Food— one the most basic necessities, which also possesses a magical power to evoke emotions of pleasure, love, care, nostalgia and even anger in us humans. Food brings us joy on festivals, it brings us sadness by filling us with memories of those who have left us and when done right, food brings a sense of satiety not just to the stomach but to the soul too. One would have never thought that this basic requirement for human survival would fall prey to the politics of hatred. But when nothing remains untouched by bias and bigotry today, so how could food?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A customer asked Zomato to change the delivery executive for his order as he was ‘non-Hindu’
  • Zomato refused to oblige and called him out for his biased mind-set
  • Trolls have now uninstalled Zomato, in retaliation
  • Have we managed to divide something as basic a necessity as food too?

One would have never thought that this basic requirement for human survival would fall prey to the politics of hatred. But when nothing remains untouched by bias and bigotry today, so how could food?

Zomato is being trolled on social media because it refused to change the delivery executive for a customer, who didn’t want is food delivered by a ‘non-Hindu’. The company had to defend its decision with a tweet which read, “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion.” Their response only aggravated the trolls, who are now claiming to have uninstalled Zomato and its rival app UberEats, which had expressed solidarity with its stance.

It is amusing how the customer in question was apprehensive about the religion of his delivery boy. Did he believe that his food would get ‘contaminated if it was carried by a Muslim man? Also, how was he so sure that the person who cooked his food, or even packed it wasn’t a ‘non-Hindu’? This whole episode centred on one man’s biased mind-set has blown out of proportion unnecessarily, as do many trivial things these days. And that is what angers me the most. In a country as vast and diverse and India, this shouldn’t have been a conversation we should be having. A man shouldn’t feel that his food shouldn’t be even touched by a man from another religion.

Food, despite being a part of our diverse religious identities is supposed to bring us together. It is a common source of life for us. But us humans have somehow manages to put a tag of religious identity on it. A food that is a delicacy for one group is repulsive or too sacred to be eaten for another. We carry these distinctions from our dinner table everywhere we go, or perhaps it is the other way around.

It is amusing how the customer in question was apprehensive about the religion of his delivery boy. Did he believe that his food would get ‘contaminated if it was carried by a ‘non-Hindu’ man? Also, how was he so sure that the person who cooked his food, or even packed it wasn’t a ‘non-Hindu’?

One wonders where all this hatred for each other will take us? Will we end up thinking about a dish’s religious or geographical origins before consuming it in the near future? Will people start demanding restaurants to employ cooks and waiters of specific origin/religion to ensure that their religious sanctity remains intact? How far back are we willing to trace the journey of a food item, to ensure that it meets our parameters of purity? From the time a seed took roots into the soil, or even farther back? If this is not regression, then I don’t know what is.

Image Credit: Financial Express

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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