Articles
Gosamrakshana in Independent India


Gosamrakshana in Independent India:
Recalling an Important Debate of the Constituent Assembly

The recent Gosamrakshana Sammelanam addressed by Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitham, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, has highlighted the need for India to re-establish the sanatana dharma of gosamrakshana in this holy land and eventually all over the world.

Indian civilisation has always venerated and worshipped gomata and gosamrakshana was the sacred duty of everyone, especially the kings and the powerful, who were expected to even sacrifice their lives for the cause of gosamrakshana. However, independent India has totally belied the long cherished aspiration of the Indian people that, with the end of alien rule, the sanatana dharma of gosamrakshana will soon get re-established in this holy land.

Though it is true that India ( and in fact the entire region of Indian subcontinent) has still the lowest per capita consumption of bovine-meat, this amount has gone up from about 2.3 kg per capita per year in 1961 to 2.6 kg in 1998 and constitutes nearly half of the total meat consumption. The number of cattle slaughtered in India is also very large, it has in fact gone up from 6.3 million in 1961 to about 13.8 million in 1999. About 1.8 lakh tons of beef and 1.6 lakh tons of buffalo meat were exported in 1998 to fetch about 370 million dollars.

Since we produce so little food for human consumption (the Indian consumption of about 210 kg of staple food per capita in 1998, is much lower than world average of over 270 kg. per capita), there is little feed available for our cattle. The FAO estimate is that, in 1998, the Indian live stock of about 50 crore animals were fed about 1.7 million tons of food grains, 1.2 million tons of pulses and 2 million tons of oil crops. The extraordinarily malnourished state of the Indian cattle is evidenced from the fact that while 13.8 million animals were slaughtered in 1999, we produced only 1.4 million tons of cattle-meat.

It is no wonder that the number of cattle in India is fast depleting. While there was some increase in the cattle population from about 13.6 crores in 1945 to about 17.6 crores in 1961, the number remained almost unchanged at 18.0 crores in 1976 and has marginally risen since, to 20.2 crores in 1991 and 21.2 crores in 1998. In about four decades, the cattle to human ratio in India has changed from about 1:2.6 in 1961 to about 1:4.6 in 1998.

How did India fail to re-establish the great sanatana dharma of gosamrakshana after freeing herself from alien rule? This is a matter of great concern and should be seriously investigated and reflected upon by all our scholars and sad-grihasthas under the guidance of our great acharyas.

It is not as if this society had forgotten this great dharma during the long duration of foreign domination. Many of the Afghan, Turkish and Mughal rulers here, were forced to concede to the popular demand of ban on cow slaughter. Even the Europeans, who were more given to eating cattle-meat, unlike the earlier conquerors from West and Central Asia, found that they had to often concede to the Indian rulers demands, in the treaties that they entered into, that the slaughter of cattle should be banned in their domains. Even after the establishment of British rule in India, cow protection was the major rallying point in the war of independence in 1857 and in the various anti-British movements that rocked large parts of India during 1870 to 1920. Mahatma Gandhi drew the attention of his vegetarian friends in England in 1891 about the significance of the cow protection movement that was active in large parts of Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab around that period. In December 1893, the Queen of England wrote to her Viceroy in India that though the agitation many a times was directed against the Muslims who insisted on ritual slaughtering of cows during Bakrid, it was in fact directed against the British whose army etc., were the major killers of Indian cattle.

Mahatma Gandhi declared in 1908 in his Hind Swaraj that “Cow is the protector of India”. In 1920 he stated that the most important outward manifestation of Hinduism is the dharma of cow protection. He also declared that India sought swaraj because, that would give us the strength for goraksha. During the Belagavi Session of the Indian National Congress in 1924, for which he was the President, Gandhiji initiated the Akhila Bharatiya Goraksha Mandal. He declared in his inaugural address that he considered the issue of goraksha to be more important in several ways than the issue of swaraj itself. Later, Akhila Bharatiya Goseva Sangh was established under Gandhiji’s president-ship in 1928. Gandhiji kept the issue of goraksha as the central theme of regeneration of Indian society throughout his public life.

With this background it is even more worrisome that independent India should have become so callous about gosamrakshana which, as everyone seemed to agree, is central to our sanatana dharma. No doubt the issue is complicated due to the fact that a significant section of our population was converted to Islam. The Muslims constituted about 10.4% of the population of the Indian Union in 1951 and they were nearly 12.6% in 1991. About 2.5% of our population has been converted to Christianity, with the Christians being the overwhelming majority in some of the States in the North East. Many modern scholars have also insisted that a large section of the Hindu society has no serious concern or belief in any of the basic tenets of sanatana dharma; they are being given the label “Hindu” mainly because of the all-inclusive character of Hinduism. There are of course more flippant scholars who find economic arguments for the extraordinary impoverishment of the Indian cattle (and also of the Indian people).

The issue needs fresh and serious consideration. The following extract from the Constituent Assembly Debates could help us reflect on the deeper problems affecting the Hindu society which are perhaps at the root of the great sin that this society is perpetrating by neglecting the dharma of gosamrakshana.

On the eve of Indian independence there was a large scale mobilisation of public opinion in favour of incorporating gosamrakshana amongst the laws of the land and also in the Constitution of independent India. During July and early August of 1947, the President of the Constituent Assembly, Sri Rajendra Prasad, was flooded with a large number of letters and telegrams seeking a ban on cow slaughter. On August 7, 1947, he wrote to the Prime Minister of the interim Government, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that:

I mentioned about the agitation which is spreading with tremendous sped about the stopping of cow slaughter…I have been flooded with postcards, letters, packets and telegrams making that cow slaughter should be stopped by legislation. It started with a few letters …on July 9, 1947 and the daily receipts went on increasing until on the 5th August it reached the tremendous figure of nearly 22,000. The total number of receipts up to the 6th is over 164,000. The number of signatories is considerably higher because it is not unusual for one post card to bear more than one signature and there are packets which contain thousands of signatures. Apart from these letters and telegrams which have already been received I read reports in papers that they are collecting signatures in cities and I am expecting that I shall receive large bundles of papers containing large numbers of signatures. I have also received a deputation led by the Guru of the Nirankari Sikhs, Maharaj Pratap Singh, and there are other deputations asking for time to meet me. All these are addressed to me because as President of the Constituent Assembly I am supposed to have something to do with legislation. Whoever may have started the agitation and whatever may have been the underlying motive of the person who started the agitation it has already reached a stage when it can be said to have reached practically all Provinces and very large numbers of people. The Hindu sentiment in favour of cow protection is old, wide-spread and deep seated and it has taken no time to rouse at this moment to a pitch when it is difficult, if not impossible to ignore it. I think that the matter does require consideration and we must take a decision whatever it is after due consideration.

It is said that Pandit Nehru wrote to Sri Rajendra Prasad the same day indicating his total disapproval of introducing the cow slaughter issue in the proposed Constitution.

The issue of gosamrakshana is touched upon by the Indian Constitution in one of the “non-enforceable” Directive Principles of State Policy. The Article 48 on “Organisation of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry”, 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.

