Jhatka, or Jhataka or chatka (jhàṭkā IPA: [tʃə̀ʈkɑ]), is the meat from an animal killed instantaneously, such as by a single strike of a sword or axe to sever the head. This type of slaughter is preferred by Hindus and Sikhs. The animal must not be scared or shaken in any way before the slaughter.

Ram Dao - a decapitating sword of North India and Nepal used for jhatka


Jhatka (Hindi: झटका jhaṭkā IPA: [dʒʰəʈkɑ]; Bengali: ঝাটকা; Punjabi: ਝਟਕਾ (Gurmukhi), جھٹکا (Shahmukhi)) is derived from Sanskrit word Jhatiti (झटिति) which means "instantly, quickly, at once".[1][2]

Importance for HindusEdit

Jhatka slaughter is demanded by most Hindus who eat meat, as this is considered to provide a quick and painless death to the animal. Not all Hindus maintain the practice of eating meat butchered in this style and large percentage of them maintain vegetarian lifestyle.[3][4][self-published source]

Importance in SikhismEdit

Jamdhardh - a sword of North India and Nepal used for jhatka

Although not all Sikhs maintain the practice of eating meat butchered in this style, it is understood by most orthopraxic Sikhs to have been mandated by the tenth Guru:

According to the Sikh tradition, only such meat as is obtained from an animal which is killed with one stroke of the weapon causing instantaneous death is fit for human consumption. Guru Gobind Singh took a rather serious view of this aspect of the whole matter. He, therefore, while permitting flesh to be taken as food repudiated the whole theory of this expiatory sacrifice. Accordingly, he made jhatka meat obligatory for those Sikhs who may be interested in taking meat as a part of their food.

— HS Singha, Sikhism, A Complete Introduction[5]

As stated in the official Khalsa Code of Conduct, Kutha meat is forbidden, and Sikhs are recommended to eat the jhatka form of meat.[6][7]

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.[2] The Sikh Rahit Maryada forbids hair-cutting, adultery, the use of intoxicants, and the consumption of kutha meat.[8]

During the British Raj,the sikhs began to assert their right to slaughter through Jhatka.[3] When jhatka meat was not allowed in jails, and Sikh detained for their part in the Akali movement 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 by Sikhs.

On religious Sikh festivals, including Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi, at the Hazur Sahib Nanded, and many other Sikh Gurdwaras, jhatka meat is offered as "mahaprasad" to all visitors in a Gurdwara.[9][verification needed] This practice is considered to be unacceptable by mainstream sikhs as only lacto-vegetarian langar is supposed to be served inside gurudwaras.[citation needed]

Some Sikh organizations, such as the Damdami Taksal and Akhand Kirtani Jatha, have their own codes of conduct regarding meat consumption. These organizations define kutha meat as any type of slaughtered meat, and eating meat of any type is forbidden.[10]

Comparison with Kosher, Shechita and Halal methodsEdit

All three methods use sharp knives. In the Kosher, Shechita and Halal methods, the animal is slaughtered by one swift, uninterrupted cut severing the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins, and vagus nerves, followed by a period where the blood of the animal is drained out.[11][12] In the Jhatka method, a swift uninterrupted cut severs the head and the spine.[11][12] In both the Halal and Shechita methods, a prayer to God is required at the start of the slaughtering process. One prayer is sufficient if there isn't any interruption during Shechita of multiple animals in a single slaughtering session, but a separate prayer is required before every slaughter in Halal meat production.[12]


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.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ jhaTiti Sanskrit English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany; same definition is in Monier Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary and Apte Etymology and Dictionary
  2. ^ a b Paul Fieldhouse (2017). Food, Feasts, and Faith: An Encyclopedia of Food Culture in World Religions. ABC-CLIO. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1-61069-412-4., Quote: "Jhatka, which comes from the Sanskrit word jhatiti meaning "at once", is a method of slaughter in which a single rapid jerk or blow to the head is believed to produce the least amount of suffering for the animal. (...) Unlike in Islam, there is no religious ritual that accompanies the killing."
  3. ^ a b Skoda, Uwe; Lettmann, Birgit (October 30, 2017). India and Its Visual Cultures: Community, Class and Gender in a Symbolic Landscape. SAGE Publishing India. ISBN 9789386446695 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Chandar, Y. Udaya (2020-02-25). The Strange Compatriots for Over a Thousand Years. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-64760-859-0.
  5. ^ HS Singha (2009), Sikhism: A Complete Introduction, Hemkunt Press, ISBN 978-8170102458, pages 81-82
  6. ^ 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."
  7. ^ 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."
  8. ^ Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (2016). Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs. Taylor & Francis. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-1-351-90010-2.
  9. ^ "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
  10. ^ Spirit, Khalsa. "Khalsa Rehat". KhalsaSpirit.com. KhalsaSpirit.com. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  11. ^ a b Neville Gregory and Temple Grandin (2007), Animal Welfare and Meat Production, CABI, ISBN 978-1845932152, pages 207-208
  12. ^ a b c Amy J Fitzgerald (2015), Animals as Food, Michigan State University Press, ISBN 978-1611861747
  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