By Vijay Sanghvi/ Taazakhabar News Exclusive
Scientists are still debating whether man settled down first and then learnt how to grow crops or learnt the art of agriculture as accidentally as he learnt to use fire for cooking and then decided to give up nomadic life and settle down where water was available. But there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that even at that time cattle wealth was the only demonstrative symbol of opulence.
The need for food made men to adopt less risk ways of gathering foods from forests. But this did not meet man’s energy needs. So he had to go in for hunting, a risky operation that needed team work. But it also led to guilt complex too that they had to kill another life to satisfy their own hunger.
Several psychologists who have done extensive research feel that the feasts that followed a big hunting game was the first signs of social bonding through food. The successful hunters invited their friends and social acquaintance to share food. The hunted animal would be mounted on two poles with a bar pierced through its body. Ends of bar through the animal body were placed in loops of rope tied to poles. Huge fire was built under the animal to roast it slowly. While animal was roasted, may be others were engaged in bouts of drinking or sharing their days like it happens in recent times. Only difference would be food would come in different kinds between now and then.
The family did not feel guilty as it had shared the game with the Kabila, large clan or village. There was a period during when humans would roast meat without adding spices.
It continued till men learnt art of making earthen vessels that could be used for cooking purpose. The invention of cooking pot enabled men to use water for the first time nearly twelve thousands years ago.
Feasts were not always to partake meat of hunted animals only but there may be other social occasions as well when tamed cattle was used for meals but method was same as now of barbeque, the open air roasting of meat. Now meat is marinated before hand to make it more delicious. In New Orleans, the Southern state in America, food joints offer whole pig roasted as food. They are popular joints as they serve delicious pig meat, roasted without addition of any spices. Other southern states also have roasted pig but they add few spices in tomato sauce before roasting.
There is no bar to Christians eating pig meat as ham, sausage or pork as there are prohibitions prescribed in Judaism and Islam for different religious reasons. Pig is the only four legged animals that are unable to derive necessary energy from greens as other animals can, the digestive machinery within pigs and other animals are different. So are also different their jaws and teeth. Pigs compete with humans for cereals and grains. In desert regions of the Middle East they would have been responsible for food shortages. Hence it was declared as sacrilege to keep pig or eat its flesh.
Pig is also different kind of species due to its inability to adjust its body temperature according to need of external temperature as all other species can. That made it unpalatable for Jews. Pigs were absent from the South American sub continent till the 16 the century when the Portuguesa’s and invaders carried with them to allow uncontrolled expansion of pig population. Before invaders came, Inca civilization did not have animals that could provide food. Their lands were on hilly slopes of Andes ranges with very low productivity. It did not provide them enough food for their protein needs. Hence they had adopted the festivals of human sacrifices so that common masses could consume human flesh, the most protein rich flesh in compassion to all other animal flesh. They had turned it into a religious festival where few young men were made to offer their throbbing hearts to the sun god. Later their dead bodies were rolled down the huge stairs for common masses waiting for bodies of sacrificed young so that they can have their meals. These are recorded histories penned in book with title “Politics of Cannibalism.” Only after the invaders brought pigs and were multiplying them as food, the practices of human sacrifices were abandoned.
But more relevant reason for ceasing the practice was the large scale death of natives of Inca civilization not due to bullets of their guns or cannon balls of the invaders but due to germs of diseases they had carried with them from Europe. These diseases were not known or prevalent in South American region. Diseases like plague and small pox took a huge toll of human population ending the need for human sacrifices for food. Jared Diamond has given details of the massacres in most of the South American populations after the arrival of invaders from Europe in his book Guns, Germs and Steel.
Europeans, particularly missionaries from Europe who wandered off to different tribes in Africa for their mission of spreading Christianity have come back with horror tells of practice of cannibalism among several tribes. But they failed to point out that these tribes did not eat human flesh of their own tribes’ people. Their human flesh consumption was confined to strangers who wandered off into their territory and thus were symbols of security of their tribes. This practice is also prevalent among all animal species as Robert Ardrey recorded in his trilogy African Genesis, Territorial Imperative and Social Contract. His three books are based on scholarly research he carried out in Africa. He noticed that animals fight for the prime position in their horde. They may inflict injuries to draw blood but never kill. All carnivores hunt animals of other species and do not go in for kills of their own species members.
Only humans who carved out a different and unique niche in the universe among all species by learning and acquiring ability to cook their food can kill and do kill members of their species even on slightest provocation.