Is banning beef unconstitutional in a secular country like India?

Answer by Omkar Patil:

Before I answer, let me clarify that I have staunch Hindu nationalist views.
If the logic provided to justify the ban on cow slaughter is that to avoid religious sentiments of Hindus from being hurt, then it weakens the case for beef ban. We should rather focus on other reasons to justify it. So the debate should be about whether cattle slaughter is to be banned or not, rather than limiting the discussion only on cows.
Now, coming to constitutionality of beef ban, the article 48 of our constitution says:
Article 48.
Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry:
The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
Agreed that directive principles are not binding and are just optional. But how does that mean cow slaughter is unconstitutional? Our constitution is not enforcing beef ban, but its suggesting the state to ban it. Each person is entitled to his/her own views, so do different parties can have their own view. A party can choose to ban cow slaughter or not, but in no way is it unconstitutional. Its very naive to just say that we are secular, so banning cow slaughter is unconstitutional. Things are very well defined in the constitution, and it can't be judged in one-liners.
24 out of 29 states in India currently have various regulations prohibiting either the slaughter or sale of cows. Most of these were brought by the secular Congress, not the communal BJP
Economic reasons
The most common economic argument made against cattle slaughter ban is : "What is the point in keeping old, defunct cows? The cow was useful when it was young, but since it is old now, won't the farmer benefit if he sells the cow? Hence banning beef is anti-farmer."
But this argument doesn't hold true, because the above described event has a lower probability. The price of an old defunct cow is much lesser than a young, fresh, healthy cow. Plus, I don't think anyone would like to eat the beef of a malnutritioned, sick, old, diseased, defunct cow. Even if few people prefer that, the lesser preference itself means more decrease in the price. Any farmer would make just a negligible amount of money out of that. Add to that, farmers generally don't prefer selling their animals for meat, because of their love for their pets. This itself makes the above event a less probable event.
Compare that with the event of a farmer buying a new, young, healthy cow. It is highly probable, most farmers do so. As far as I know, at least in Maharashtra, the cost of a cow is 40,000 to 50,000. Might be even higher. If the total number of cows in market increase, the cost of each cow will obviously reduce. But if the number of cows decrease, the cost of cows will increase. So obviously, more number of cows is pro-farmer.
Cattle have a large number of uses for farmers, as it provides milk, milch products etc. Modern progressive liberals would laugh at this, but still a large number of villagers use cow dung as fuel. It doesn't matter whether it is modern or not, cow dung still has economic value. Same goes for cow urine.
According to the census, population of India’s livestock has declined by 3.33 per cent. India's livestock population drops by 3.33 per cent . It is important to protect them in such conditions.
There are a lot of liberals, who are very unhappy about cow slaughter ban. Generally, I support economic liberty, but we need to understand that complete liberty doesn't exist, its only theoretical. Most countries, whether liberal or conservative ban some or the other kind of animal slaughter.
It is true that not everyone benefits from banning beef. Those who own slaughter houses are going to suffer after cattle slaughter is completely banned. So this ban can't be said to be completely correct.  But then, it is a democracy, and the interest of the majority of interest group is going to prevail. Since India is primarily an agrarian economy, the interest of farmers prevails.
Environmental reasons
1. The amount of water consumed to produce 1 kg of beef is 15,415 litres. Check out the below table.
2. 27 kg of CO2 is produced per kg of production of beef. Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, says expert
So these are enough of environmental reasons too.
Hindu Nationalism
Though it may help in uniting Hindus, it should be realised that banning cow slaughter has nothing to do with Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. Hindutva is just Hindu-ness or the Hindu national identity.
To explain this, I will quote what Veer Savarkar, the man who coined the Hindutva ideology said:
Animals such as the cow and buffalo and trees such as banyan and peepal are useful to man, hence we are fond of them; to that extent we might even consider them worthy of worship; their protection, sustenance and well-being is our duty, in that sense alone it is also our dharma! Does it not follow then that when under certain circumstances, that animal or tree becomes a source of trouble to mankind, it ceases to be worthy of sustenance or protection and as such its destruction is in humanitarian or national interests and becomes a human or national dharma?
(Samaj Chitre or portraits of society, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 2, p.678)
When humanitarian interests are not served and in fact harmed by the cow and when humanism is shamed, self-defeating extreme cow protection should be rejected
(Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 3, p.341)
