Pa. Ranjith’s statement about eating cows cannot be defended at all. Hindus worship everything in nature. That doesn’t mean that they cannot eat what they worship. Nammalwar’s famous verse உண்ணும் சோறும் பருகும் நீரும் தின்னும் வெற்றிலையெல்லாம் கண்ணன் emphasizes this point. God is food. Food is God.
Long ago, Jinnah had told a journalist that Hindu and Muslim cultures and civilizations were poles apart. He said that Hindus worshipped cows while Muslims ate them. It was this idea which led to Pakistan and to the unending suffering of the Muslims who stayed in India.
Ranjith’s statement is remarkably similar to Jinnah’s in its sinister content. Ultimately, the sufferers will be the Dalits. The tragedy is, unlike the Muslims, an overwhelming majority of Dalits consider themselves Hindus.
The more such statements are made by Dalit worthies, the more will be their alienation from millions and millions of secular Hindus who stand in solidarity with them. In effect, they are helping the Hindutva forces, exactly like Mayavati is doing in Uttar Pradesh.