Kanchan Gupta is Editorial Director of NiTi Digital. He has worked at several newspapers, including The Telegraph, The Statesman and The Pioneer. During a break from journalism he served in the PMO as an aide to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and as Director of Maulana Azad Centre in Cairo.
Navbharat Times has published an interesting story, headlined “अल्पसंख्यकों को सरकारी सलाह, खून बढ़ाने के लिए खाएं गोमांस” , about a booklet that is being circulated among children in minority-dominated areas of Uttar Pradesh. The booklet, called ‘Poshan’, has apparently been produced by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, headed by K Rahman Khan, in collaboration with the Department of Child Welfare. It urges children to eat green vegetables, chicken and beef to “generate oxygen and blood in the body”. This is possibly the first official, tax-funded promotion of beef in this country.
The Constitution’s Article 48 explicitly states: “The state shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” If the state begins promoting the consumption of beef, it would be violating the Constitution. Such considerations have never stood in the way for the Congress in its pursuit of crass minorityism and pandering to Muslim vote-bank politics. Last year’s Union Budget listed the slaughter of bovine animals as an activity exempted from service tax.
Examples of Congress’s contempt for the Constitution abound. For instance, the Constitution’s Article 44 says “The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” What the Congress has done, instead, is to reinforce shari’ah through the obnoxious and deceptively titled Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act that was pushed through Parliament by Rajiv Gandhi to overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement in the Shah Bano case.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more things change, the more they remain the same in this wondrous land of ours!