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Jhatka or Chatka meat (Hindi: झटका, IPA: dʒʰəʈkɑ jhaṭkā, Punjabi: ਝਟਕਾ (Gurmukhi), جھٹکا (Shahmukhi); IPA: 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). It is the method preferred by many Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians.[1]

Hindus and jhatka[edit]

Historically and currently,[2] Hindus prescribe jhatka meat.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Sikhs and jhatka[edit]

Jhatka for Sikhs is the antithesis[6][7] of ritual slaughter. As stated in the official Khalsa Code of Conduct,[8] 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).[9][10]

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.

On religious Sikh festivals, including Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi, at the Gurdwara of Hazur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and many other Sikh Gurdwaras,[11] 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.

Buddhists and jhatka[edit]

In Mongolian culture, it is traditional to say Om mani padme hum into the ear of the animal before slaughtering it as instantly as possible .[citation needed]

Christians and jhatka[edit]

In terms of slaughtering animals for food, the method of jhatka (with a single strike to minimize pain) is preferred by many Christians,[1] although the Armenian Apostolic Church, among other Orthodox Christians, have rituals that "display obvious links with shechitah, Jewish kosher slaughter."[12]

Availability of jhatka meat[edit]

In India, there are many jhatka shops, with various bylaws requiring shops to display clearly that they sell jhatka meat.[13]

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,[14] although jhatka has become more widely available in the United Kingdom.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Engineers, Niir Board Of Consultants & (2009). Medical, Municipal and Plastic Waste Management Handbook (in English). National Institute of Industrial Research. p. 214. ISBN 9788186623916. "Halal is the method preferred by Muslims and jhatka by the Hindus/Christians/Sikhs, etc." 
  2. ^ "The Hindu : Sci Tech / Speaking Of Science : Changes in the Indian menu over the ages". Hinduonnet.com. 2004-10-21. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  3. ^ Das, Veena (13 February 2003). The Oxford India companion to sociology and social anthropology, Volume 1 1. OUP India. p. 151. ISBN 0-19-564582-0. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Nripendr Kumar Dutt (4 November 2008). Origin and Growth of Caste in India (C. BC. 2000-300). Unknown. p. 195. ISBN 1-4437-3590-6. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Jhatka, the Forgotten Meat. What is it?
  6. ^ Jhatka, The Sikh Encyclopedia
  7. ^ What is Jhatka Meat and Why?
  8. ^ 10 Misconception Regarding Sikhs
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Mini Encyclopaedia of Sikhism by H.S. Singha, Hemkunt Press, Delhi. ISBN 81-7010-200-6 The practice of the Gurus is uncertain. Guru Nanak seems to have eaten venison or goat, depending upon different Janamsakhi versions of a meal which he cooked at Kurukshetra which evoked the criticism of Brahmins. Guru Amardas ate only rice and lentils but this abstention cannot be regarded as evidence of vegetarianism, only of simple living. Guru Gobind Singh also permitted the eating of meat but he prescribed that it should be jhatka meat and not Halal meat that is jagged in the Muslim fashion.
  11. ^ "The most special occasion of the Chhauni is the festival of Diwali which is celebrated for ten days. This is the only Sikh shrine at Amritsar where Maha Prasad (meat) is served on special occasions in Langar", The Sikh review, Volume 35, Issue 409 - Volume 36, Issue 420, Sikh Cultural Centre, 1988
  12. ^ Grumett, David; Muers, Rachel (26 February 2010). Theology on the Menu: Asceticism, Meat and Christian Diet (in English). Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 9781135188320. "The Armenian and other Orthodox rituals of slaughter display obvious links with shechitah, Jewish kosher slaughter." 
  13. ^ Order No. Tax/F.15(25)DLB/63 Published in the Govt. Gazette on 13-02-1965 (Part 6)
  14. ^ Sikh women in England: their religious and cultural beliefs and social practices By S. K. Rait, p. 63 Trentham Books, 2005 ISBN 1-85856-353-4
  15. ^ Food safety and quality assurance: foods of animal origin By William T. Hubbert, Page 254 Wiley-Blackwell, 1996 ISBN 0-8138-0714-X

External links[edit]

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The Hindu

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:28:12 -0700

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Indian Express

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