The colony kids were playing in the park when some neighbours’ 7 to 9-year-olds came up to where the moms were strolling and chatting and asked the last question any of us expected from the little ones:
“Momma! Why are people fighting about beef?"
As the moms looked at each other, wondering what to say to the kids, some of the older kids and teenagers overheard them and came up. Soon a hot discussion was in progress, with opinions and claims flying all over the place. When the hullaballoo finally subsided (in about an hour), this is how we dealt with the kids’ questions about the topic that has everyone tied up in knots.
1. The Right to Make Choices
We live in a free country and everyone has the right to eat and wear whatever they want. But many people in our country want to stop other people from eating beef, which is the meat of cows. They feel that cows are holy animals in their religion, so no one should be allowed to kill them.?
2. Religion and Livelihoods
The people from other religions, who like to eat beef, don't like this. They feel that others have no right to force their will on them. Also, a lot of people make their living by selling beef or exporting it to other countries. All over the world people like to eat hamburgers and steaks, which are usually made from beef. India is one of the largest exporters of beef in the world. If cows are not allowed to be killed, many, many people in the country will face a lot of problems in earning their living.
3. Bullying and Misuse of Power
Many people in this world want others to do what they say—not just parents, teachers, policemen and leaders—even a newborn baby wants everything to happen the way he wants. But the world cannot work like that because different people want different things. However, if a person or a group of people become powerful, because of money, or leadership, or physical strength, they usually try to misuse their power and force the people under their control to do the things they want.
In the same way, a large number of people who have all kinds of power in our country today worship cows. So, they feel that no one should be allowed to kill and eat cows. When other people, who don’t worship cows, don’t listen to them, they try to bully them by making things difficult for them.
4. It’s Present Everywhere in Different Forms
Bullying because of power happens all over the world, not just in our country. In olden times, powerful kingdoms used to conquer weaker kingdoms. Even nowadays, powerful nations dominate over weaker nations. Followers of different religions try to force their beliefs on followers of other religions. For example, look at Syria, Nigeria, and the Taliban. Some want to kill followers of other religions, some want to stop girls from studying, some want to stop people from making progress and force them to follow old customs. Even in school playgrounds, there is usually a group of dominating kids who bully the smaller kids into obeying them.?
5. It Is WRONG to Force Others
However, just because everyone else is doing something, it does not become the right thing to do. Just imagine, if I were in power, and forced everyone around me to eat only one kind of food, wear only one kind of clothes, or watch only one television program—what would happen? Everyone would get angry about it because everyone wants to make their own choices.
So, it is WRONG to try and force your thoughts and choices on others.
6. Behave Towards Others as You Want Others to Behave Towards You
Whenever we deal with others, we should think about how we would feel if they behaved like that towards us. All the religions and all the great leaders of the world have said this: “Do to others what you want them to do to you”. If we really want people to respect and like us, we should first respect them, their thoughts and their choices.
7. Peace And Happiness Through Tolerance
All around us the world is in a state of confusion and destruction. This is primary because people have forgotten how to live with tolerance towards each other. Everyone wants to force their own way on other people. As a result, there is more and more hatred in the world instead of love.
Only when we love everyone and behave with tolerance and respect towards each other, can there be peace and happiness in the world!