Cows and cow-slaughter in India : religious, political and social aspects
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India is a land of sacred cows. They are abundant in the fields, are present with gods in every temple, figure prominently in Parliament and Assemblies, are the deciding factor in elections, and are the subject of judgement in the highest court of India. The sacredness has attained such heights that social scientists from allover the world have made attempts;to find an approach to the study of sacred cows. Cultural ecologists (Harris 1966) and economists (Raj 1969, Heston 1971) have argued intensely in favour of the appropriateness of their respective approach to the problem. I attempt here to add yet another approach, which I call a sociological approach. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the cultural meaning of cow, which is held in great reverence , by Hindus, and to show t):lat these values of sacredness are more heavily influenced by the socio-political system than by the economic system.
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