Porcupines, beef, and Horses
KJKARTTU at Elo.Helsinki.fi
Wed Feb 26 14:58:43 EST 1997
I was two weeks away from my Department (no holiday, but intensive work
with no time for such things as e-mail) and on Monday I scanned through
no less than 151 messages without stopping to comment them. On a second
thought, however, I would like to add a few comments.
1. During the long discussion about beef-eating in the Vedas somebody
suggested that certainly porcupines were not commonly eaten. However, it
seems possible that they were. The red or Indian porcupine (Hystrix
indica; Sanskrit Zallaka, Zalyaka) is a large animal, weighing 11-18 kg,
and according to S. H. Prater (The book of Indian animals. Rev. 3rd ed.,
Bombay 1971) it is "much appreciated as food by local people". For
ancient times see Lueders, "Eine indische Speiseregel", ZDMG 61, 1907,
641-644, who also shows that the animal in question is porcupine and not
2. Beef-eating in ancient (though not Vedic) India is also discussed by
Aparna Chattopadhyay, "A Note on Beef-Eating in Mauryan Times",
Indo-Asian Culture 17:2, 1968, 49-51 (with an orthodox Hindu rejoinder
by J. N. Sharma, ib. 18:1, 1969, 65-68).
3. Another question concerned the supposed difficulty of breeding good
horses in India. It has been claimed that the AZvaZAstra texts (two,
Jayadatta's AZvavaidyaka and Nakula's AZvacikitsita, have been edited in
the Bibliotheca Indica in 1887, and an AZvaZAstra in Tanjore S. M.
Series) a diet of rice is recommended for horses, but that this suits
not at all for breeding good horses. However, P. K. Gode, Collected
Studies 1, contains several articles about other kinds of horse food
used in ancient India. Further references this far not mentioned
Devisingh Chandra, "Arab Horses in India", ABORI 48-49, 1968, 391-394.
S. D. Dogra, "Horse in ancient India", JOIB 23, 1973-74.
Harry Falk, "Das Reitpferd im Vedischen Indien", Die Indogermanen und
das Pferd. Archaeolingua 7. Budapest 1994, 91-101.
Chitrarekha Gupta, "Horsetrade in North India: Some reections on
socio-economic life", JAIH 14, 1984, 186-206.
Lawrence S. Leshnik, "The Horse in India", F._C. Southworth (ed.), The
Ecology of Man and Animal in South Asia. Philadelphia 1978, 56f.
L. Sternbach, Review of Gode's Horse studies in Collected Studies 1,
JAOS 82, 1962, 225-229.
Mario Vallauri, "L'ippiatria indiana", Rivista di storia delle Scienze
Mediche e Naturali 12, 1921.
I have not read all of them and cannot thus guarantee their value.
More information about the INDOLOGY