A substance is edible to the extent that it is beneficial to man. Attributing religious qualities to it gives it a godly status. Such a superstitious mindset destroys the nation’s intellect.
(1935, Savarkaranchya goshti or tales of Savarkar, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 2, p.559)
Protect the cow, do not merely worship it
I criticized the false notions involved in cow worship with the aim of removing the chaff and preserving the essence so that cow protection may be better achieved. A worshipful attitude is necessary for protection. But it is improper to forget the duty of cow protection and indulging only in worship. The word ‘only’ used here is important. First protect the cow and then worship it if you so desire.
(1938, Swatantryaveer Savarkar: Hindu Mahasabha parva or the phase of the Hindu Mahasabha, p. 173)
Do genuine cow protection
Without spreading religious superstition, let the movement for cow protection be based and popularized on clear-cut and experimental economic and scientific principles. Then alone shall we achieve genuine cow protection like the Americans.
(1934, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 3, p.171)
But, at the same time :
The non-Hindus should discard their hatred for the cow and do genuine cow protection
The religious character that Hindus have given to cow protection howsoever naïve is not symptomatic of cruelty. This is because protecting animals such as cows and buffaloes that are extremely useful to man have an objective of safeguarding human interests. But the religious fanaticism of those non-Hindus whose religion itself is based on hatred for the cow is not only naïve but also cruel. They have no right whatsoever to mock at the Hindus.
There is an overdose of gratitude, compassion, notion of all living beings being one in the cow worship of Hindus. But the cow slaughter indulged in by non-Hindus has an excess of cruelty, ungratefulness and demonic (asuric) taking of life. It is not religious madness but irreligious wickedness. For this reason, these non-Hindus should discard their ‘religious’ cow hatred and consider cow protection done for economic reasons to be their duty. (1935, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol. 3, p.171-172)
These views seem to be much more rationalist, than those of today's leftists, who are cheered as rationalist just for urinating on idols.
Each person is entitled to his/her opinion and I respect it. While beef ban may not be completely correct, the entire Indian secular brigade tends to strongly oppose and hate beef ban. They tend to claim themselves rational. But there are other reasons for it.  Our secular brigade is composed of the components: Leftists, Islamists, Christian Missionaries. Leftists or pro-dalit parties hate cows, just because cows are deeply revered by Brahmins. This is an outcome of their Brahmin hatred.
It must be noted that reverence for cows in Indian society was a result of an evolution of thoughts. When the Indian society started realising the importance of cattle, cow became very respected and were revered in the society. Brahmins were the intellectual upper class of that era and these intellectuals spread these ideas of reverence to cow.
Now, it is well known that leftists hate Brahmins, because of the class struggle theory and they hate religions too. Islamists and Missionaries hate Hindus due to the religious differences. Hence the secular brigade is strongly opposed to the beef ban.
This kind of opposition to cow slaughter seems to be more out of hatred, than out of ideas.
There is also a false propaganda about beef ban being anti-Muslim. There is no Islamic text which asks muslims to eat beef. Beef production which requires a large amount of water doesn't suit Arabic countries.
But in India, Islamists and Christian missionaries teach to eat beef, just as a sign of hatred towards Hindus. You may not believe me, if I say so.
But check out, what India's secular icon MK Gandhi had said:
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has written in his autobiography "My Experiment with Truth" (on page 24) :
Only Christianity was at that time an exception. I developed a sort of dislike for it. And for a reason. In those days Christian missionaries used to stand in a corner near the high school and hold forth, pouring abuse on Hindus and their gods. I could not endure this. I must have stood there to hear them once only, but that was enough to dissuade me from repeating the experiment. About the same time, I heard of a well known Hindu having been converted to Christianity. It was the talk of the town that, when he was baptized, he had to eat beef and drink liquor, that he also had to change his clothes, and that thenceforth he began to go about in European costume, including a hat. These things got on my nerves. Surely, thought I, a religion that compelled one to eat beef, drink liquor, and change one's own clothes did not deserve the name. I also heard that the new convert had already begun abusing the religion of his ancestors, their customs and their country. All these things created in me a dislike for Christianity.
It is politically incorrect to point out these things, but we all know this is the truth. I don't hate any faith, but this kind of attitude is visible from those who proselytize and their vested interest groups.
To conclude, banning cow slaughter isn't unconstitutional.

Is banning beef unconstitutional in a secular country like India?