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3 Bs that kill Gulf Keralites

March 17, 2015

3 Bs are responsible for many Gulf Mallus dying young. Here is my take on Beef Ban in the country:

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I am a vegetarian from birth so naturally don’t eat eggs or meat or fish or whatever. Only plant-based foods but include dairy products. Have tried to cut down on dairy but as a vegetarian, I draw lots of strength and minerals like calcium from milk and curds (dahi) and sometimes cheese. Soy milk is a poor substitute for milk. Besides Soya has some side-effects on long term usage. Strictly not advisable in your fertile years (but don’t ask me, how about the chinese!). After 40, Soy is supposed to be a good cholesterol manager – but it has to be taken note, Soy remains one of chief GM foods in the markets. So all these make it difficult for me to kick the milk habit totally.

I feel weaker without milk in my ‘chai’ or in my special Madarasi Filter Coffee. I am painfully aware how our mother cows are tortured to yield more milk and how the newborn calves are separated from their mothers. For our cows and buffaloes, there is no more normal/pleasure mating. Instead its only artificial insemination. Such a sad thing to be born into the bovine world, that too as a lactating mother cow. A mother cow is routinely impregnated and given no rest because that way her mammary glands are working overtime so we clock in record dairy produce we consume as cheese, milk and yoghurt. Isn’t India famous also for its ‘White Revolution?’ 

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/article6578663.ece

http://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article6982147.ece

Cakes with eggs are okay. But if I have to get myself one, I go for the eggless which is as popular in city bakeries. For chocolates I do check the ingredients for gelatin or other such animal/beef extract. I don’t touch ‘Snickers’ for that reason and also ‘Mars’ or ‘Kitkat.’ Even mithai/sweets with silver foil are a big no-no as most of us believe its a beef extract imported by India (not even knowing it!) – oh yes, its a tedious thing these days to check every label, don’t ask me!

http://www.sanskritimagazine.com/ethical_living/varakhsilver-foil-vegetarian/

Why I am saying this is, somehow a part of me would still like to believe, like my fellow Hindus, milk and other dairy products mean no harm to mother cow and only beef is abhorrent. But the truth is dairy is slow killing, painful killing much more worse than beef culling.

Kerala is the only state in India which supposedly has 33% Hindu, 33% Muslim and 33% Christian population. But we all have doubts about the Hindu population which is dwindling. Now the Hindu population in Kerala could be under or about 15-20% but none wants to publish/read the bitter truth (stats).

So Kerala is essentially a beef-eating state and NOT a beef-banning state naturally.

In gulf countries, you can see the keralites’ predominant presence in middle-level and higher level jobs.

But the no. of keralites dying of sudden massive heart attack is also a steep graph.

Mallus proudly claim 3Bs are to the undoing of a Keralite man.

BEER, BEEF & BAROTA (Paratha)

No Kerala man can stay away from the bottle;

No Kerala man can resist beef (which the state is famous for – thanks to its christian & muslim population)

No Kerala man can live without Barota (Kerala Paratha/Ceylon Paratha) as well which is made of tbs of (pre-used?) unhealthy cooking oil and most refined maida (flour) (in restaurants).

No.1 Artery Chokers.

Dying by middle age in 45-55 years is becoming very common among Kerala men – especially with those working in middle-east. Go to Hardees or wherever, our Mallu bhais will put the Arabs and westerners to shame attacking the steak.

Everyone says beef ban is not justified in India. May be. Since I am not a beef eater, I don’t most certainly miss it! But those for who its staple food can stop and think over. Beef is red meat. If not for religious reason, think if its good for your heart – for health reasons.

The men and women of the Indian subcontinent have the narrowest arteries by genetics. So we are most susceptible to early and multiple blocks leading to strokes and heart attacks (heart disease in general). We are not made like the Arabs or the Goras (caucasians) or the Blacks or the Chinese. We are made different.

So we cannot accept anything and everything foreign as ours so readily. We have to see if the alien matter is compatible with us.

