Violent People and Turbulent Sky

It is generally accepted that air space around India’s crowded airports is not ideal. We have heard horror stories of aircrafts coming dangerously close. We have heard incidence of computer in air traffic control failing and manual management of busy airports often become difficult. All said and done, by gods grace, we have not seen many or any major accident.

On the other hand, space within aircraft is also becoming very dangerous. We have heard of a privileged and entitlement conscious passenger beating an airline employee for being slighted. The incident forced government to bring law that would empower airline employees to handle unruly passengers. A side effect of such a law has manifested itself, when a middle aged passenger was body slammed in the tarmac after an alteraction in New Delhi.

A video of the event has emerged in public domain. In the video, the following can be seen and/or heard:

  • one can hear Mr. Katiyal using abusive language, “F-word”;
  • employees, it can be heard, objected to use of such a language;
  • an employee was shouting stop him from boarding the bus.
  • It can be seen that Mr. Ravindr Katiyal was prevented from boarding a bus that would take him from tarmac to terminal.
  • It can be seen that an employee was physcially restraining Mr. Katiyal.
  • When released of the vice grip, Mr. Katiyal was seen attacking another employee on charge of pushing him.
  • In turn, the employee tackles and throws him on the ground. We can see employee was restraining Mr. Katiyal by holding him by his throat.
  • Mr. Katiyal, lying on the ground, can be seen hitting the employee.

As the video went viral and picked up by TV channels additional information emerged.

  • Mr. Katiyal was travelling from Chennai to Delhi by Indigo airline. His plane landed in Delhi at noon when temperature in the tarmac was close to 37 degree celcius.
  • Mr. Katiyal allowed elderly, ladies and children to board the shuttle bus.
  • Mr. Katiyal was waiting for the bus, under shade of the plane. His conflict started when an employee asked him to come out of the shade. According to Mr. Katiyal employee spoke to him rudely.
  • The person with whom Mr. Katiyal had physical conflict was not even the person who instigated the initial fight.
  • To add insult to injury, in police station Mr. Katiyal was told whole incidence was his fault. Katiyal’s wife was told her husband was psychotic. They were threatened with a counter law suit by Indigo.
  • To be fair, keeping in mind passenger safety, no one is allowed to come close to the aircraft. A member of ground staff, of an airline was sucked in by engine of a jet liner in an Indian airport.

Even if we agree that Indio ground staff did not hit Mr. Katiyal, despite being attacked and abused, and Indigo staff were going by the rule book that a passenger is not allowed to go near the aircraft for his own safety,  a few points must be considered:

  •  Mr. Katiyal was not allowed to board shuttle and physically prevented him. This cannot be permitted. Does Indigo has any right not to let a customer board shuttle bus to settle score?
  • Even if Mr. Katiyal, a 50 plus year old passenger, had thrown the first punch, Mr. Katiyal was no match to airline staff. Could trained staff of airline have not handle him better? One can see a tall guy holding and restraining Katiyal. They could have simply resorted to such a tactic.
  • Airline staff should be trained to deal with all kind of passengers. One thing is a rowdy client on board a flight and another is dealing with a passenger on tarmac. More so under peak mid day sun. Indigo staff should have controlled themselves, let the passenger move to cooler climes of bus and terminal. That is how a mature and trained staff behave.
  • Mr. Katiyal was thrown on the ground. He could have been seriously injured in the process. Mr. Katiyal was a paying customer. He certainly did not bargain for sucha treatment when he boarded the flight. Indigo could have handed him over to CISF. The person who instigated had left. In 40 degree heat if a passenger was waiting for bus, he could have treated much more professionally.
  • If Indigo was on the right side of legal and moral divide, why did they sit on the video for so long?

Overall, the airline came out in very bad light. In the US, a passenger was injured when security personnel tried to deboard him forcefully. United Airlines had pay a hefty compensation to the passenger. I think the Incidence merits serious compensation and criminal investigation.

References

1.IndiGo incident video: What led to passenger, ground staff fight; who …

2. My Colleagues Were Trying to Prevent a Serious Mishap: IndiGo Prez …

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Demonetisation, One Year Later

One year has passed since the decision to demonetise high value currencies was announced by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Nov, 2016. A lot has been said both for and against demagnetisation. Nobel laureates Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. Paul Krugman have denounced efficacy of the mechanism. On the other hand, Prof Jagdish Bhagwati had praised demonetisation as a bold move, and S. Gurumurthy, an idealogogue of RSS, has claimed demonetisation to be a paradigm shift. In the political front, former finance minister Mr. P Chidambaram has called demonitisation the biggest scam, while the current finance minister Mr. Arun Jaitley has enumerated numerous benefits of demonetization on the posterity.