Like in the case of “Village Panchayats” and “Gram Swaraj”, the issue of “Cow Protection” was also totally missed out in the Draft Constitution drafted by the Constitutional Advisor, Sir B.N.Rau (who is said to have taken only a month around September 1947, to prepare his draft) and finalised (during October 1947 to February 1948) by the Drafting Committee chaired by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. The Draft Constitution was taken up by the Constituent Assembly for consideration in November 1948. Serious objections were raised, both inside the Constituent Assembly and outside, to the fact that none of the great ideals emphasised by Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi such as, gram swaraj, promotion of village industries, prohibition and goraksha, found any mention in the Draft Constitution. As a compromise, the leaders allowed these issues to be introduced as amendments forming part of the non-enforceable Directive Principles. The Article on “Organisation of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry” got introduced this way as amendment 1002 (leading to Article 38 A of the Draft Constitution as approved by the Constituent Assembly and later to become Article 48 of the Constitution of India), standing in the name of Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava and Seth Govind Das. This was moved and debated on November 24, 1948, under the Chairmanship of the Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. H.C. Mookherjee. The full text of the debate is given in the annexe to this note.

While moving his amendment, Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (Congress, Punjab) disclosed that he and Seth Govind Das (Congress, CP & Berar) and several others were keen to have a clause inserted amongst the Fundamental Rights for prohibiting cow slaughter, but they were persuaded that there should be “no coercion” in this matter and hence only a Directive Principle should be introduced. Sri Bhargava gave details regarding the cattle population in India being depleted during 1940-45, the large number of cattle which were being slaughtered and also referred to the great path shown by Bhagawan Sri Krishna and Raja Dilipa in goseva. But most of the emphasis in Sri Bhargava’s plea for gosamrakshan was in terms of modern scientific agriculture and animal husbandry and the economic importance of cattle wealth. He repeatedly stated that he was not appealing to the House in the name of religion, but in the light of economic wisdom. He however concluded his speech by declaring that he valued this clause more than all the rest of the articles of the constitution put together.

Seth Govind Das who followed Sri Bhargava with his amendment, again repeated the point that he personally would have liked the ban of cow slaughter to come under Fundamental Rights, but was persuaded to include it as a Directive Principle, because he was told that the Fundamental Rights dealt only with humans. He emphasised that he was proposing his amendment because Sri Bhargava’s amendment, moved earlier, may be interpreted as recommending a ban on the slaughter of “useful” cattle, while he would prefer a total ban on cow slaughter. Declaring that cow protection was not only a matter of religion, but also one of culture and economics, he also highlighted the depleting population of cattle in India and the low per capita availability of milk in India. He called upon the Muslims to come forward and clarify that their religion does not compulsorily enjoin them to slaughter the cow. He assured the House that even if the Government wanted to impose a tax for maintaining goshalas the people would happily contribute.

Sri Ram Sahay (Congress, Gwalior), who had also tabled an amendment in his name, declined to introduce it saying that he wanted the prohibition of cow slaughter to be amongst the Fundamental Rights, but since a section of the House did not seem to like it he would not press his case.

Speaking in support of the earlier amendments, Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (Congress, UP) stated that the Hindu religion sanctifies what is economically good. While recalling that Mahatma Gandhi had written many articles declaring that cow protection is most essential for our country, he also cited one Dr. Wright, an expert on the subject, who had scientifically shown that out of our national income half was derived from cattle wealth. He also emphasised the poor availability of milk and the relatively lesser number of cattle in India compared to many other regions of the world. He expressed the opinion that the amendment of Seth Govind Das was included in the excellently phrased amendment on “organising agriculture and animal husbandry along modern scientific lines” introduced by Sri Bhargava.

Shri Raghuvira (Congress, CP & Berar), while supporting the amendments, referred to the scriptural injunctions prohibiting any form of violence perpetrated on the cow. He noted that that it is being said that cow protection is an economic question, which may be all right. But independence, for him, meant much more, that we are free to express ourselves in every form and manner. Explaining that our scriptures place go-hatya and brahma-hatya on a similar footing, he compared killing of a cow with killing of a scientist or a sage.

Speaking for the amendments, Sri Dhulekar (Congress, UP) also noted that independence of India was important because India had a mission. Worship of the Cow, the Pipal tree and the Saligrama sila conveyed this message of India that we see the whole world to be identical to ourselves. He cautioned that between the two amendments of Sri Bhargava and Sri Das only that which was very clear should be passed.

The Vice President of the Assembly then called upon the Muslim members, who were expected to hold different views from the majority view to respond. The first response was from Mr. Z.H.Lari (Muslim League, U.P). He declared at the outset that he was not there to support or oppose any of these amendments, but to seek clarification so that there was no ambiguity or doubts in the minds of his Muslim brethren. He admitted that Mussalmans of India, have been sacrificing cows and other animals on the occasion of Bakrid, being under the impression that they can do so , without violence to the principles which govern the State. He wanted that if the House was of the opinion that the slaughter of cows should be banned, then it should be prohibited in clear, definite and unambiguous terms. His submission was that the House should come forward and “incorporate a clause in Fundamental Rights that cow slaughter is henceforth prohibited rather than it being left vague in the Directive Principles… In the interests of good-will in the country and of cordial relations between the different communities…this is the proper occasion when the majority should express itself clearly and definitely.”

Mr. Lari declared that his community will not stand in the way of the majority for, as he noted, “our religion does not say that you must sacrifice cow; it permits it.” He wanted the leaders of the majority community to make things clear once and for all, and not leave it to the back-benchers to come and deliver sermons to them. Only the Muslim community must clearly know that cow slaughter is prohibited so that they do not indulge in it.

Mr. Lari further pointed out that the phraseology of the proposed amendment was vague. The first portion of the clause speaking about modern and scientific agriculture and the subsequent portion banning slaughter of cattle do not fit with each other. He would better appreciate the appeals for banning cow slaughter which forthrightly declared that this is our sentiment, please honour it. Mr. Lari ended his statement with the plea, “for God’s sake, postpone the discussion of the article, and bring it in clear, definite and unambiguous terms, so that we may know where we stand and thereafter there should be no occasion for any misunderstanding between the two communities on this issue which does not affect religion but affects practices which obtain in the country.”

Then Syed Muhammad Sa’adulla (Muslim League, Assam), who was also a member of the Drafting Committee, spoke opposing the amendment. He noted that there were two fronts in this debate. Some wanted that there should be a clause banning cow slaughter in our Constitution basing it from religious considerations. He said that he had every sympathy and appreciation for their feelings. He declared that “I do not like to use my veto when my Hindu brethren want to place this matter in our Constitution from the religious point of view.”

However, Mr Sa’adulla said, that the issue was being raised by most members on the economic front, and this did create a suspicion in the minds of many that the Hindu sentiment against cow slaughter was being brought in by the back door. He argued at length, giving the example of Assam, which had 9 million persons and 7 million cattle, that most of the economic arguments given by the earlier speakers against cow slaughter were not entirely correct.

