An NGO known as the Sattvik Council of India has introduced that it has tied up with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Company (IRCTC) for awarding “sattvik” certificates to some trains, particularly these serving pilgrim spots and spiritual locations. Apparently, the IRCTC desires to make these trains 100 per cent vegetarian in all respects, and the mentioned certificates are supposed to ensure their righteous and morally pure (therefore, sattvik) standing.
Although the IRCTC itself has not issued any assertion to this impact as but, the plan doesn’t sound implausible, given the frequency and ferocity with which meat-eating has been opposed — and vegetarianism superior — in current days. Final week municipal our bodies in Rajkot, Vadodara and Junagarh in Gujarat issued orders to remove all roadside carts selling non-vegetarian food until stored “correctly coated”. The rationale cited was that the sight of meat, fish, poultry and eggs offended spiritual sentiments and that the carts have been inflicting visitors snarls. (‘Visitors snarls’ have develop into a useful pretext for banning this or that — the permission to carry Friday namaz in a number of areas of Gurugram in BJP-ruled Haryana has been cancelled ostensibly as a result of they have been a severe obstacle to the move of visitors.)
It isn’t simply Rajkot, Vadodara and Junagarh which have launched a campaign in opposition to the sale of non-veg meals. Shut on their heels, the Ahmedabad Municipal Fee income committee chairman, Jainik Vakil, wrote to the municipal commissioner, urging related prohibitory orders in the city. “Maintaining in thoughts Gujarat’s identification and Karnavati (Ahmedabad) metropolis’s cultural custom, you will need to instantly clear encroachment by illegally proliferating non-vegetarian meals carts on metropolis’s public roads…” he mentioned within the letter.
The query is, can one particular person or group’s thought of a state’s identification and tradition be uniformly utilized to the extremely numerous physique of people that make up this land? Can that concept be imposed on those that could subscribe to a totally completely different set of cultural values and dietary habits, and which they’ve a proper to practise by advantage of the truth that India is a democracy that enshrines one’s freedom of alternative in such issues?
In line with the Authorities of India’s Pattern Registration System Baseline Survey 2014, as a lot as 71 per cent of Indians eat non-vegetarian meals. In different phrases, strict vegetarians are a minority on this nation. And but, states dominated by the Hindu nationalist BJP have been main a cost in opposition to meat-eaters and attempting to painting non-vegetarianism as unclean and in opposition to Indian tradition.
Earlier this 12 months, the Municipal Fee of Gurugram, a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis, banned the sale of meat on Tuesdays, apparently in deference to Hindu sentiments. It additionally authorised the proposal to double the licence payment for meat outlets from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. Many states direct meat outlets to remain shut throughout Hindu festivals like Navaratri. Not content material with outlawing cow slaughter and the sale of beef, BJP-ruled states have been whipping up a visceral hatred in direction of meat itself, which is probably why the as soon as quite a few biryani outlets in Gurugram have dwindled in current occasions. Thuggish right-wing teams are likely to lynch first (on suspicion that the biryani comprises beef) and take a look at the meat later.
The repeated makes an attempt to demonise non-vegetarianism — a BJP chief in Madhya Pradesh had as soon as declared that youngsters would flip into cannibals in the event that they got eggs of their mid-day meals — and mission it as anti-Hindu and opposite to Indian tradition are, after all, a brazen distortion of information, since meat-eaters outnumber, and, little doubt, have at all times outnumbered, the abstainers by an enormous margin.
The concept that a vegetarian weight-reduction plan is pure and morally superior is a slim, Brahminical assemble. Therefore, figuring out it with Indian tradition normally, and Hinduism specifically, whereas carrying on an more and more militant marketing campaign in opposition to the consumption and sale of meat, is absolutely forcing the need of some down the throats of hundreds of thousands. It strikes on the coronary heart of India’s vigorous cultural variety and propagates the damaging notion that there’s just one “proper” form of Indian — somebody who conforms to the attributes of tradition as laid down by the state.
And this ties in with the rising pattern of clamping down on private liberties and freedom of alternative that we’re witnessing in each sphere of Indian society as we speak. The hassle to dictate what we eat isn’t any completely different from the hassle to manage what we put on, whom we love, what we learn, what we are saying or write, and so forth. It’s all a part of a concerted try to codify, because it have been, a inflexible, monolithic thought of Indian tradition, which, by definition, is non-inclusive, anti-liberal, and a monstrous distortion of the spirit of the Structure.
The rule of the mob, which have develop into violent flag-bearers of this tradition warfare, is just a brief step from right here. On Monday, members of the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu right-wing group, set hearth to Congress chief Salman Khurshid’s home in Nainital to punish him for having drawn a parallel between Hindu extremism and Islamic terror. And that is only one instance of the innumerable situations of vicious cultural vigilantism that we now have witnessed in the previous couple of years.
The hallmark of recent society is openness. It’s about letting in and being tolerant of numerous influences, concepts and inclinations and turning into enriched by them. The obsession with racial purity in Germany within the Nineteen Thirties led to the human disaster known as the Holocaust. We must wait and see the place a perverted imaginative and prescient of India’s “cultural purity” takes us.
(Shuma Raha is a journalist and creator)
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the creator’s personal. They don’t essentially mirror the views of DH.