As the GDP figures on second quarter of financial year 2017 -18 came out, opposition and media had attributed low GDP numbers as an adverse effect of  demonetisation. Though economists have advised not to link demonetisation to low GDP growth, critics were relentless. Many of the expected deliverables of demonetisation were not achieved, for example:

  • Terror funding was not affected as incidence of stone pelting in Kashmir did not come down.  We know, however, that post demonetisation there had been several bank robberies in Kashmir valley. Could this not indicate there was cash crunch and terrorists ran away with cash?
  • Black money was not affected by demonetisation. Not only almost all money had come back to bank, no one has been arrested and or prosecuted for holding black money. There is no doubt that people that had black money, had peddled it ingenuously. But consider this fact that 30 thousand crore has  emerged as black money and 290 thousand crore of unusual transactions are under scanner. This may suggest around 320 thousand crore unaccounted money under scanner. Is that not nearly one fifth of Indian currency in circulation?
  • Economy has crawled back from cashless to cash driven. Prior to demonetisation, cash to GDP ratio was more than 12. This ratio has come down to 9 one year after demonetisation. Some data suggest, there is definite increase in cashless transaction. All said and done, bringing behavioural change takes time. Government has made an effort. It must persist by giving incentive to using cashless transactions.
  • Many people had to endure a lot of hardship. As many as 120 people lost their lives directly or indirectly due to demonetisation. Post demonetisation, I had visited Haryana and Assam on my personal capacity. I did not see the type of misery, and devastation being propagated by TV channels and news papers. In addition, ruling party had scored significant victory in many village panchayat, municipality and state assembly elections, most notable being landslide in Uttar Pradesh.

As I hear debates for and against demonitisation, it appears that both sides are speaking the same thing. While pro demonitisation group is putting emphasis on long term benefits, opposition is not denying exactly long term benefits, but they are focusing on short term inconveniences. Pro demonitisation groups claim hardship came with the package, and people were warned. Nature of the move did not allow great preparation. Anti demo group claim perceived benefits could have achieved by different means without causing less discomfort. Who is right? Indian people will decide, may be in 2019.

References:

 

  1. The-poor-have-embraced-modi-and-the-vote-merchants-still-dont-get-it

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/all-that-matters/the-poor-have-embraced-modi-and-the-vote-merchants-still-dont-get-it/articleshow/57597948.cms

2. From-harvard-to-house-how-notebandi-naysayers-got-it-so-wrong

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/right-and-wrong/from-harvard-to-house-how-notebandi-naysayers-got-it-so-wrong/ http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/right-and-wrong/from-harvard-to-house-how-notebandi-naysayers-got-it-so-wrong/

3. Demonetisation was a fundamental corrective to the economy much like liberalisation of the 1990s : https://t.co/FM77jLjX8p

4. Why DeMo, GST are not to blame for slowdown – Times of India Blogs

5. Modi’s Mission 2022: Government is methodically shattering the glass ceilings that trap Indians in poverty

 

 

 

 

Padmavati, Controversy’s Child

The movie Padmavati seems to be getting entangled in protests and controversies. In the earlier part of the year, set of the movie was destroyed by angry Rajput Karni Sena. Now that the movie is about to be released, Rajput groups want the movie be shown to them before it is released to general public. The bone of contention being a dream sequence where Alauddin Khilji is believed to fall in love with Padmavati. Director of Padmavati has denied such a scene exists. Protestors, however, are not ready to buy any assurance.

There is a strong undercurrent against Alauddin Khilji and several other muslim kings who had invaded Rajputana and India. Stories of Rajput women sacrificing their lives by jumping into fire, rather than submitting to victorious muslim army, is a matter of great pride and part of folk tales, It is, thus, very difficult to reason with protestors that even if a dream sequence exists in the movie, it is the dream of Alauddin Khilji and not of Rani Padmavati. One cannot control what Alauddin Khilji is thinking. A man who can march an army to conquer wife of a neighbouring king, can he not have a lurid fantacy? But this cannot be held again Rani Padmavati. Because she had no soft corner for the Khilji king.

As the debate around Padmavati intensified, some scholars claimed that Padmavati never existed.  How could a princess from Ceylon become queen of Chittor in Rajputana? Some doubted occurrence of Jauhar. Some even suggested Padmavati was a loser, who chose death over life? According to scholars, historians who accompanied Alauddin Khilji in his conquest, never talked of Padmavati. It can be argued that, history is written by victors and not by the vanquished. Indian history has traditionally been spread word of mouth by bards. Over a period of time and loves spread by word of mouth, exaggeration might have crept in, but actual occurrences probably remained undisputed. Thus story of Rani Padmavati is part of hindu folklore.  Jauhar kund exists in Chittorgarh fort. Historians report of three jauhars that happened in Chittorgarh, after Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and Emperor Akbar of Delhi. In the middle of all this, I want to see Ranveer Singh as Allauddin Khilji.

People have tried to potray Alauddin Khilji as a benevolent general, who  administered his kingdom well, expanded  it, and protected it by keeping invading mughals at bay. Others think of Alauddin Khilji as a ruthless person who killed his own father in law, coveted a neighbouring king’s wife and generally cruel against vast population of hindu subjects.  By the way, Alauddin Khilji was not a devout muslim by his own standard. He had a lover in Malik Kafur, his trusted general. Practice of homo-sexuality is a heresy for devout muslims even today.