Mr. Sa’adulla also drew attention to the fact that there was a lurking suspicion in the minds of many that it was the Muslims who were responsible for much of the slaughter of cows. He declared that this was factually incorrect (which was also agreed upon by Sri Bhargava) and stated that there were lakhs of Muslims who did not consume cattle-meat. Concluding his speech Mr. Sa’adulla said that since the matter was being brought up in the name of the economics, he could not lend his support to the motions being moved by Sri Bhargava and Seth Govind Das.

After these passionate pleas by two Muslim members, one would have normally expected some response from the proponents of the amendment and also from the leaders of the House. But immediately after Mr. Sa’adulla’s speech, Dr. Ambedkar foreclosed all debate by declaring that (from the side of the Drafting Committee) he accepted the amendment of Sri Thakur Dass Bhargava. Then, at the insistence of Seth Govind Das, his amendment was put to vote and was defeated. With no more ado, the amendment proposed by Sri Bhargava was incorporated as Article 38A of the Draft Constitution as adopted by the Assembly and later became Article 48 of the Constitution of India.

The Constituent Assembly Debate was being utilised by the two Muslim members to unambiguously declare their community’s support for total ban on cow slaughter if the majority community sought it as a basic article of faith of their religion. When Sri Bhargava or Seth Govind Das spoke of a section being opposed to the prohibition of cow slaughter being placed along with the Fundamental Rights, they were clearly referring to the leading section of the majority community and not to the minority communities. The leaders of the majority community also insisted that the matter can only come as a non-enforceable Directive Principle and also should be clearly phrased in economic/scientific terms. This was the consensus achieved behind the stages and all sections of the majority community in the Assembly acquiesced, some perhaps reluctantly, to this consensus. So the amendments were being brought forward in this manner.

What appears most horrifying, at least in retrospect today, was the fact that the passionate plea from the Muslim members to seek an unambiguous mandate for a ban cow slaughter in the name of religion, which they would be wholeheartedly willing to endorse, went totally unheeded. Of course, in return, the Muslim community would have perhaps sought a few concessions from the majority community for their own religious preferences.

An indication of this may be had from the speech made by Mr. Mohammad Ismail Sahib (Muslim League, Madras) in the Constituent Assembly, about a week later on December 1, 1948, in connection with the debate on Article 13, which had a bearing on personal laws of different communities. In his speech Mr. Ismail Sahib said:

Personal law is a part of the religion of a community or section of people which professes this law...Mr. Munshi while speaking on the subject previously said that this has nothing to do with religion and he asked what this had to do with religion. He as an illustrious and eminent lawyer ought to know that this question of personal law is entirely based upon religion. It is nothing if it is not religious. But if he says that a religion should not deal with such things, then that is another matter. It is a question of difference of opinion as to what a religion should do or should not. People differ and people holding different views on this matter must tolerate the other view. There are religions which omit altogether to deal with the question of personal law and there are other religions like Hinduism and Islam which deal with personal law. Therefore I say that people ought to be given the liberty of following their personal law…

Here the question of personal law affects only the people who follow this law. There is no compulsion exercised thereby on the general community or the general public. The House will remember that on another question – I mean the question of cow-slaughter – an obligation has been placed upon the other communities than the one which considers the prohibition of cow-slaughter as a religious matter. But then, Sir, respecting the views and feelings of our friends, the minority communities who have got the right and privilege of slaughtering and eating the flesh of cows have agreed to the proposal put before the House, though that is going beyond affecting one community alone. Here, Sir, observance of personal law is confined only to the particular communities which are following these personal laws. There is no question of compelling any other community at all.

Mr. Ismail Sahib was indicating the kind of response the Muslim community would be expecting in return for their coming forward to wholeheartedly endorse the majority community’s plea for a total on ban cow slaughter.

In any case the dialogue was not allowed to progress, because the leaders of the majority community, whether they professed to believe in their religion or otherwise, seemed to be in no mood to grant the legitimacy of the religious sentiments of either the ordinary Hindus or Muslims. For them, the very idea of seeking a total ban on cow slaughter purely as a matter of religious faith seemed to be totally out of place in modern times. This extraordinary ambivalence of the modernised Hindu about his own faith seems to have aborted a golden opportunity for India to have embarked on the great task of re-establishing sanatana dharma in this holy land fifty years ago.


M. D. Srinivas
Centre for Policy Studies
August 2000

Annexe

Constituent Assembly Debates: November 24, 1948
Discussion on Article 38A


Mr. Vice-President: We now come to new article 38-A - amendment No. 1002 standing in the names of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava and Seth Govind Das.

Seth Govind Das: Sir, I have an amendment to the amendment of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava which I will move after Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava has moved his amendment.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab: General): [Mr. President, the words of the amendment No. 72 which I am moving in place of amendment No. 1002, are as follows:-

“That for amendment No. 1002 of the lists of amendments to 38-A the following be substituted: -

“38-A. 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 of cattle and prohibit the slaughter of cow and other useful cattle, specially milch and draught cattle and their young stock.”

At the very outset I would like to submit that this amendment..........]

Shri S. Nagappa (Madras: General): Sir, on a point of order, my honourable Friend, who can speak freely in English, is deliberately talking in Urdu or Hindustani which a large number of South Indians cannot follow.

Mr. Vice-President: The honourable Member is perfectly entitled to speak in any language he likes but I would request him to speak in English though he is not bound to speak in English.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: I wanted to speak in Hindi which is my own language about the cow and I would request you not to order me to speak in English. As the subject is a very important one, I would like to express myself in the way in which I can express myself with greater ease and facility. I would therefore request you kindly to allow me to speak in Hindi.

[Mr. Vice-President, with regard to this amendment I would like to submit before the House that in fact this amendment like the other amendment, about which Dr. Ambedkar has stated, is his manufacture. Substantially there is no difference between the two amendments. In a way this is an agreed amendment. While moving this amendment, I have no hesitation in stating that for people like me and those that do not agree with the point of view of Dr. Ambedkar and others, this entails, in a way, a sort of sacrifice. Seth Govind Das had sent one such amendment to be included in the Fundamental Rights and other members also had sent similar amendments. To my mind it would have been much better if this could have been incorporated in the Fundamental Rights, but some of my Assembly friends differed and it is the desire of Dr. Ambedkar that this matter, instead of being included in Fundamental Rights should be incorporated in the Directive Principles. As a matter of fact, it is the agreed opinion of the Assembly that this problem should be solved in such a manner that the objective is gained without using any sort of coercion. I have purposely adopted this course, as to my mind, the amendment fulfils our object and is midway between the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights.

I do not want that due to its inclusion in the Fundamental Rights, non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against their will. So far as the practical question is concerned, in my opinion, there will be absolutely no difference if the spirit of the amendment is worked out faithfully, where so ever this amendment is placed. With regard to Article 38 which the House has just passed, I would like to state that Article 38 is like a body without a soul. If you fail to pass Article 38-A which is the proposed amendment, then Article 38 will be meaningless. How can you improve your health and food position, if you do not produce full quota of cereals and milk?

