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Title: Appropriating the Cow: Beef and Identity Politics in Contemporary India
Authors: Staples, J
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Farm to Fingers: The Culture and Politics of Food in Contemporary India, 2018, pp. 58 - 79
Abstract: To international onlookers, debates over cattle slaughter and beef consumption might have seemed like a sideshow to the main issues (corruption, the economy and women’s safety high among them) that dominated the 2014 general election in India. The fact that they registered at all, however, points not only to the continuing symbolic, material and affective significance of beef to life in the sub-continent, but also to the levels of ambivalence and controversy that still surround a meat apparently long since rejected by the majority of Indians. During the election campaign, Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the soon-to-be prime minister, was harsh in his criticism of the outgoing government’s subsidies and tax-breaks for slaughterhouses that had, he claimed, led to the mass killing of cows and buffaloes. ‘Those at the Centre want a “Pink Revolution”,’ Modi told a rally in Bihar. ‘When animals are slaughtered, the colour of their flesh is pink. Animals are being slaughtered and taken to Bangladesh. The government in Delhi is giving subsidies to those who are carrying out this slaughter.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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