Adi Godrej speaks out against cow slaughter, liquor bans

Industry doyen Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, on Wednesday became the first industrialist to criticise the beef ban and prohibition imposed by some states.

Without touching on the moral implications, he said in an interview that these were simply bad for the economy.

Godrej told The Indian Express that a ban on beef affects agriculture and rural growth, and what happens to the extra cows, he asked. ''It is also affecting business because this was a good source of income for many farmers. So that's a negative,'' he said.

In Vedic times, he said, Indians were beef-eaters. ''There is nothing against beef in our religion. It is a practice that evolved over years of drought, and the elders said don't slaughter cows, preserve them for milk for children. That has turned into a religious belief. This is ridiculous. Vedic Indians were beef-eaters,'' Godrej said.

He appreciated the recent Bombay High Court judgement on the Beef ban which struck down criminal proceedings for the possession of beef in Maharashtra (See: Maharashtra to appeal HC order making beef legal).

While talking about prohibition of alcohol that has been recently put into place in certain states, Godrej said that the step was taken to win elections by getting women's votes, especially in Bihar and Kerala (Liquor stocks wilt as Bihar decides to go dry from 1 April).

''Prohibition is bad for the economy. It's bad for social structure, for drinking doesn't reduce. It gives rise to bad liquor, and then mafia,'' he said.

He said steps like these were normal in a democracy during elections. But, clever democratic leaders will make sure that the disadvantages are minimised and the advantages are maximised, he added.