This amendment is divided into three parts. Firstly, the agriculture should be improved on scientific and modern lines. Secondly, the cattle breed should be improved; and thirdly, the cow and other cattle should be protected from slaughter. To grow more food and to improve agriculture and the cattle breed are all inter-dependent and are two sides of the same coin. Today, we have to hang our head in shame, when we find that we have to import cereals from outside. I think our country is importing 46 million tons of cereals from outside. If we calculate the average of the last twelve years, namely, from 1935 to 1947, then it would be found that this country has produced 45 million tons of cereals every year. Therefore, it is certain that we are not only self-sufficient but can also export cereals from our country. If we utilize water properly, construct dams, and have proper change in the courses of rivers, use machines and tractors, make use of cropping and manuring, then surely the production will increase considerably. besides all these, the best way of increasing the production is to improve the health of human beings and breed of cattle, whose milk and manure and labour are most essential for growing food. Thus the whole agricultural and food problem of this country is nothing but the problem of the improvement of co and her breed. And therefore I would like to explain to you by quoting some figures, how far cattle-wealth has progressed and what is the position today.

In 1940, there were 11,56,00,960 oxen in India and in 1945 only 11,19,00,000 were left. That is to say, during these five years, there was a decrease of 37 lacs in the number of oxen. Similarly the number of buffaloes in 1940,was 3,28,91,300 and in 1945, this figure was reduced to3,25,44,400. According to these figures, during these five years, their number was reduced by four lacs. Thus during these five years there was decrease of 41 lacs in the sum total of both the above figures taken together.

Besides this, if we see the figures of the slaughtered cattle in India we find that in 1944, 60,91,828 oxen were slaughtered, while in 1945 sixty-five lacs were slaughtered i.e., four lakhs more. In the same year 7,27,189 buffaloes were slaughtered. I do not want to take much of your time. If you wish to see latest figures then I have got them upto1945. You can see them. I have got figures for Bombay and Madras. A look at these figures will show that there has been no decrease in their slaughter, rather it is on the increase. Therefore, I want to submit before you that the slaughter of cattle should be banned here Ours is an agricultural country and the cow is `Kam-Dhenu’ to us - fulfiller of all our wants. From both points of view, of agriculture and food, protection of the cow becomes necessary. Our ancient sages and Rishis, realising her importance, regarded her as very sacred. Here, Lord Krishna was born, who served cows so devotedly that to this day, in affection he is known as “Makhan Chor”. I would not relate to you the story of Dalip, how that Raja staked his own life for his cow. But I would like to tell you that even during the Muslim rule, Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and even in the reign of Aurangzeb, cow-slaughter was not practised in India; not because Muslims regarded it to be bad but because, from the economic point of view, it was unprofitable.

Similarly in every country, in China, cow-slaughter is a crime. it is banned in Afghanistan as well. A year ago, a similar law was passed in Burma, before that, under a certain law cattle only above fourteen years of age could be slaughtered. But eventually, the Burma Government realised that this partial ban on slaughter was not effective. On the pretext of useless cattle many useful cattle are slaughtered. I have read in newspapers that the Pakistan Government has decided to stop the export of cattle from Western Pakistan, and they too have enforced a partial ban on slaughter of animals. In the present conditions in our country, cow-breeding is necessary, not for milk supply alone, but also for the purposes of draught and transport. It is no wonder that people worship cow in this land. but I do not appeal to you in the name of religion; I ask you to consider it in the light of economic requirements of the country. In this connection I would like to tell you the opinion of the greatest leader of our country - the Father of the Nation – on the subject. You know the ideas of revered Mahatmaji on this topic. He never wanted to put any compulsion on Muslims or non-Hindus. He said, “I hold that the question of cow-slaughter is of great moment - in certain respects of even greater moment - than that of Swaraj. Cow-slaughter and manslaughter are, in my opinion, two sides of the same coin.”

Leaving it aside, I want to draw your attention to the speech of our President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. After this the Government of India, appointed a committee - an expert representative committee-to find out whether for the benefit of the country the number of cattle can be increased, and whether their slaughter can be stopped. The Committee has unanimously decided in its favour. Seth Govind Das was also a member of the committee. The committee unanimously decided that cattle slaughter should be banned. Great minds were associated with the said committee. They examined the question from the economic view-point; they gave thought to the unproductive and unserviceable cattle also. After viewing the problem from all angles they came to the unanimous decision that slaughter of cattle should be stopped. That resolution relates not to cows alone. Slaughtering of buffaloes, which yield 50 per cent of our milk supply, and of the goats which yield 3 per cent of our milk supply, and also bring a profit of several crores, is as sinful as that of cows. In my district of Hariana, a goat yields 3 to 4 seers of milk. Perhaps a cow does not yield that much in other areas. Therefore I submit that we should consider it from an economic point of view. I also want to state that many of the cattle, which are generally regarded as useless, are not really so. Experts have made an estimate of that, and they came to the conclusion that the cattle which are regarded as useless are not really so, because we are in great need of manure. A cow, whether it be a milch-cow or not, is a moving manure factory and so, as far as cow is concerned, there can be no question of its being useless or useful. It can never be useless. In the case of cow there can be no dispute on the point.] (Hearing the bell being rung.) Am I to stop?

Mr. Vice President: Yes, I am asking you to stop.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Could you give me two minutes more?

Mr. Vice-President: You have already had 25 minutes.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: [As the Vice-President has ordered me to finish off, I shall not go into the details; otherwise I can prove by figures that the value of the refuse and urine of a cow is greater than the cost of her maintenance. In the end, I would wind up by saying that there might be people, who regard the question of banning cow-slaughter as unimportant, but I would like to remind them that the average age in our country is 23 years, and that many children die under one year of age! The real cause of all this is shortage of milk and deficiency in diet. Its remedy lies in improving the breed of the cow, and by stopping its slaughter. I attach very great importance to this amendment, so much so that if on one side of the scale you were to put this amendment and on the other all these 315 clauses of the draft, I would prefer the former. If this is accepted, the whole country would be, in a way, electrified. Therefore, I request you to accept this amendment unanimously with acclamation.]

Seth Govind Das: [Mr. President, the amendment moved by Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava appears to be rather inadequate as a directive in its present form. I therefore move my amendment to his amendment. My amendment runs thus:

“That in amendment No. 1002 of the list of Amendments in article 38-A the words ‘and other useful cattle, specially milch cattle and of child bearing age, young stocks and draught cattle’ be deleted and the following be added at the end:
‘the word cow includes bulls, bullocks, young stock of genus cow’.”

