Food Fascism is Increasing the Already Deep Rift in our Society
Some hundred followers of a Meerut-based Godman, took out a procession in Kandivali yesterday, condemning meat eaters to hell. This divide, quoting a cultural difference is not only disheartening, it makes us wonder, how a country united by its love for food, is now at loggerheads on the basis of gastronomic preference.
Butter chicken and roti sabzi have always found a way to co-exist
For a long time, vegetarians and non vegetarians have co-existed in this country. Vegetable markets and fish markets have cohabited in the same vicinity, with each one of us concentrating on what’s on our plate. In fact, it is a matter of pride for us that Indian cuisine caters both veg and non veg food with so much variety at hand. From no onion-garlic to hard-core non vegetarians, the tandoors, the deghchis and steamers of this country serve to every palate, without offending those with a strict diet.
Our love for food binds us beyond our political and religious beliefs. Therefore, it is essential that we keep this bond intact. This increasing trend of food fascism may end up closing the doors to resolve our differences.
Hell would be a crowded place
According to Sample Registration System Baseline Survey 2014, 70 percent of the Indian population eats non-vegetarian food.
Yet the cultural perception around the world is that the majority of Indians are vegetarians. It is this perception that has led many people to assume that India is a vegetarian country and created a stigma around eating meat.
Another argument most commonly given out to non veg eaters, is that of animal cruelty. Killing animals for consumption, especially when we have vegetarianism as an option, is considered a sin.
Sure, let’s give up eating fried chicken because we can survive without killing a rooster. But will these people be willing to giving up their leather wallets, belts, shoes, and other accessories? As an extension of that argument, then we need to give up on domesticating animals as well. We are removing animals from their natural habitat, imprisoning them with leashes and cages. We are making them dependent on us for food and water, hence killing off their natural survivor instincts. By this logic, use of dairy or any other animal product is wrong, because we have not taken the permission from the animal to do so. (Sounds outrageous? So does the condemnation to hell!)
The truth is that people always bend their moral standards as per their convenience.
So they will call non vegetarians animal killers, but conveniently look away from the finger-pointing at them, when they buy those leather loafers.
It’s not that easy
Sure vegetarianism has its benefits. But with such a large population, it is not possible for us to depend entirely for vegetarian food. If all 70 percent of non veg eaters in India make a U-turn overnight, will it be possible to feed all these mouths, with our agricultural output? What will happen to the prices of pulses and vegetables then, I will leave it to your assessment. I am not making saviors out of non vegetarians. But this debate that eating non veg is immoral or a crime against a nature, needs to be put through the grey areas of debate, that is human survival and limited natural resources.
The primary thing is to respect what is on our plate. A lot of natural resources go into every morsel that we consume. So treating food with respect, and minimising food wastage is what needs our utmost attention. Not which one is better – the pulav or the biryani.
Find whatever you can to outrage about, but do come back to solve that quarrel over a plate of food.