Biryani war mixes religion and cow vigilantes

biriyaniIn Haryana the legendary biryani, famous around the world, has found itself in the middle of a war.

Police there are collecting samples from homes and shops to check if the meat in the dish is beef. Biryani unlike other Indian favourites has Muslim roots. It has come to the sub-continent centuries ago via the Mughals.

One restaurant owner in Kolkata says ‘perhaps the mix made it perfect to feed an army on the march’.

While Biryani with beef is not common in India, Muslims eat beef. Hindus do not eat beef because cows are sacred in their religion.

Cow slaughter is illegal in Haryana and in 2015 the state government passed a law that punishes the slaughter of cows with up to 10 years in prison. Over 20 Indian states forbid either cow slaughter or beef eating or both. As a result beef is eaten by Muslims and Christians and lower-caste Hindus. Most of the biryani sold in India is goat.

India has seen an increase in cow vigilantism. The beef hunt is also affecting the Dalits.

The Prime Minister said states should take stern action against vigilantism. In Haryana the latest raids are making biryani lovers nervous, but elsewhere in India biryani lovers remain unperturbed.