The object of the amendment is, I hope, quite clear from its words. The amendment moved by Pandit Bhargava prohibits the slaughter of cow and other useful cattle but according to it unfit or useless cows may be slaughtered. But the object of my amendment is, as far as cows are concerned, to prohibit the slaughter of any cow, be it useful or useless and in my amendment word ‘cow’ includes bulls, bullocks and calves all that are born of cows. As Pandit Thakur Das told you, I had submitted this earlier to be included in Fundamental Rights but I regret that it could not be so included. The reason given is that Fundamental Rights deal only with human beings and not animals. I had then stated that just as the practice of untouchability was going to be declared an offence so also we should declare the slaughter of cows to be an offence. But it was said that while untouchability directly affected human beings the slaughter of cows affected the life of animals only – and that as the Fundamental Rights were for human beings this provision could not be included therein. Well, I did not protest against that view and thought it proper to include this provision in the Directive Principles. It will not be improper, Sir, if I mention here, that it is not for the first time that I am raising the question of cow protection. I have been a member of the Central Legislature for the last twenty-five years and I have always raised this question in the Assembly and in the Council of State. The protection of cow is a question of long standing in this country. Great importance has been attached to this question from the time of Lord Krishna. I belong to a family which worships Lord Krishna as “Ishtadev”. I consider myself a religious minded person, and have no respect for those people of the present day society whose attitude towards religion and religious minded people is one of contempt. It is my firm belief that Dharma had never been uprooted from the world and nor can it be uprooted. There had been unbelievers like Charvaka in our country also but the creed of Charvaka could never flourish in this country. Now-a-days the Communist leaders of the West also and I may name among them Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, declare religion “the opium of the People”. Russia recognised neither religion nor God but we have seen that in the last war the Russian people offered prayers to God in Churches to grant them victory. Thus it is plain from the history of ancient times as also from that of God-denying Russia that religion could not be uprooted.

Moreover, cow protection is not only a matter of religion with us; it is also a cultural and economic question. Culture is a gift of History. India is an ancient country; consequently no new culture can be imposed on it. Whosoever attempts to do so is bound to fail; he can never succeed. Ours is a culture that has gradually developed with our long history. Swaraj will have no meaning for our people in the absence of a culture. Great important cultural issues - for instance the question of the name of the country, question of National Language, question of National Script, question of the National Anthem and question of the prohibition of cow slaughter - are before this Assembly and unless the Constituent Assembly decides these questions according to the wishes of the people of the country, Swarajya will have no meaning to the common people of our country. I would like to submit, Sir, that a referendum betaken on these issues and the opinion of the people be ascertained. Again, cow protection is also a matter of great economic importance for us. Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava has shown to you by quoting statistics how the cattle wealth of the country is diminishing. This country is predominantly agricultural in character. I would give some figures here regarding the position of our cattle wealth. In 1935 there were one hundred nineteen million and four hundred ninety one thousand (11,94,91,000) heads of cattle. In 1940 their number came down to one hundred fifteen million and six hundred ten thousand (11,56,10,000), and in 1945 it further came down to one hundred eleven million and nine hundred thousand (11,19,00,000). While on one side our population is increasing our cattle wealth is decreasing. Our Government is carrying on a Grow More Food Campaign. Millions of rupees are being spent on this campaign. This campaign cannot succeed so long as we do not preserve the cows. Pandit Thakur Das has given us some figures to show the number of cows slaughtered in our country. I would like to quote here some figures from the Hide and Skin Report of the Government of India. Fifty two lakhs of cows and thirteen lakhs of buffaloes are slaughtered every year in this country. It shows in what amazing numbers cattle are slaughtered here. Thirty six crores acres of land are under cultivation here. These figures also includes the land under cultivation in Pakistan. I have to give these figures because we have no figure of the land under cultivation in India since the secession of Pakistan from our country. We have six crores bullocks for the cultivation of the land. A scientific estimate would show that we need another one and a half crore of bullocks to keep this land under proper cultivation.

So far as the question of milk supply is concerned I would like to place before you figures of milk supply of other countries as compared to that of our country. In New Zealand milk supply per capita is 56 ounces, in Denmark 40, in Finland 63, in Sweden 61, in Australia 45, in Canada 35, in Switzerland 49, in Netherland 35, in Norway 43, in U.S.A. 35, in Czechoslovakia 36, in Belgium 35, in Australia 30, in Germany 35, in France 30, in Poland 22, in Great Britain 39 and in India it is only 7 ounces. Just think what will be the state of health of the people of a country where they get only seven ounces of milk per head. There is a huge infantile mortality in this country. Children are dying like dogs and cats. How can they be saved without milk?

Thus even if we look at this problem from the economic point of view, we come to the conclusion that for the supply of milk and agriculture also, the protection of the cow is necessary.

I would like to place before the House one thing more. It has been proved by experience that whatever laws we may frame for the prevention of the slaughter of useful cattle, their object is not achieved. In every province there are such laws. There people slaughter cattle and pay some amount towards fines and sometimes escape even that. Thus our cattle wealth is declining day by day.

Sometime back there was a law like that in Burma but when they saw that cattle could not be saved under it, they banned cow slaughter altogether.

I would like to emphasise one point to my Muslim friends also. I would like to see my country culturally unified even though we may follow different religions. Just as a Hindu and a Sikh or a Hindu and a Jain can live in the same family, in the same way a Hindu and a Muslim can also live in the same family. The Muslims should come forward to make it clear that their religion does not compulsorily enjoin on them the slaughter of the cow. I have studied a little all the religions. I have read the life of Prophet Mohammad Sahib. The Prophet never took beef in his life. This is an historic fact.

Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava pointed out just now that from the time of Akbar to that of Aurangzeb, there was a ban on cow slaughter. I want to tell you what Babar, the first Moghul Emperor told Humayun. He said: “Refrain from cow-slaughter to win the hearts of the people of Hindustan.”

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava just now referred to the Committee constituted by the Government of India for this purpose. It recommended that cow slaughter should be totally banned. I admit that the Government will require money for the purpose. I want to assure you that there will be no lack of money for this purpose. If the allowance given to cattle-pounds and Goshalas is realised from the people by law, all the money needed would be realised. Even if the Government want to impose a new tax for this purpose every citizen of this country will be too glad to pay it. Therefore our Government should not raise before us the financial bogey so often raised by the British Government. I have travelled a little in this country and I am acquainted with the views of the people.]

Sir, I wish to say a few words in English to my South Indian friends.

Mr. Vice-President: I am afraid that if I give you that permission, other speakers will not have sufficient time to speak. You asked for ten minutes and I have given you fifteen minutes plus four. If you insist on more time I am prepared to give it but you could have addressed them in English.

Mr. Shibbanlal Saksena - Amendment No. 87 of List 4.

Shri R. V. Dhulekar (United Provinces: General): Sir, I have sent a little request for permission to speak.

Mr. Vice-President: If honourable members will kindly take their seats, I shall be able to say something. We have adopted a certain procedure. The amendments have to be moved one after another. Mr. Shibbanlal Saksena.

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, I had given notice of an amendment in which I desired that cow slaughter should be banned completely. But after the agreement arrived at about Pt. Thakur Dass Bhargava’s amendment, I waive my right to move my amendment.

An Honourable Member: But what is the amendment?

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: It is No. 87 in list IV, but I am not moving it.

Mr. Vice-President: In that case you cannot speak.

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: But there is no other amendment. I may speak on the clause now.

Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General): Sir, may we know where we stand? Is the Honourable Member moving his amendment or is he taking part in the general discussion of the clause?

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: I am speaking generally on the clause.

Mr. Vice-President: In that case, you must wait till Shri Ram Sahai moves his amendment also, No. 88, list IV.

Shri Algu Rai Shastry (United Provinces: General): On a point of order. Professor Saksena has copied out the whole of Pt. Thakur Das’s amendment and added only one or two words. In such cases only those new words should be taken as his amendment, and the whole of the amendment should not be owned by him.

