Advertisement

Home / Opinion / Fleshed out: Editorial on BJP's aversion towards meat

Fleshed out: Editorial on BJP's aversion towards meat

The party's efforts to establish the saffron presence on every Indian’s daily platter may be part of its programme to control people’s lives in every sphere
The data presented by the National Family Health Survey-5 showed that in over half of the 30 states and Union Territories studied, more than 90 per cent of the people had fish, chicken or meat daily, weekly or occasionally.
The data presented by the National Family Health Survey-5 showed that in over half of the 30 states and Union Territories studied, more than 90 per cent of the people had fish, chicken or meat daily, weekly or occasionally.
File picture

The Editorial Board   |   Published 10.05.22, 02:07 AM

Facts have an irritating persistence. Ignoring them does not help; they keep popping up. Here was the Bharatiya Janata Party and its brotherhood shutting down meat and fish shops during Navratri in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and even Delhi because of their unswerving belief that most Indians are vegetarian and detest ‘impure’ non-vegetarian food. Karnataka and Gujarat had experienced such ‘cleansing’ drives as well. But data presented by the National Family Health Survey-5 showed that in over half of the 30 states and Union Territories studied, more than 90 per cent of the people had fish, chicken or meat daily, weekly or occasionally. More than 50 per cent inclined this way in 25 states and UTs but worse, in no state or UT was the figure less than 20 per cent. That is rather a big field for the Hindutva brigade to ‘cleanse’. In a country where two out of three people prefer fish and flesh, it is more than a little silly to force, for example, the closure of meat shops near Durga Puja venues in Delhi. Durga Puja, like all other religious events, has its own customary schedule of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. It is amazing how ignorant of religious customs religion-mongers can be.

The BJP’s efforts to establish the saffron presence on every Indian’s daily platter may be part of its programme to control people’s lives in every sphere. But the animosity towards meat is rooted in its distrust of other communities: its desire to exclude. Vegetarianism becomes one of the markers of a ‘Hindu’ country, based on the mistaken belief in the ‘pure’ diet of ancient India. The model, though, is taken from the diet of particular north Indian castes, and of dairy-based populations. But it is not just the food of other communities that the BJP wishes to exclude but that of certain castes as well, although it is less articulate about that. The Hindu rashtra is to be exclusive in more ways than one. But the people of this huge country cannot eat to order. It is not merely a question of preference but also of traditional sources of nutrition and ease of access, just as much as it is a matter of religious belief. And that, whatever Hindutva might claim, is not homogenous in practice. It is refreshingly various. 



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.