[Reader-list] Re: slaughterhouse research

ritika at sarai.net ritika at sarai.net
Thu Jun 17 01:07:11 IST 2004

Dear Rustam,

Apologies for delay in replying. Just got caught up. Thanx for a
thoughtful reply to my work.

> I don't think any newbie wanting to do some environment related work
will not be scanning through DTE. I have definitely read the article and
had also gotten in touch with Nidhi (who had written the article).

>>Well, the work began with the my understanding (which i must admit was
cursory)of the notion of 'cleanliness and associated perception of
nuisance', however, as u have also pointed out, my thought process was
getting very predicatable.
That is - in your words: Brahiminism (higher;vegetarian;holy) v Dalit
So as of now i don't really know what all am i going to say with the
material that i have generated.

>>>I am reading kancha Illaiya's work and will write soon about it on my
blog as well.

>>>> Regarding your suggestion on tracing the ecological footprints of
Delhi's meat consumption: must admit that i had been thinking on the
same lines, but was a bit apprehensive of whether it would be worth
it. But Thanx for putting my thinking on track....:)

>>>>>I have been thinking of having some long interviews with almost all
types of people who are involved with this trade.

Will keep everybody on the list posted,


Dear Ritika,
> Have been reading some of your mails on your Slaughter
> House Mails on the Sarai list.
> I am Rustam Vania. I work for the Centre for Science
> and Environment, based in Bangalore.
> Some thoughts and ideas based on your work:
> 1. I guess you must have seen the report in Down To
> Earth - Aug 15/2003, on slaughter houses in Aligarh.
> 2. I was wondering if you were looking at the issue of
> being 'clean/unclean' in the context of Caste and the
> spatial aspect of settlements.
> Brahiminism (higher;vegetarian;holy) v Dalit
> (lower;non-veg;untouchable). Most of the lower castes,
> some kshatriyas and non-hindus (muslims, christians,
> parsees, Sikhs) are the ones who deal with the
> production and trade of animal and animal parts.
> There is an interesting account of Markets and Economy
> of a village by Kanchan Illaiah in his book 'Why am I
> not a Hindu'.
> 3. Though 'factory farming' is yet to arrive in the
> manner it is practised in the developed world..but we
> are getting there. In the context of the book
> 'Nature's Metropolis – Chicago and the Great West' it
> would be fascinating to look at the ecological
> footprint of the meat demand of a city like Delhi on
> hinterland..say for example on the productive
> grasslands of arid rajasthan..tracing 'animal routes'
> to the city. Western India has had a very productive
> and intensive animal husbandry economy thanks to its
> unique arid grassland ecology.
> 4. Point number 2 is usually disscussed passionately
> by advocates of vegetarianism and new age right wing
> saffronised/sanskritised NRI 'greenies' , ignoring the
> landless lower castes (rural producers), while point
> number 3 is used by the the animal welfarists to
> oppose meat eating on the grounds of ethics and
> morality.
> The truth lies somewhere in between and cannot be
> reduced to such simplistic notions of right and wrong.
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