Mr. Vice-President: But he has said he will be taking part in the general discussion only. Now, Shri Ram Sahai.

Shri Ram Sahai (United State of Gwalior-Indore-Malwa:Madhya Bharat): [Mr. Vice-President. In regard to this matter I have already tabled an amendment seeking to add these words in article 9 of Part III “The State shall ban the slaughter of cows by law”. But for the very reasons that led Mr. Bhargava not to move his amendment, I have also now decided not to move mine. Still there is another amendment in my name in Part IV of the Draft Constitution.

My only object in tabling this amendment was to secure complete prohibition of the slaughter of cows. But I find here that a section of the House does not like this. I also do not like, on my part, to make any proposal that may not receive the unanimous acceptance of the House nor a proposal which may lead to the curtailment of the freedom of the provinces in this matter. Under the Directive Principles of State Policy, Provinces will have the power to stop cow-slaughter totally or partially. Though there is a ban in one form or another on the slaughter of cows, in almost all countries of the world, yet I would not emphasise that fact before you.

I hope Honourable Dr. Ambedkar will appreciate and accept the amendment moved by Mr. Bhargava because it is on the basis of the assurance to this effect given by him that the amendment has been moved as a compromise. In view of that assurance I am not moving my amendment.]

Mr. Vice-President: There is another amendment which I had overlooked. It is No. 1005, standing in the name of Shri Ranbir Singh Chaudhari.

Chaudhari Ranbir Singh (East Punjab: General): Sir, I do not propose to move that amendment. But I would like to speak on the general clause.

Mr. Vice-President: All right. Professor Saksena.

Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, there are two aspects to this question. One is the religious aspect and the other is the economic aspect. I shall first deal with the religious aspect. I am not one of those men who think that merely because a thing has a religious aspect, it should not be enacted as law. I personally feel that cow protection, if it has become a part of the religion of the Hindus, it is because of its economic and other aspects, I believe that the Hindu religion is based mostly on the principles which have been found useful to the people of this country in the course of centuries. Therefore, if thirty crores of our population feel that this thing should be incorporated in the laws of the country, I do not think that we as an Assembly representing 35 crores should leave it out merely because it has a religious aspect. I agree with Seth Govind Das that we should not think that because a thing has a religious significance, so it is bad. I say, religion itself sanctifies what is economically good. I wish to show how important cattle preservation is for us Mahatma Gandhi in fact, has written in so many of his articles about his belief that cow protection was most essential for our country. From the scientific point of view, I wish to point out that Dr. Wright who is an expert on the subject in his report on our National Income says that out of 22 crores of national income per annum, about eleven crores are derived from the cattle wealth of India, representing the wealth of most of our people who live in the villages.

Sometimes it is supposed that we have too many cattle and that most of them are useless, and therefore, they must be slaughtered. This is a wrong impression. If you compare the figures, you will find that in India there are only 50 cattle per 100 of the population, whereas in Denmark it is 74, in U.S.A. 71, in Canada 80, in Cape Colony 120 and in New Zealand 150. So in New Zealand, there are about three times the number of cattle per head of population than we have here. So, to say that we have too many cattle is not right. As for useless cattle, scientists say that their excreta has value as manure and its cost is more than the expenditure on the upkeep of such cattle.

Then again, our agriculture depends mostly on cattle, as it is mostly of small holdings where the cultivators cannot make use of tractors and other implements. They depend on bullocks, and if you compare the figures of bullocks, you will find that although we have got an area of 33½ million acres of land to cultivate, we have only six crores of bullocks which works at about 16 bullocks per 100 acres of land which is quite insufficient. Therefore, even from the point of view of our agricultural economy, we need a very large number of bullocks. It has been estimated that to meet our requirements, we would require about eleven crores more bullocks.

Then, coming to our requirements of milk and other products, if we compare our milk consumption with that of other countries, we find that it is only 5 oz. per head, and that is very little, compared to the figures of other countries. Therefore I think that we must have this amendment incorporated in our Constitution.

The other important evils in our country are infant mortality and tuberculosis which have their origin in deficient milk diet. These evils can be remedied only if we preserve our cattle and improve their breed, which is the purpose of this amendment. I therefore think that this amendment should be accepted.

Then there is the use of Vanaspati ghee, which has become an economic necessity, because there is no pure ghee available anywhere. If we are able to give effect to this amendment we can improve the breed of cattle and then we will be able to do away with the use of Vanaspati, which is so injurious to the health of the nation.

Also from the point of view of the requirements of our climate this amendment is very necessary. I think the amendment is very well worded. it says that we shall try to “organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and in particular take steps to preserve, protect, and improve the useful breeds of cattle and ban the slaughter of cow and other useful cattle, especially milch cattle and of child-bearing age, young stocks and draught cattle”. I think the amendment of Seth Govind Das is included in it. I am sure, representatives of people elected on adult suffrage will surely incorporate in their state laws legislation which will give effect to this amendment and we shall then have in our land no cow slaughter. I therefore support this amendment wholeheartedly.

Dr. Raghu Vira (C.P. and Berar: General): Sir, I think it my most bounden duty in this House to express the feelings, feelings which no words can really convey, that not a single cow shall be slaughtered in this land.

Gaurahanya bhavati. Na himsitavya. Na himsitavya.
Yah kaschid gam hinasti mahapataki bhavati.

These sentiments which were expressed thousands of years ago still ring in the hearts of tens of millions of this land. My friends tell me that it is an economic question, that Muslim kings have supported the preservation of cows and banned the killing of the cows. That is all right. But when we attain freedom, freedom to express ourselves in every form and manner - our Preamble says ‘There shall be liberty of expression’ - is that merely expression of thought or is that the expression of our whole being? This country evolved a civilization and in that civilization we gave prominent place to what we call Ahimsa or non-killing and non-injury, not merely of human beings but also of the animal kingdom. The entire universe was treated as one and the cow is the symbol of that oneness of life and are we not going to maintain it? Brahma-hatya and go-hatya – the killing of the learned man, the scientist, the philosopher or the sage and the killing of a cow are on a par. If we do not allow the killing of a scientist or a sage in this land it shall certainly be ordained by this House that no cow shall be killed. I know in my childhood we were not allowed to drink until the cow has had its drink and we were not allowed to eat till the cow has had its meal. The cow takes precedence over the children of the family, because she is the mother of the individual, she is the mother of the nation. Ladies and gentlemen in this House, I appeal to you to look back with serenity and to search your souls. We are representatives of millions of our people............

Mr. Vice-President: The Honourable Member must address the Chair. This is not a public platform.

Dr. Raghu Vira: Through you, Sir, I wish to convey the feeling of this House and other people of this country that the cow shall be saved in the interests of the country and in the interests of our culture. And with these words, Sir, I take your leave.

