Beef was widely eaten in ancient Hindu India – conclusive proofs, as assessed by Sanjeev Sabhlok

Beef eating in Indus Valley Civilisation

Along with the vegetarian food items the people of Indus valley civilization also consumed meat that was evident from the fact that meat was included in the offerings made for the dead. With the excavation of number of artefacts like sling balls of clay, copper fish hooks, the arrow heads, the flying knives etc strongly prove that these were required to kill and rear animals and birds which were dressed with these instruments and included in their food items after cooking. Their food items as such included beef, mutton, pork and poultry products, the flesh of Gharial or crocodile, turtle and tortoise, flesh of fresh local fishes from nearby rivers and dried fish from sea coasts. The bones and shells in hard form has been found in and around the houses of the Indus valley civilization. [Source]

Archaeologists can tell what Indus Valley people ate by examining the teeth and bones of skeletons they discover. They also examine rubbish pits for animal bones, seafood shells, fruit seeds and other food remains for clues to their diet.  Indus people kept cattle, pigs, sheep and goats for food. Cows provided milk and meat. [BBC]

Meat came mainly from cattle, but the Harappans also kept chickens, buffaloes and some sheep and goats, and hunted a wide range of wildfowl and wild animals such as deer, antelopes and wild boar. They also ate fish and shellfish from the rivers, lakes and the sea; as well as being eaten fresh, many fish were dried or salted – many bones from marine fish such as jack and catfish were found at Harappa, far inland. [Source]

People of Indus Valley civilization were familiar with dogs, bulls, sheep, goats, buffaloes, horses, and elephants. They were also aware of a number of wild-game and animal products, such as milk, curd, ghee, and meat. Fish was their main animal food. These people were fond of mutton, beef, chicken, and meat of tortoise. [Source]  

The most comprehensive article is this one: Harappan settlement of Gola Dhoro: a reading from animal bones


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One thought on “Beef eating in Indus Valley Civilisation
  1. Jeyakumar Ramasami

    Dear Sir, 

    Indus seals show lot of animal sacrifices. These Indus sites are the places were animals were sacrificed. That is the reason unusually large amount of bones found in this place. The square Tablets A4,5,6,7,9 and 11 (Asko Parpola' book) shows the materials (substances) used in fire sacrifice.

    The materials are mamsa, and fourth quarter of an animal, tortoise and others. Fourth quarter of an animal may mean that, at the time of sacrifice , 1/4 th of the animal (One hind leg) will generally put in the fire and burnt as offering to gods. It is a Greek practice. The Indus sacrifice also might have been similar to that of Greek sacrifice. (Reference as given below)

    Tiger was the hundredth animal to be sacrificed in large Yagna.

    In copper tablets number C4a and C4b, it is written that "Bheemi-Paga" (Means terrible animal). Of Course, tiger is the terrible animal, the picture shown on the other side also looks like a face of a tiger. See the "mustache" like indication showing the "Whiskers" on the face of tiger, The "U" shape indicate the head out line of the animal. As said by Asko Parpola, the two projections on the side of head looks like "Ear Lobes" of the animal.

    (Reference as given below) —Bye —Jeyakumar Ramasami





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