah, who is blinded by his anti-Hindu ideology and liking for beef, started propagating irrational ideas.

Vegans are anti-national according to Kancha Ilaiah

Kancha Ilaiah has recently cast his pearls of wisdom with regard to vegetarianism and stated that eating vegetables is anti-national and also theorized that just because Indians don’t consume beef, they are not able to get enough protein. He even went to the extent of blaming India’s vegetarianism for Indian team’s loss against West Indies in the T-20 world cup cricket. And mind you, these ideas emerged from an academician’s mouth.

Academicians are expected to present objective, data-driven and research-based ideas so that the society can derive benefit out of them. Subjective, agenda-driven ideas like this question the very credibility of their proponents, jeopardize the academic climate and vitiate the political atmosphere in the country. Doesn’t he know that west Indies is not the only team that consumes beef and even the other beef eating western teams also bit the dust? Doesn’t he know that meat is not the only source of protein and there are many other vegetarian sources of protein available to the people? So Kancha Ilaiah, by putting forth his ridiculous and faulty ideas, has not only demeaned his status but also effectively discredited himself.

Food myths prevalent among Hindus

Of course, there are many blind beliefs and food myths that are prevalent among upper caste Hindus, especially the South Indian Brahmins . They feel that meat is ‘Tamasic’ food and meat-eaters fail to put their cognitive capabilities to optimum use. It is utterly false. Most of the research and development activities that result in path breaking inventions are carried out by the beef eating westerners. Well, that doesn’t mean beef consumption enhances their intellect. It is not the beef which makes the difference.

Research and development (R&D) activities require an eco-system that promotes scientific temper, world class education, and progressive outlook. We Indians did not pay much attention to them. In the ancient India, we had many scientists like Bhaskara, Varahamihira, Patanjali and Sushrutha. However, somewhere in the middle, for various reasons, we lost steam and allowed triviality to creep into our minds.

Kancha Ilaiah and his pearls of wisdom. Click To Tweet

There are many upper caste Hindus in Andhra Pradesh (I’m not aware whether these beliefs are prevalent in other parts of India), who believe that the consumption of onions and garlic stimulates the carnal desires. Many Brahmins, when they go to Kashi, give up onions and garlic and stop eating them from then onwards in the expectation of suppressing their carnal desires. This is another food myth. People have carnal desires as long as their physical and psychological health is good and they are not averse to sexually stimulating thoughts. Onions and garlic don’t play any role in stimulating carnal desires and such beliefs cause unnecessary problems in the conjugal lives of the couples in conservative families.

Food is a matter of personal choice

What is cooking in someone’s pot must not become an issue. There are many Hindu organizations which are agitating against beef consumption. They are highly irrational in their beliefs and attitudes. A goat’s life is no way different from the life of a cow. Any animal, while being consigned to the edge of a butcher’s knife, undergoes the same excruciating pain. If you are promoting vegetarianism, it is great. However, if you are selectively discouraging the consumption of meat from a particular animal, your thinking is bereft of any rationality.

Is cow protection enough to strengthen Hinduism?

What Hinduism really requires are sweeping reforms. Eradication of caste, the shunning of blind and irrational belief systems, and women empowerment are the essential reform measures that have to be taken up on an urgent basis if Hinduism has to survive the onslaught of the supremacist Abrahamic faiths. However, Hindu organizations seem to be interested only in politicking and don’t want to facilitate any reforms.

It is true that cow is worshiped in our country. My paternal grandfather, who was a farmer, would depend a lot on his cattle to cultivate his small landholding and provide his family with enough supply of milk.  So he would treat his cattle, believe it or not, on par with his sons and daughters. I grew up observing him taking care of his cattle with utmost compassion. He would not sell his cattle even after they grow old. He would take care of them till they die in his compound and he would not even allow a ‘chamar’ to take their skin. He would give them a proper burial in his field. However, recently, when I met one of my paternal uncles, I just asked him pointing towards his oxen, ‘what do you do with them when they cease to be able bodied?’ He quickly answered without any second thoughts “What else do I do? Sell them off to a butcher”. That is the attitudinal change that has taken place among the Hindus. Well, we can’t blame them. Times change and circumstances change. And, we all should change according to the times.

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