In his second published column since being named a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, mathematics professor Manil Suri wrote about the recent ban of beef in some parts of India. Suri’s column, titled “A Ban on Beef in India is Not the Answer,” examines the political and historical motivations for the ban and its implications on personal freedoms and the economy.
“The laws have affected more than just restaurants. Thousands of butchers and vendors, their livelihood abruptly suspended, have protested in Mumbai. The leather industry is in turmoil. Beef is consumed not only by Indian Muslims and Christians, but also by many low-caste Hindus, for whom it is an essential source of affordable protein,” Suri wrote.
Suri also analyzed the recent beef ban in the context of the larger debate on equality in India: “Indian civilization has evolved over the centuries to include multiple diverse communities with competing interests. Despite its secular Constitution, India remains strikingly unequal. The government must make every effort to balance majority sentiments with minority needs. This is what the previous rules that restricted cow, but not bull, slaughter did,” Suri wrote, adding, “Imposing ideals from a mythic past is not the answer. The true lesson to take away from history is how utilitarian goals can shape religious custom. Hinduism has always been a pragmatic religion; what today’s India needs is accommodation.”
To read the full New York Times column, click here.