The Myth of the Holy Cow

Original price was: ₹399.Current price is: ₹350.

With additional material: B.R. Ambedkar on beef-eating and untouchability

D.N. Jha

  • Weight: 275 g
  • Number of Pages: 208
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5”
  • ISBN: 9788189059163
  • Restrictions: For sale in South Asia only

In this book, historian Dwijendra Narayan Jha argues that the ‘holiness’ of the cow is a myth and its flesh played an important part in the cuisine of ancient India. Citing Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina religious scriptures, he underlines the fact that beef-eating was not Islam’s ‘baneful bequeathal’ to India. Nor can abstention from it be a mark of ‘Hindu’ identity, notwithstanding the averments of Hindutva forces who have tried to foster the false consciousness of the ‘otherness’ on the followers of Islam.

This new Navayana edition features an excerpt from Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s 1948 work on the connections between untouchability and beef-eating. Ambedkar marshals evidence to argue that in the Vedic period, ‘for the Brahmin every day was a beef-steak day.’

Dwijendra Narayan Jha is a historian, a former professor of the University of Delhi. He was also a National Lecturer in History and General President, Indian History Congress. He is the author of Rethinking Hindu Identity and Early India: A Concise History. Most of his writings have been translated into several Indian and foreign languages.


In the media

G. Sreedathan interviews historian D. N. Jha in Business Standard.

‘This little gem of a book provides a wealth of evidence exposing myth creation and the way symbols are used politically to divide people.’Socialist Review

‘While cow veneration and vegetarianism may be the hallmarks of Hinduism today, Jha compiles copious evidence that this has hardly always been the case.’—New York Times

‘Jha traces the history of the doctrine forbidding the eating of cows… soundly and thoroughly covering both the classic texts and cutting-edge scholarship, Indian and European.’—Times Literary Supplement

‘Jha elaborates on how variously the ancient Indians saw their cattle; with an impressive range of textual evidence’—The Guardian