From desi clothes to desi food to desi culture and even desi faith (and not the imported Arab faith atleast in case of most of us) we are a civilization onto ourselves.

We may have pant suits but we are mostly in saris and dhotis. We relish our desi cuisine. We worship (mostly) Desi Gods. We speak desi languages. Our health and body and mind are similarly different too.

Why do you think Hindus are vegetarians.

Hindu civilization is 10,000 years old with recorded history of about 4,000 years minimum. At the start Hindus were supposedly non-vegetarians. Slowly we/they have become vegetarian – a prime reason being Buddhism, an offshoot from Hinduism, that denounced meat principally. Even non-vegetarian Hindus do not touch beef and pork, why?

Another reason is, cow is the Malalakshmi, our Mother Goddess in a way. Until the formula baby feed was invented, it was the cow mother who came to the rescue of motherless newborns throughout the world. Cattle also meant wealth direct in the bygone centuries. Naturally the cow was venerated to a higher level in our philosophy.

But what about buffalo meat. Why not?

I have always wondered like my friends whether our ancestors could have zeroed in on the culprit ‘beef’ (red meat) for sudden/early demise of their young men – tens of thousands of years ago. Its possible.  The exclusion of beef therefore from even nonvegetarian Hindu menu makes one ponder. 

We have Tamil muslim friends – NONE OF WHOM EAT BEEF. They send specially made vegetable biryani for Id for all of us hindu friends. Restaurants in India are extremely sensitive to Hindu sentiments.

The veg-nonveg food preference is taken very seriously in India. None takes it any lighter. So outsiders or foreign countries commenting or reporting on beef ban is very insensitive. 

And regional non-veg restaurants are equally popular. Chettinad non-veg cuisine from Tamil Nad is all-India popular for instance.

To my knowledge apart from Kerala muslims, only Urdu speaking muslims in India eat beef. None of the south Indian or other north Indian muslims do.

I was talking to some muslim friends in my state. One was looking for an alliance for his daughter. His family is tamil. Another muslim friend is urdu basically but somehow during partition or even before that moved all the way to TN to settle down. (Urdu speaking muslim population is a big chunk in the city). The urdu friend cited a relative boy who was well qualified and a professional for the tamil muslim girl. The tamil muslim family refused the alliance because the urdu muslim boy’s family ate beef!

Tamil muslims do not intermarry urdu-speaking beef eating muslims to my knowledge. I know a handful of them. They strictly marry into other tamil muslim non-beef eating families only.

Not only that, even within muslims or christians, regional preference is there. Kerala muslims for instance may marry only fellow kerala muslims. Unless otherwise it is a love marriage, not even tamil christians would marry out of the state. Language and local culture play such a vital role.

In Kerala also, maximum beef eaters are from Syrian christian families and not from Malabar muslim community. Wherever the middle-eastern or european influence had been more like in Kerala and Goa, you can find the beef-eating habit. Strong chinese character marks the north-east Indian states. Urdu speaking muslims probably eat beef thanks to the Moghul invasion/influence. Hyderabadi urdu speaking muslims also eat beef for the same reason.

We have dozens of muslim friends in Chennai – none to my knowledge has even touched or tasted beef. They are like any Hindu non-vegetarian. Same goes for most tamil/Indian christians.

Whereas among Hindus some rare castes eat beef or even pork. Coorgies (Konkani speaking) eat pork and ‘pandi kari’ (pork chop) is on top of their menu list. Bengali brahmins eat fish. These are rare exceptions. In fact some were deemed ‘untouchable’ among Hindus for centuries for the reason they chose to eat beef/pork. But even dalits who merge into mainstream are now leaving beef behind.

Only Goans and North Eastern states’ christian community eat beef. None of my christian friends do.

Now i am not overtly fussy about someone’s food habit. But I used to be, once upon a time. While sharing food with friends with non-veg background, if they would be christian/muslim, I would make sure they did not cook beef in their homes. None did. None does so far as Tamil Nadu is concerned. But that was decades back. I needed some mental training and preparation to accept others’ way of life.

