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Jhatka or Chatka meat (Hindi झटका Hindustani pronunciation: [dʒʰəʈkɑ] jhaṭkā, Punjabi: ਝਟਕਾ Punjabi pronunciation: [tʃə̀ʈkɑ] chàṭkā, from Sanskrit ghātaka "killing") is meat from an animal that has been killed by a single strike of a sword or axe to sever the head, as opposed to ritualistically slow slaughter (kutha) like the Jewish slaughter (shechita) or Islamic slaughter (dhabihah).
Hindus and jhatka
Historically and currently, those Hindus who eat meat prescribe jhatka meat. This is a common method of slaughter when Bali Sacrifices are made to some Hindu deities, however, Vedic rituals such as Agnicayana involved the strangulation of sacrificial goats. Many Shaivite Hindus engage in jhatka methods as part of religious dietary laws, as influenced by some Shakta doctrines, which permit the consumption of meat (except beef, which is universally proscribed in Hinduism). During Durga Puja and Kali Puja among some Shaivite Hindus in Punjab, Mithila, Bengal and Kashmir, Jhatka meat is the required meat for those Shaivite Hindus who eat meat. In theory, most western methods of animal killings for the purpose of meat are done with an instant blow to the head which can be interpreted as ‘jhatka’ meat. This could make it acceptable for some practicing Hindus & Sikhs to classify bolt-gun killed animals as ‘jhatka’ meat.
Jhatka meat and Sikhs
Jhatka for Sikhs is the antithesis of ritual slaughter. As stated in the official Khalsa Code of Conduct, Kutha meat is forbidden, and Sikhs are recommended to eat the jhatka form of meat, as they do not believe that any ritual gives meat a spiritual virtue (ennobles the flesh).
For Sikhs jhatka karna or jhatkaund refers to the instantaneous severing of the head of an animal with a single stroke of any weapon, with the underlying intention of killing the animal whilst causing it minimal suffering.
During the British Raj, jhatka meat was not allowed in jails and Sikh detainees during the Akali movement and beyond had to resort to violence and agitations to secure this right. Among the terms in the settlement between the Akalis and the Muslim Unionist government in Punjab in 1942 was that jhatka meat be continued as a Sikh Martial Heritage.
Availability of jhatka meat
In India, there are many jhatka shops, with various bylaws requiring shops to display clearly that they sell jhatka meat.
In the past, there has been little availability of jhatka meat in the United Kingdom, so people have found themselves eating other types of meat, although jhatka has become more widely available in the United Kingdom.
On religious Sikh festivals, including Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi, at the Gurdwara of Hazur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and many other Sikh Gurdwaras, jhatka meat is offered as "mahaprasad" to all visitors in a Gurdwara. This is regarded as food blessed by the Guru and should not be refused.
Similar practice in Buddhism
- Ritual slaughter
- Diet In Hinduism
- Diet in Sikhism
- Dhabihah (Muslim method of ritual slaughter)
- Shechita (Jewish method of ritual slaughter)
- Legal aspects of ritual slaughter
- Kutha meat
- Bali Sacrifice
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- Singh, I. J., Sikhs and Sikhism ISBN 81-7304-058-3 And one Semitic practice clearly rejected in the Sikh code of conduct is eating flesh of an animal cooked in ritualistic manner; this would mean kosher and halal meat. The reason again does not lie in religious tenet but in the view that killing an animal with a prayer is not going to ennoble the flesh. No ritual, whoever conducts it, is going to do any good either to the animal or to the diner. Let man do what he must to assuage his hunger. If what he gets, he puts to good use and shares with the needy, then it is well used and well spent, otherwise not.
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