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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Sacred Cows and Beefeaters 1

Sacred Cows and Beefeaters 1

Chapter:
(p.501) Sacred Cows and Beefeaters1
Source:
On Hinduism
Author(s):

Wendy Doniger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.003.0035

The cow is an object of veneration among the Hindus, yet is one of the few animals in India that are not the object of worship. In sharp contrast with mares, cows have been cultural symbols of nonviolence and of the passive, bovine aspect of women for centuries. This chapter focuses on the status of cows in ancient India and compares them with cows in contemporary India. It then examines the concept of the sacred cow and the eating of beef as well the controversy surrounding Dwijendra Narayan Jha’s 2001 book entitled The Myth of the Holy Cow, which tackles beef-eating and vegetarianism in Hinduism.

Keywords:   cows, Hindus, India, sacred cow, eating, beef, Dwijendra Narayan Jha, The Myth of the Holy Cow, vegetarianism, Hinduism

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