Not only as mark of respect, but acknowledging the fact that they are basically converts from Hinduism, most christians and muslims in India generally abstain from beef. Our muslim friends openly say that this is the reason. The basics they are unable to give up.

But churches in India I am sure promote beef because it goes against the very grain of Hinduism (although I should not be doing a guess work here). This could be a main reason for more christians in cities/urban centers turning to beef presently. There is definitely an increased consumption.

My sister faced this problem in Mumbai: She had to attend a kitty in a muslim home once (her first time). She said when she was given a glass of water in their place, she threw up immediately on the floor – the reaction was involuntary. She still cannot eat at non-vegetarians’ homes or even in common restaurants. But her muslim friend understood her condition and cleaned up the mess. She was a very gracious lady and did not force my sister to eat. Neither did she stop visiting my sister’s home or eating at her dining table! This is India for you. My sister dreaded the friend but the friend made it clear, she respected orthodox Hindu sentiments. Wonderful friendship.

It is not our intention to offend or hurt people or our hosts. When we say we cannot tolerate beef, we mean it, don’t disrespect the beef eating communities. 

Many complain that Hindus don’t give properties on lease to muslims/christians. We do, provided they assure us beef is not eaten or cooked in the premises. I don’t think its questionable for a property-owner to have personal preferences. Why not. It is individual’s right as well as choice.

Even muslims have ‘halal’ condition attached to meat. So they do qualify what they eat. So why must they complain.

Today I am mingling in so many, many Kerala parties besides get-togethers with foreigners and eating at restaurants that serve beef. I manage to find 1-2 veggie dishes there – enough for me. I don’t want to miss out on good company with my finicky food habits. In one filipino party I had to go without any food as there was not a single veggie dish. Even chicken was only one item. So while I settled for their beer (!), my hubby finished with a single serving of the only chicken dish.

Food is seriously no more an issue.

But I ask my son to abstain from beef – because I do believe in ‘Gomata’ and it is our culture. And pork as well. I am not sure whether he will follow my words if he is to live in a foreign country. ‘Atleast for health reasons, don’t touch it’ I say and he agrees to that.

Beef ban really does not affect as many muslims as it is made out to be. It makes no difference to any of our muslim or christian friends. Our urdu muslim friends swear they don’t eat beef for health reasons. Still the tamil muslim family do not want to have anything to do with them!

India is again such a vast, complex nation. Everyone of us is different and we hold our own dear principles closest to heart.

In today’s ‘Hindu’ I read that beef ban can be left to individual states and the center need not have to take upon the task.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/leaving-beef-bans-to-the-states/article7000180.ece?homepage=true&utm_source=MostPopular&utm_medium=Homepage&utm_campaign=WidgetPromo

Even before center was mulling beef ban, most states including Tamil Nadu had banned it. Beef is mainly used to feed dog breeds like Alsatians, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Pitbulls etc in the state/city. For this beef is available anyway. I know people who still procure it somehow for dogs – for the only reason its cheapest compared to chicken or mutton.

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On the other hand I have this to ask:

What is wrong with beef ban in India when the US can have in force dog meat ban and horse meat ban. All muslim nations in the world ban pork.  India is still a Hindu majority country. We have every right to ban beef. BJP is doing our guys a big favour. A beef ban in Kerala will save many lives. Even last week I heard of a syrian christian mallu family man in his 40s dropping his tennis racket to the ground and collapsing on the spot in a gulf country.

Almost all Indians – hindus, christians & muslims in middle-east welcome beef ban in India: for health reasons. All want to live a long and healthy life. Even beef-eaters claim they are trying to drop it from their menu unsuccessfully. They say a govt ban could actually make it possible for them to quit beef finally.

