Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Beef & Hindutva Gang

The denigration of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of India and a prominent leader of the anti-colonial freedom struggle by the Hindutva gang is endless. After Gandhi, he continues to be the punching bag of the Hindutva no holds barred attacks crossing all civilized norms. In fact, the Hindu nationalists who assassinated Gandhi (January 30, 1948) also discussed whether Nehru could also meet the same fate.


He is the same character who in 2016 went to the extent of declaring that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi was a hub of sex and drugs where over 3,000 used condoms and 2,000 liquor bottles were found daily. Moreover, he accused the JNU students of indulging in “illicit” activities like going around naked on the campus. He offered no proofs, a usual practice with the fake news manufacturers belonging to the Hindutva gang.

It is to be noted that when lynching in the name of cow by the Hindutva cadres has invited national and world-wide condemnation, even Supreme Court demanding immediate punishment to the perpetrators, Ahuja raising the issue of beef eating by Nehru is a deliberate attempt to divert the whole issue; a technique over which RSS cadres have mastery.

Nehru was a non-vegetarian like most of Kashmiri Brahmins (including Brahmins of Bihar, Bengal etc.) but there is no proof in the contemporary official or non-official records that he was a beef-eater. So far as Ahuja’s claim that Nehru could not be regarded as Brahmin or Pandit as he consumed beef is against the Vedic time records narrated by ‘Hindu’ scriptures and saints.

Swami Vivekananda, the greatest modern Vedantist who is regarded as a philosopher of Hindutva by the RSS, while addressing a meeting at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, USA (February 2, 1900) on the theme of ‘Buddhistic India’, declared:
“You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.”
 [Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 3 (Calcutta: Advaita Ashram,1997), p. 536.]

This is corroborated by other research works sponsored by the Ramakrishna Mission established by Vivekananda. According to C. Kunhan Raja, a prominent authority on the history and culture of the Vedic period:
“The Vedic Aryans, including the Brahmanas, ate fish, meat and even beef. A distinguished guest was honoured with beef served at a meal. Although the Vedic Aryans ate beef, milch cows were not killed. One of the words that designated cow was aghnya (what shall not be killed). But a guest was a goghna (one for whom a cow is killed). It is only bulls, barren cows and calves that were killed.”
 [C. Kunhan Raja, ‘Vedic Culture’, cited in the series, Suniti Kumar Chatterji and others (eds.), The Cultural Heritage of India, vol. 1 (Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission, 1993), p. 217.]

One of the greatest researcher and authority on Indian politics, religions and culture produced a brilliant essay on the subject titled ‘Did the Hindus Never Eat Beef?’ All those who are really interested in understanding the Indian past and wish to challenge the supremacist myth making for cleansing and marginalizing minorities must read this monumental work of Dr. Ambedkar.

Dr. Ambedkar after studying very large number of Vedic and Hindu scriptures arrived at the conclusion that,
“when the learned Brahmins argue that the Hindus not only never ate beef but they always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow, it is impossible to accept their view”.
Interestingly, the findings of Ambedkar were that cows were sacrificed and beef consumed because cows were HOLY. According to Ambedkar:

“It was not that the cow was not sacred in Vedic times, it was because of her sacredness that it is ordained in the Vajasaneyi Samhita that beef should be eaten.”
Ambedkar concluded his essay with the following words:
“With this evidence no one can doubt that there was a time when Hindus, both Brahmins and non-Brahmins, ate not only flesh but also beef.”
[B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Did the Hindus never eat beef?’ in The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? in Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, vol. 7, (Government of Maharashtra, Bombay, 1990, first edition 1948) pp. 323-328. Also available on net.]

The violence unleashed by Hindutva cadres on vulnerable sections of Indians also underscores hypocrisy as an integral trait of the RSS. In fact, to say that it indulged in double/triple speak would be an understatement in its case. RSS cadres are killing indiscreetly poor Indians, not only for slaughtering cows but for even transporting these animals. At the same time RSS/BJP are ruling single-handedly or jointly States of Goa, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal, Sikkim and Manipur where cow slaughter is legal and beef is staple diet. The RSS dictum seems to be that in some areas you will go to hell for slaughtering COWS and in some areas you will rule for slaughtering COWS.

Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email:



Related Articles