Shri R. V. Dhulekar: Sir, I always believed from my childhood that India had a mission and because India had a mission therefore I wanted the independence of this country. Many millions of the people, who died for this country, also like me had believed that India had a mission, and what was that mission? The mission was that we should go about the world and carry the message of peace, love, freedom and Abhaya (freedom from fear) to every body in the world. When independence was achieved I was happy to believe that I shall carry out my mission, that I shall carry to the world this message, viz., that India has got no grudge against any country in the world, it has no expansionist ideas but that it is going to save the whole world from the danger of internecine war, bloodshed and many other ills that humanity is suffering from. In the same way and for the same purpose I appeal to the House to discuss this subject from a dispassionate point of view. It is not the crumbs, the loaves and fishes that we are fighting for. Loaves and fishes were left behind by some people thirty years back and by some others fifty years back. We did not want to achieve this independence for loaves and fishes. Those who want them are welcome but men like us who have a mission or a message for the world cannot love loaves and fishes. We do not want ambassadorship, premierships, ministerships or wealth. We want that India should declare today that the whole human world as well as the whole animal world is free today and will be protected. The cow is a representative of the animal kingdom, the peepal tree is the representative of the vegetable kingdom, the touchstone or the shaligram is the representative of the mineral world. We want to save and give peace and protection to all those four worlds and therefore it is that the Hindus of India have put these four things as representatives of this world - the human being, the cow, the peepal and the shaligram. All these were worshipped because we wanted to protect the whole humanity. Our Upanishad says:

isavasyamidam sarvam yatkincha jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha magridhah kasyasvit dhanam

We do not want this property, we do not want this food; we do not want this raiment – not because we cannot take it; not because we are cowards; not because we cannot carry Imperialism to the four corners of the world; but we may not have it because we see the whole world identical with our own soul. So our humanity which resides in this Bharatvarsha for several thousand years has marched forward and has taken the cow within the fold of human society. Some people here talked to me and said “You say that you want to protect the cow and want it to be included in the Fundamental Rights. Is the protection of the cow a fundamental right of a human being? Or is it the fundamental right of the cow?” I replied to them and tell them suppose it is a question of saving your mother or protecting your mother. Whose fundamental right is it? Is it the fundamental right of the mother? No. It is my fundamental right to protect my mother, to protect my wife, my children and my country. In the Fundamental Rights you have said that you will give justice, equity and all these things. Why? Because you say “it is your fundamental right to have justice”. What does that justice mean? It means that we shall be protected, our families shall be protected. And our Hindu society, or our Indian society, has included the cow in our fold. It is just like our mother. In fact it is more than our mother. I can declare from this platform that there are thousands of persons who will not run at a man to kill that man for their mother or wife or children, but they will run at a man if that man does not want to protect the cow or wants to kill her.

With these few words, I wish to say that these two amendments which have been put forward by Mr. Bhargava and Seth Govind Das should be dealt with dispassionately. I shall appeal to you that only that amendment should be passed which is very clear. If Mr. Bhargava’s amendment is doubtful, then certainly Seth Govind Das’s amendment should be passed.

Mr. Vice-President: Following my usual practice I must give an opportunity to people who hold different views from the majority view and I am therefore calling upon Mr. Lari to speak.

Mr. Z. H. Lari (United Provinces: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, I appreciate the sentiments of those who want protection of the cow - may be on religious grounds or maybe in the interests of agriculture in this country. I have come here not to oppose or support any of the amendments but to request the House to make the position quite clear and not to leave the matter in any ambiguity or doubt. The House, at the same time, must appreciate that Mussalmans of India have been, and are, under the impression that they can, without violence to the principles which govern the State, sacrifice cows and other animals on the occasion of Bakrid. It is for the majority to decide one way or the other. We are not here to obstruct the attitude that the majority community is going to adopt. But let there not linger an idea in the mind of the Muslim public that they can do one thing, though in fact they are not expected to do that. The result has been, as I know in my own Province on the occasion of the last Bakrid, so many orders under Section 144 in various places, districts and cities. The consequence has been the arrests of many, molestation of even more, and imprisonment of some. Therefore, if the House is of the opinion that slaughter of cows should be prohibited, let it be prohibited in clear, definite and unambiguous words. I do not want that there should be a show that you could have this thing although the intention may be otherwise. My own submission to this House is that it is better to come forward and incorporate a clause in Fundamental Rights that cow slaughter is henceforth prohibited, rather than it being left vague in the Directive Principles, leaving it open to Provincial Governments to adopt it one way or the other, and even without adopting definite legislation to resort to emergency powers under the Criminal Procedure. In the interests of good-will in the country and of cordial relations between the different communities I submit that this is the proper occasion when the majority should express itself clearly and definitely.

I for one can say that this is a matter on which we will not stand in the way of the majority if the majority wants to proceed in a certain way, what ever may be our inclinations. We feel - we know that our religion does not necessarily say that you must sacrifice cow: it permits it. The question is whether, considering the sentiments that you have, considering the regard which the majority have for certain classes of animals, do they or do they not permit the minority - not a right - but a privilege or a permission which it at present has? I cannot put it higher. I won’t class it as interference with my religion. But I do not want that my liberty should be taken away, and especially the peaceful celebration of any festival should be marred by the promulgation of orders under Section 144. I have come only to plead that. Therefore, let the leaders of the majority community here and now make it clear and not leave it to the back-benchers to come forward and deliver sermons one way or the other. Let those who guide the destinies of the country, make or mar them, say definitely “this is our view”, and we will submit to it. We are not going to violate it. This is the only thing I have come to say. I hope you will not misunderstand me when I say this. It is not due to anger, malice or resentment but it is out of regard for cordial relations between the communities, and what is more, due to the necessity of having a clear mind that I say this. Henceforward the Muslim minority must know where they stand so that they may act accordingly, and there be no occasion for any misunderstanding between the majority and the Muslims on this point.

In view of what I have said, I would not oppose nor support any of the amendments, but I would invite a very clear and definite rule instead of the vague phraseology of the clauses which have been put forward. It proceeds to say that we should have modern and scientific agriculture. Modern and scientific agriculture will mean mechanisation and so many other things. The preceding portion of the clause speaking about modern and scientific agriculture and the subsequent portion banning slaughter of cattle do not fit in with each other. I appreciate the sentiments of another member who said “this is our sentiment, and it is out of that sentiment that we want this article”. Let that article be there, but for God’s sake, postpone the discussion of the article and bring it in clear, definite and unambiguous terms so that we may know where we stand and thereafter there should be no occasion for any misunderstanding between the two communities on this issue which does not affect religion but affects practices which obtain in the country.

Syed Muhammad Sa’adulla (Assam: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, the subject of debate before the House now has two fronts, the religious front and the economic front. Some who want to have a section in our Constitution that cow-killing should be stopped for all time probably base it on the religious front. I have every sympathy and appreciation for their feelings; for, I am student of comparative religions. I know that the vast majority of the Hindu nation revere the cow as their goddess and therefore they cannot brook the idea of seeing it slaughtered. I am a Muslim as everyone knows. In my religious book, the Holy Qoran, there is an injunction to the Muslims saying -

“La Ikraba fid Din”,

or, there ought to be no compulsion in the name of religion. I therefore do not like to use my veto when my Hindu brethren want to place this matter in our Constitution from the religious point of view. I do not also want to obstruct the framers of our Constitution, I mean the Constituent Assembly if they come out in the open and say directly: “This is part of our religion. The cow should be protected from slaughter and therefore we want its provision either in the Fundamental Rights or in the Directive Principles.”

