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  • Category: Kerala

    Some historical facts on Kerala: Your opinion is required

    In another social platform where I am active, there have been some very high-level discussions on the practice of beef-eating among the Malayali people. Some Leftist, Marx-leaning, educated intellectuals are giving various evidences which apparently prove that beef-eating is a long-standing practice in Kerala, irrespective of religion.

    I do not know history including Kerala's history. I read some books or papers on historical subjects and pose myself as a learned intellectual. But, frankly speaking, I avoid intellectuals.

    Now let us come to the basic issue of food practice in Kerala. I would like to point out three facts on this particular aspect below. These facts I have read very recently:-

    (a) The Nairs are considered a martial community in Kerala. All the armies of local Kings and Zamorin used to appoint Nairs as soldiers and high-ranking generals. These Nairs were required to take an oath in front of their kings to protect the Brahmins and the cows. Many kings like Zamorin also used to take oath to protect Brahmins, temples, and cows.

    (b) A Chinese traveller visiting the Malabar coast wrote that even Muslims did not eat cow meat. Hindu kings gave them land only if they agreed to not eat cows.

    (c) Kamal-ud-din Abdur Razzaq was an emissary of Shah of Persia to Vijayanagar empire. He visited Kozhikode on his way to Vijayanagar, and wrote the following about Kozhikode:-
    "The inhabitants of Calicut are adventurous sailors. They are known by the name Tchini Betchagan (sons of Chinese) and pirates do not dare to attack the vessels of Calicut. In this harbor, one may find everything that can be desired. One thing alone is forbidden, namely, to kill a cow, or to eat its flesh: whosoever should be discovered slaughtering or eating one of these animals would be immediately punished with death."
    [This is mentioned in Andre Wink's book: "Al-Hind: Making of Indo-Islamic World Volume 2: The Slave Kings and Islamic Conquest".]

    From the above three facts, the Marxist theory that the Malayalis are partaking beef since time immemorial, seems very doubtful. What do the knowledgeable members of ISC say in this regard?

    Should I challenge those Marxists on other platform? Please advise.
  • #756751
    Keralites have come a long way from the days of the Zamorins. They no longer dress like the way they used to during those days. The lifestyle, including the food habits, has changed. The question is not whether they used to eat beef in the past, the question is whether they relish beef at the present. I don't think the liking for beef by Malayalis has anything to do with Marxism or liberal or intellectual concepts. It is just that they enjoy eating beef. And for that matter, even paratha was never part of Kerala menu. It evolved as a favourite dish over a period of time. And, being a free democracy, I think one can choose to eat what he likes.

    If we are to go back in time and choose to live that way, many things, including the way we dress, the way we eat, the way we behave and so many other things will have to be refreshed and rewritten.

    Let us not go back to the bullock cart days or may be even back to the stone age. Let us live in the present and be what we are. Let Malayalis savour the delicacy of beef with paratha. It is not a political decision, it is purely an individual decision of citizens in a free nation.

    "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." -Robert Frost

  • #756762
    1. After time immemorial, it seems that Saji Sir agrees with me.
    2. In the other platform, some intellectuals from Kerala are arguing that Malayalis are partaking beef for a very very long time.
    3. Some Keralites are vehemently objecting to this theory.
    4. I have found some interesting historical writings which indicate that the beef-eating habit of Keralites is a recent phenomenon. Maybe this habit developed after Moplah (Mapillah) barbarism and consequent Marxist influence in Kerala (my interpretation).
    5. Now Saji Sir also states that the beef-eating habit of Malayalis has developed comparatively recently.

    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #757775
    The eating habits will be changing over a period of time and that all depends on the likes of the individual. I know a Tamil Brahmin. His wife is very orthodox and never eats even onions also. But this person is very much fond of fish and chicken. But he can't tell his wife. So in the house, he consumes whatever his wife gives but when he comes out for business trips his every meal will contain fish and chicken.
    I don't know much about the food habits of Keralites. But in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, many Hindus are against consuming beef. They avoid them and they never like to kill a cow. Many of the people in these two states worship cows and these days we see many Cow care centres and people donating money for their food and other requirements.

    always confident

  • #757777
    Beef eating by Malayalees may be negligible as claimed by the author it is not everyone. We have Malayalee friends and they share their preparations with others of the colony and they are more fond of fish and whenever they prepare the same they would share with them. We being brahmin, they do not share with us anything. But I am sure, they are not eating the beef but fish items for sure. But the Kerala govt is against the Hindu culture, and may be felicitating the beef eating in the recent past. Kerala also has the strong Hindu outfits and if they know that beef is being eaten clandestinely, that would be stopped. Cow is the sacred animal and should not be slaughtered but the well educated Kerala people also have the passion to live on their terms and thus for them ban or whatsoever may not matter at all.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #757781
    I am not sure how the author concluded that I am in agreement with him but, anyway, would like to clarify that eating habits of a society or community is best to be left to their choice instead of trying to paint it with politics or religion.

    Please note that beef has been part of Keralite cuisine since many years.

    "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." -Robert Frost

  • #757790
    This is not politics or religion. An academic/historical debate is going on in another platform. The topic is: Beef-eating habit of the Malayalis is a comparatively recent phenomenon or is a very old tradition.
    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

  • #757820
    Partha, I am not concerned about discussions in other platforms, be it academic or historical. Whether Keralites are used to eating beef should not be a query that should be worrying you or people with similar thoughts. Malayalis do eat Shawarma, KFC, Alphalm and so many other dishes that are new to them. Why be worried about beef only?
    "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." -Robert Frost

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