Hindi Language Blog

The Sacred Cow Posted by on May 28, 2009 in Hindi Language

Although cows are regularly consumed in many parts of the world, in certain parts of India, cows are revered. In some places, it’s forbidden to slaughter a cow for its meat. Not only is it prohibited, it can get to the extent where traffic is held up; just to let a cow cross the road.

The idea of a cow as a sacred animal has a relgious significance in Hindu society. The goddess of the earth, Prithvi is depicted as a cow. There’s also a story about how the first humans were nourished by her milk. As a result, killing a cow would be like killing the deity that fed India’s forefathers. It’s considered a sacrilegious idea.

There’s also a practical reason for protecting cows. Many villagers rely on the cow’s milk for drinking and to sell at the market. Additionally, cows are used to plough fields and raise crops to sell at the marketplace. Cows are also useful for transporting goods and people.

I can’t begin to tell you how useful cow dung is to the Indian people. The main usage is fertilizer for the fields. However, there are more uses to cow dung than just fertilizer. Cow dung can used to fill in the gaps between the holes formed in mud huts. It can be used to heat fires and stoves used for cooking food. When burned, it repels mosquitoes. I’ve even heard that the urine of cows can kill bacteria and clean wounds. With all these practical uses, it’s no wonder that cows are protected in India.

The official law in India states that all cows must be slaughtered in West Bengal and Kerala. There are some illegal slaughterhouses running underground. These slaughterhouses pose a danger to the Indian community. They do not undergo regular food and safety inspections, because they are operating underground and do not want to get caught by the authorities. As a caution, just be careful where you get your beef in India. Luckily, there are many delicious vegetarian alternatives!

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  1. Sumit:

    Hi Kunthra

    Really enjoy your blogs about Indian culture and language – keep up the good work!

  2. Maria:

    I never heard that about cows only being allowed to be slaughtered in West Bengal and Kerala.
    why is that? I was in West Bengal a few months ago. There are big cans on the sidewalk that people drop organic material into, so that passing cows can have a snack!
    Anyway, thanks for the great blog!
    ps Go Kolkata KnightRiders!!!!!!!

  3. Kunthra:


    In West Bengal and Kerala, there is a considerable population of Muslims. From what I understand, Islam does not have restrictions against eating beef. Also, West Bengal and Kerala have ports where it is easy to transport the beef once the cows are slaughtered, so it’s a geographically strategic spot as well.