At the outset, I declare that I like to eat non vegetarian food. Not the exotic anything that moves variety. I like regular non vegetarian food. I am also aware of the following points that can be put forward against eating a non vegetarian food :
- In commercial chicken farms, chicken is fed and forced to gain weight. More often than not, chickens are subjected to cruelty.
- In beef industry abroad, animals are fed with testosterone to gain muscle mass.
- Bovine species were fed with meat diet to increase protein content in their diet.
- Picture of bovine species bleeding to death, can be revolting.
- I also know as a human being, it is cruel to kill and eat another living being.
- World over, many people in different societies eat meat. These meat eating people are not any inferior in any parameter of social, material and human development compared to those who eat a vegetarian diet.
- Meat offers protein that can be part of many poor peoples diet. A counter argument could be plants also have life.
- To be consistent in our thoughts and action, we should stop eating anything from plant source also.
Yet, I would like to retain the right to eat non vegetarian food as and when I want it. I would not like anyone interfering with what I eat and when I eat, as long as I am not breaking any law of the land.
At the present time, India is ruled by right of centre party, BJP. Party has brute majority in lower house of Indian parliament. BJP has won most states elections. Soon, the party will have majority in upper house of parliament as well. This domination of upper and lower houses of Indian parliament will continue till 2019. If BJP wins next national election, then BJP will have majority in both upper and lower houses of parliament till 2024. In effect, BJP will be in a position to enact any law it wants.
Will BJP enact a law to ban eating meat? For the following reasons, I have a nagging doubt that BJP may be inclined to take the step:
- BJP has a core support base that considers meat eating to be impure. If allowed, this constituency of BJP will stop eating of all non vegetarian food.
- Though there is ban on killing of cow in almost all states of India, many chief ministers of BJP ruled states are
- not only bringing tougher cow protection law,
- some have even proclaimed to turn their state vegetarian.
- chief minister of Chattisgarh had remarked he will hang anyone killing cow in his state.
- UP government has closed illegal abattoirs. Jharkhand and Haryana governments are also thinking along same line. No one can question the decision, if it stops environmental pollution and degradation. As court has said, government job is not only to close illegal activity but to facilitate legal business activity. I think the second part is missing at the moment. If it persists, more and more people will lose their livelihood.
- Three muslim men were killed in Jharkhand, a BJP ruled state, on allegation of cow smuggling.
- Pehlu Khan, a cow transporter, was beaten up and eventually died for transporting cow in Rajasthan.
- Recently, a transporter of buffalo was beaten up in Delhi.
It can be argued that all these instances and incidences are at best stray events in a vast country like India. Such instances made at periodic interval creates an atmosphere of uncertainly in the minds of people. Unless backed by stringent law and order machinery, practioners of such violence feel emboldened. Goons feel it is their government at the centre and the states, so they can violate law with impunity.
In the light of such circumstantial evidence described above, it is bound to raise suspicion if BJP lead governments, at centre and states, are trying to interfere with food habits of Indian people. Are they wait for an appropriate time to reveal their real agenda?
I hope it is not true. Pragmatically looking, BJP has an ambition to become a pan Indian party. How is the party hoping to achieve that by banning eating of beef in particular and meat in general? There is whole of North East that eats meat. There is Goa, that eats meat and beef. Kerala and West Bengal permit sacrifice of cow. There is 20% muslim population that eats meat and if permitted beef also. Beef is not eaten in India. It is buffalo meat, bull meat and ox meat that are eaten. Many poor people eat this meat as an easy source of protein. Yes they can eat more expensive chicken or goat meat. Can BJP realistically hope to become a national party by controlling what people eat? Already, the party has exempted North East and Goa from beef ban. Does it now expose dichotomy in the thought process of the party. If they change after winning election, it will be betrayal of mandate and BJP may risk not being voted back.