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What the government may also consider:

Rehabilitating the aged and sick cattle. Earmark funds for the same. Consider mercy killing as a viable option if the cattle are too old and sick to care for and are disabled. Leather industry can go on in a limited scale. Tanneries are notorious pollutants of our rivers and water canals anyway. Gradual shifting over to foam leather (synthetic leather) will be wise. 

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Why and how Hindus moved away from animal sacrifice ritual.

Like most other world religions, Hinduism has had its share of animal sacrifice practice (that is still prevalent in some tribal & other pockets).

As vegetarianism spread, animal sacrifice ritual was substituted with breaking to pieces a big white pumpkin smeared with shocking red vermilion symbolizing blood.

(Picture from Google images)

We do this even today at the end of festivities and celebrations like marriages, house warming, child birth etc to ward off ‘evil’ or ‘black eyes’  which we call ‘drishti’ in the south and ‘nazar’ in the north. We do this even to our new car!

From the pumpkin, size has now significantly reduced to smashing coconuts and lemons instead (for some like me)!

Some interesting links (which may sound funny or even bizarre to others):

http://www.thehindu.com/2000/05/25/stories/0425401i.htm

http://www.thehindu.com/lf/2003/07/29/stories/2003072905990200.htm

and also

https://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100306052305AAzASVQ

For instance, during Saraswathi Pooja (9th day of Navratri), I place 4 lemons under each wheel of our car and ask the men in our family to start the car. The lemons crush to instant juice! This is our kind of sacrifice!

The successive Shankaracharyas who lived over 1,000s of years ago played a major role in turning Hinduism into world’s most passive religion along with Buddhism. From worship of Kali and Varahi and Sarabeshwar and Pratyangira, we started worshiping their calmer avatars namely the tri-shakthi Parvathi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi and the trident Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma who seem totally at peace. But Varahi worship actually dates back to 9th-10th centuries with Chera, Chola & Pandya kings worshiping Her before battles. Animal sacrifices were effected to pacify Her. With the world becoming day by day a better and civilized place to live in, Hindus progressively turned to the passive avatars of Gods.

When did Emperor Ashoka turn to vegetarianism and Buddhism? That date probably marks a cultural shift in our history.

And which is why perhaps we were easily conquered by foreign invaders. Evolution of Hinduism into a civilized faith and practice and way of life could have been the reason we fell in ranks so readily to ruthless aggressions without a defence or fight-back. When world was still reeling under the war of crusades and at its barbaric best, Hindus were a refined lot already. Sadly. Which is why the originally buddhist and hindu Afghanistan succumbed first.

But even now some of my friends denounce the ‘ugraha’ (angry) avatars of our Gods – and believe in worship of their forgiving versions. Which is why we don’t worship Nataraja (Shiva in Chidambaram town, Tamil Nadu) at home. Nataraja is Shiva short-tempered! But then he created the Bharat Natyam true!

There are some schools of thought like one on Varahi worship for instance. Varahi is the war chieftain and protective avatar of Goddess Lakshmi (or broadly speaking Parvathi). (Varahi corresponds to Lakshmi, Raja Mathangi to Saraswathi and Pratyangira to Parvathi in true sense). She is an angry manifestation of a happier Lakshmi who is the goddess of fortune/wealth. She is the charioteer of Shri Lalitha (Shakthi). I have had opportunities to attend Varahi homams for a continuous 1-2 year period and I remain convinced we need the power of Varahi in today’s world.  In fact I worship Varahi at home and also Sarabeshwar, the angriest of all and consort of Pratyangira. He is one of the 64 Bhairvava Amsas. . Unmatha Bhairava, the 18th one is Varahi’s consort. Still I don’t believe in a punishing god. You have to fear Her if you have reasons to fear Her, not otherwise.

I believe in polytheism – I believe Mother Goddess manifests Herself in many avatars customized to reach out to each and every one of us individually. Its good the word ‘avatar’ which is sanskrit is something that can be comprehended around the world today. Its makes it therefore that much easier to understand Hindu philosophy.

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