Friday, October 28, 2005

All Hindus Are Not Necessarily Vegetarian

My brother sent me this.... Actually, it kind of reminds me of something I saw on John Stewart last night, Hufu, a vegan product that tastes like human flesh.

Indian Documentary Exposes Cannibalism Among Secret Hindu Sect
BOMBAY, India -- A new Indian documentary focuses on a secretive sect of Hindu ascetics who eat corpses in the belief that ingesting dead flesh will make them ageless and give them supernatural powers.
"Feeding on the Dead," a 10-minute documentary, delves into the little-known world of the Aghori sect, whose holymen pluck dead bodies from the Ganges River in northern India.
While the sect has been written about, they've rarely been filmed performing rituals.
The director of the documentary said it took him more than three months to gain the trust of an Aghori and persuade him to be filmed while performing a cannibalistic ritual.
Hindus generally cremate the dead, but bodies are sometimes ceremonially disposed of in the Ganges, and the Aghori find the corpses they need in the river.


Jennifer said...

It also reminds me of an article I read (I may have blogged it) about the suspicion that mad cow disease originated from the shores of the Ganges and was brought to England by cattle feed manufacturers who bought rendered meats from there to supplement foods. Now I want to go back and read that article again to get the details.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and Hufu? Don't you wonder how the creators of it knew what human flesh tasted like?

Princess Pessimism said...

Oh My GOD....although, I cant say that its something I havent heard the Yanomami....or is it the Kung...or is it neither, ("Anthropology Jennifer", help me out!!!) where the young men perform oral sex on the elder men becuse they believe it passes the spirit and transmission of strength through the semen.

It makes sense if thats what you believe...then that's what you believe...Who are we to argue what's right and wrong?

Jennifer said...

Well Alex, I'd like to go with answer (C) neither!

It could be some other group but not the !Kung or the Yanomamo - although if someone else knows something I don't, feel free to weigh in.

I'd say that eating bloated floating human bodies is gross, and puts one at risk of disease - prion and otherwise, but I never said it was wrong. (I think eating grapefruit is gross, but I'd never stop any one else from doing it.) Totally aside from the prion thing, I wouldn't eat floating bloated Ganges beef or pork or chicken either.

I'm not making any value judgements, they should do whatever makes them happy, and what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own country is none of my business. As long as the people getting eaten were already dead ... what's the big deal.
In fact, even if I was going to impose Western Christian values on the whole thing, I can't recall any part of the ten commandments that says anything about not eating people.

paul said...

well, jenny, there is the commandment about not coveting your neighbour's ass. or are you suggesting that the israelites were such a bunch of ass-munchers that it had to be specified?

paul said...

oh, and on a grammatical point, you should be saying that "not all hindus are necessarily vegetarian." you've just slandered 800 000 people. I hope you're happy with yourself.

Jennifer said...

Yes Paul, you're right, it was the title that my brother put on his email to me on the subject, so you can blame him.
If he were to read this however, he'd probably point out to you that slander is spoken and libel is written, so in actuality, he libelled 800,000 people. Libel, big difference.

paul said...

so the fact that you move your lips when you read or type doesn't make a difference in the slander/libel distinction, jenny?

Princess Pessimism said...

Paul called you Jenny. LOL!

tokyo tintin said...

to princess pessimism, (and tut-tut to anthropologi jenni for not knowing --maybe we'll just have to throw her in the sumerian royal death pits of ur, iraq),

the oral sex guys are the sambia in papua new guinea.

Jennifer said...

Paul, that was so funny I laughed out loud!
TT, I can always count on you to come in with the obscure facts that have escaped my notice! I miss having your wacky info around so much! I thought of you when I was up the Eiffel tower a couple of weeks ago and on the inside of the third deck they have the names and flags of all the capitals in the world above the direction they are in and I thought about how much you'd love it. As for my public shaming as an anthropologist, I feel no shame for not knowing about the Sambia. Cultural Anthropology of that sort is not a science or even a worthwhile pursuit, unless you are interested in cocktail conversation material, it's a Victorian study of the "savagery" of others, it makes my skin crawl. If you have any questions regarding monkeys, apes, or bones - send 'em my way.

Princess Pessimism said...


How correct you are Lovely! It was actually weighing on my mid heavily enough to ask my Cultural Anth proffesor. But you were absolutely right.

It has been EONS since I have spoken to you, When is the next scheduled trop home?

Harish said...

HI there!

thank u so much for ur comments on feeding on the dead the 10 minute documentary based on cannibalism.

if ud require any information on the same we would love to help u with our expertise.


harish iyer
creative director

Harish said...

our email id is

Jennifer said...

Thanks Harish!

Px said...

is this wrong?
since reading this for something like the second or third time, i've got a song going round and round my head
yummy yummy yummy i've got love in my tummy and i feel like loving you

Anonymous said...

The connection between "Mad Cow" disease and cannibalism is not related to the Aghori sect. It is the subject of an excellent book on the Fore tribe of Papau New Guinea, a group that nearly eradicated itself via the practice of cannibalism which centered on eating the brains of the dead. At some point a variant of the CJD gene mutation occurred, and the people who ate the brains of the sick individual developed the disease but not until 20 or 30 (in some cases 40) years later and so until researchers could prove the connection between the practice of cannibalism and later getting the disease, members of the tribe attributed the afflication to other causes. The British did not need a foreign cause for the outbreak of CJ disease-- the prions that cause Mad Cow, or Scrapi in sheep, cause CJ in humans and can jump the species barrier. All it takes is eating the brains of a sick animal of any species and about 20 years ...