Guru wars, holy cows – and beef sans slaughter!

My friend Sharad Bailur posted a link to Sanskriti Megaguru Devdutt Pattnaik’s long and rather involved piece on Gau Mata and the raging beef ban controversy. It looked at cow slaughter from the perspective of ‘Dharma’.

Cows apparently have four bellies to digest what they ingest. I wished I had four brains in tandem to chew the cud on that piece, which I thought was all over the paddock like an untethered cow, ever vary of a lurking bull in heat nearby.

And a lurking bull there indeed was – in fact a raging one – in the form of an item in the ‘related links’ box in the newsfeed: “Rajiv Malhotra exposes Devdutt Pattnaik for plagiarising and distorting his work.”

Aha! Not wanting to ruminate on Pattnaik’s paddock until the cows come home, I clicked on what looked like a far juicier link to the Sanskriti Gigaguru’s rant. And I wasn’t disappointed. The grass was much greener on the other side of this link.

Gigaguru all but slaughters Megaguru in this four-and-a-half minute YouTube diatribe. Accusations of plagiarism, distortion and what have you fly thicker and faster than arrows in a Ramanand Sagar Pauranic serial.

In a tone and style that’s far from guru-esque, Gigaguru goes on to say that when confronted, Megaguru tamely admitted to grazing on his turf and then regurgitating it elsewhere without so much as even ruminating on it to give it a scholarly spin.

Also, Gigaguru’s big beef is that Megaguru uses the word ‘myth’ as in ‘mythology’ in much of his commentaries on Bharatiyata. Myth, as we know, comes from the Sanskrit ‘Mithya’, meaning much the same. But Gigaguru and much of Bharat’s new political dispensation decree that it would be mythical to describe anything Bharatiya as myth, because much in it is Itihasa or history, according to them.

Why split hairs with such labeling? Our Bharatiyata is unique. It’s fuzzy, like life itself. Nothing is black and white. Its grey – many, many shades of grey. So, while no one can agree on even an approximate date when it might have happened, or if it happened at all, the event when Rama’s foot touched a rock and liberated a petrified Ahalya is still celebrated annually in a village in central India.

That’s just one example. India’s landscape is strewn with places with mythohistorical flavour (for want of a better word). It’s like no other culture anywhere else. So why hair-split over labeling elements of it as either history or mythology? Bharatiyata defies such classification. Why not simply celebrate that uniqueness!

This week, Sharad Bailur also posted a link about an affordable lab-grown beef patty in the early stages of readiness for the commercial market. Wonder what the Gaurakshaks, Halalists and Kosherists will think about it. But as any neo-Shastri will tell you, cloning and stem cell technology were well known in Prachin Bharat – the Kaurava siblings were raised in a hundred petri dishes.

Thanks, Sharad Bailur. What would I do without you posting all those interesting links? Someday, I’d like to treat you to a lab grown beef burger. I know you’d gau for it!

©2015 Dev Nadkarni