But, those who put it on the economic front, as the honourable Member who spoke before me said, do create a suspicion in the minds of many that the ingrained Hindu feeling against cow slaughter is being satisfied by the backdoor. If you put it on the economic front, I will place before you certain facts and figures which will show that the slaughter of cows is not as bad as it is sought to be made out from the economic point of view. I have very vast and varied experience of the province of Assam and therefore I will quote you figures from Assam only. In the year 1931,under the orders of the then Central Government a census of the cattle wealth of the province was undertaken. We found that in 1931, Assam had 70 lakhs of cattle as against a human population of 90 lakhs. It will stagger my friends from the other parts of India when I place before them the fact that the average yield of an Assam cow is but a quarter seer of milk daily and that it is so puny in stature that its draught power is practically nil. Assam is dependent for her draught cattle on the province of Bihar. During the last war, when there was tremendous difficulty as regards transport, we could not get any cattle from Bihar, with the result that we were compelled to use our own small cattle for the purpose of ploughing. In order to conserve this cattle, the Government of Assam passed a law prohibiting the slaughter of cattle in milch or cattle which could be used for the purpose of draught. But, wonder of wonders, I personally found that droves of cattle were being taken to the military depots for being slaughtered not by Muslims, but by Hindus who had big “sikhas” on their heads. When I saw this during my tours I asked those persons why, in spite of their religion and in spite of Government orders, they were taking the cattle to be slaughtered. They said: “Sir, these are all unserviceable cattle. They are all dead-weight on our economy. We want to get ready cash in exchange for them”.

My friend Seth Govind Das mentioned the case of cattle that were killed. I questioned him privately. The figures in the Hides and Skins Report are from the hides. I know there is a community amongst Hindus themselves who go by the name of `Rishi’ in our part of the country whose sole occupation in life is to take away the skin from dead cattle. They have got absolutely no objection even to flay the skin of slaughtered cattle. The figures given by Seth Govind Das include the numbers of both the dead and slaughtered cattle. Similarly the figures given by Pandit Bhargava are not the figures of cattle slaughtered during normal times. They were, as Honourable Members know, war years and, on account of the fact that the Japanese had invaded India through Assam, Assam alone had to accommodate about 5 lakhs of fighting men and an equal number of camp followers. Cattle from all parts of India were then taken to Assam to feed these ten lakhs of people from America and elsewhere, whites as well as blacks. Even the Chinese soldiers were there in Assam, not to speak of soldiers from every part of India. Therefore, those were abnormal years and you cannot base your arguments on the figures of the years 1945 and 1946.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: But, during those years, there was a ban on the slaughter of cattle imposed by the Government of India. They had issued orders banning the slaughter of cattle. It is in spite of that that the figures of slaughter have been so high.

Syed Muhammad Saiadulla: I do not want to be side-tracked. The point is that there are cattle and cattle. We were trying to get cattle from West Punjab just before Partition. The cattle there on an average give half a maund of milk. The Assam Government have been trying to improve the milk yield of their cattle by introducing cattle from England, Australia and the Punjab. We have yet touched only the fringe of the problem with our Government cattle farms and we have succeeded only in Shillong. The milk yield there has increased but in the plains the milk yield is only quarter seer daily.

The motion of Pandit Bhargava is that, in order to improve the economic condition of the people, we should try scientific measures. That presupposes that the useless cattle should be done away with and better breeds introduced.

Now, I ask you what is to be done with these seventy lakhs of cattle that we have got in Assam? Therefore, Sir, if you place it on the economic front, you are met with this proposition that we have got such a big number of uneconomic cattle that must be done away with before you can supplant them with a better breed. Another point is.......

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Does not the honourable Member know that many useless cattle have been turned into good cattle by goshalas and other organisations and at least 90 per cent can be salvaged by proper feeding and treatment.

Syed Muhammad Saiadulla: Sir, I do not know of goshalas in other parts and I do not want to reply to Pandit Bhargava as I have only ten minutes to speak. I was telling the House that there is a lurking suspicion in the minds of many that it is the Muslim people who are responsible for this slaughter of cows. That is absolutely wrong.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Quite wrong.

Syed Muhammad Saiadulla: I am glad that the Mover of this amendment says that it is quite wrong. There are lakhs of Muslims who do not eat cow’s flesh. I am not speaking in any sense of braggadocio when I say that I myself do not take it. Before the partition the Muslims were only one-fourth of the total population. They did not raise sufficient cattle to kill. It is the majority people who sold their cattle to the Muslims to be killed. Now the Muslims form only one-tenth of the population of the Dominion of India. Do you think that the Mussalmans can raise sufficient cattle to slaughter them? Muslims are poorer than our Hindu brethren. The Muslims are as much agriculturists as the Hindus and the cattle in their farms form their capital asset, the natural source of their power to till the land and produce the food which will maintain them for the entire year. Therefore it is wrong to say that the Muslims kill the cows either to offend my Hindu friends or for any other purpose. Fortunately or unfortunately the Muslims are a meat-eating people. The price of mutton is so high that many poor people cannot buy it. Therefore on rare occasions they have to use the flesh of the cow. From my own knowledge, it is only the barren cows that go to the butcher. Speaking for Assam, it is the hill people who are the worst culprits in this respect. In the town of Shillong, there is only one Muslim butcher against seventy from the hill people, who deal in beef. Sir, in these circumstances, in the name of the economic front, I cannot lend my support to the motion moved by Pandit Bhargava. I am sorry that for the reasons given already, I am compelled to oppose the amendment of Seth Govind Das.

The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I accept the amendment of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava.

Mr. Vice-President: I shall now put the amendments one by one to the vote. The amendment of Pandit Thakur DassBhargava. That is No. 72 in List II.

Seth Govind Das: What about my amendment which has been moved as an amendment to Pandit Bhargava’s amendment? That should be put to the vote first.

Mr. Vice-President: You moved your amendment as an amendment to No. 1002 which was not moved.

Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: I substituted No. 72 for No. 1002.

Seth Govind Das: My amendment is an amendment to the amendment which Pandit Bhargava just moved.

Mr. Vice-President: All right. I am willing to put your amendment to the vote. Now, the amendment of Seth Govind Das, i.e., 73 in List No. II, is now put to the vote.

The question is:

“That in amendment No. 1002 of the List of Amendments, in article 38-A, the words ‘and other useful cattle, specially milch cattle and of child bearing age, young stocks and drought cattle’ be deleted and the following be added at the end: -
‘The word Cow includes bulls, bullocks, young stock of genus cow.’”

The amendment was negatived.

Mr. Vice-President: Now amendment No. 72 in List II by Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava is put to the vote.

The question is:
“That in amendment No. 1002 of the List of Amendments, for article 38-A, the following be substituted:-

“38-A. 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 of cattle and prohibit the slaughter of cow and other useful cattle specially milch and draught cattle and their young stocks.”

The motion was adopted.

Mr. Vice-President: Article 38-A will consist of the amendment of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava.

The question before the House is:

“That article 38-A in the form just mentioned form part of the Constitution.”

The motion was adopted.