Debating cow-slaughter: The making of Article 48 in the Constituent Assembly of India

India Review, Taylor & Francis,


The present article examines the efforts of the Hindu conservatives at securing support for a law to ban cow-slaughter during the intervening years of India’s Independence. It also critically examines the debate on this question in the Constituent Assembly of India. Through this examination the article notes how the Hindu conservatives prepared the ground for a law against cow-slaughter even prior to the question being debated in the Constituent Assembly. Further, it argues that by an exclusive consideration of the views of the practitioners of conservative Hindu religion, whose ideology is based on a monolithic conception of Hinduism, over cow and conversely disregarding the others’ views, particularly of Islam on the same, the makers of the Constitution of India sought to impose a Hindu religious practice upon the non-believers of Hindu religion. The article also highlights the role of Ambedkar in the making of Article 48. The article is divided into three sections, wherein the first section looks at the Hindu conservatives’ attempts at securing support for a law against cow slaughter, the second and third sections analyze the debate over the question of cow-slaughter in the Constituent Assembly of India.