Without condoning Alauddin Khilji and muslim invaders after him for their cruelty against majority hindu natives, is it fair to judge the man of 1306  by todays standard of 2017? Both Alauddin and Rani Padmavati were products of their time. Their morality, their value system, their concept of honour, and their outlook to life were totally different. We may not like them, but we cannot change them. That is history. We can make better history by letting others watch Padmvati. I am dieing to watch Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji. I loved the way he portrayed Peshwa Bajirao. Let us hope good sense prevails.

 

Should Society Dictate Personal Choice

Akhila was a hindu girl in Kerala. She converted to Islam while staying away from her family during her college studies. Her name post her conversion was Hadiya. Hadiya fell in love with a muslim boy and married him. Hadiya’s (Akhila’s) parents lodged a police complaint and moved Keral High Court. Court had no problem with Akhila’s conversion, but court annulled the marriage. Hadiya moved supreme court claiming she was made to stay at her parents place against her will.

Amid protests and petitions by right wing groups, Supreme Court of India had asked NIA, (National Investigating Agency), to investigate terror angle to Hadiya’s love story. NIA had suggested that there is a pattern to convesions. Meanwhile, Court has commented that one can marry a criminal, if he /she does it as an adult. Court has also asked Hadiya to present herself and narrate her side of the story.

Right wing hindu groups had claimed that Akhila was converted as per design called Love Jihad. According to Love Jihad theory, non muslim women are persuaded to convert to islam and marry muslim men. All this towards creation of a global islamic state. On a recent debate on NDTV, the concept of love jihad was ridiculed and trashed as offensive by anchor, Nidhi Razdan, and activists like Farah Naqvi and Sadia Dehlavi. Indeed, argument put forward by Farah Naqvi was much more rational and cogent, where she argued case of Hadiya was that of choice made by an adult woman, and her parents and courts have no business interfering in the matter.

Later, I came across another TV program on India Today TV channel hosted by Rajdeep Sardesai. I would tend to believe what was shown, because Rajdeep Sardesai is generally not a supporter of the Hindu right. Sting operation carried out by journalists of India Today group, confirmed assertion of Hindu right that a design exists to convert non muslims into islamic faith. An organisation called PFI (Peoples Front of India), aided by petro dollar, was engaged in such an activity. On India Today sting, it was shown that operatives were openly claiming conversion is one of their agenda. The activists claimed that their intention is to set up a global islamic state. It is also alleged that women are converted and taken to war zones of middle east to serve ISIS fighters. In this context, can we connect the dots between Hadiya’s conversion and her marriage to a muslim man? The man had expressed his intention to take Hadiya to middle east. Kerala High Court was not amused upon hearing the news of marriage. Many believe Hadiya case is one such case. NIA believes there is a distinct pattern in such conversions.

This brings to bigger question. Can society, and state decide whom an individual chooses as life partner? I think it is obnoxious and intrusive for anyone to interfere in another persons private life. If state has solid proof of criminality, they must do everything to stop the same. But state cannot decide who should marry whom. At the same time, one must consider if a person is marrying for love, why should one partner has to abandon his / her faith and convert? I think, both marriage and religious belief should be held private and sacrosanct as an individual’s personal choice. It seems there may be some truth to the assertions of Hindu right about designs of islamists.

References

1. From Akhila to Hadiya: What exactly is the Kerala ‘Love Jihad’ case all …

2. Is ‘Love Jihad’ just a political campaign

3. Operation Jihad Mafia: Kerala’s conversion factories unmasked : India …

4. Kerala Love Jihad: India Today Exposes Zainaba And Popular Front …

Animal Rights and Wrong : There are Two Sides to a Story

India is caught in the vortex of cow politics. It started with terrible lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in his home, which was followed later by mob lynching of Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer. In between and beyond, there had been several instances of mob lynching and violence against cattle traders, transporters and beef / meat sellers. A state governments have closed down illegal slaughter houses. Many citizens have protested acts of vigilantism, slack and biased law enforcement, high handed behaviour of government/s and administration. Protests erupted against perceived intolerance and high handed behavour of state supported vigilante groups against citizens belonging to minority community.  Media attention drawn by such actions has brought embarassment to administrators.

In the middle of all these brouhaha, people trying to prevent cows from being slaughtered have tried to point out that cattle traders are not as innocent as being projected. They also resort to violence. It is claimed such a violence is never highlighted by media. Recently at least three such incidents came into light. One BSF officer when confronted cattle smugglers in India Bangladesh border in Tripura, was attacked. Injured officer lost his life a few days later. In another instance, an animal rights activist was attacked in Bangalore when she reported illegal cow slaughter in the city. In the same city,  a team of court commissioners, lawyers, police and members of cow protection NGO was heckled, chased and attacked when they went to investigate an illegal slaughterhouse.

As an average law abiding ordinary citizen, I strongly disagree with anyone trying to unilaterally enforce their point of view on my lifestyle. Let us talk about cow vigilante groups and animal welfare groups and their impact on our lives:

  • Members of cow vigilante groups hold cow in high esteem because of their religious belief. As a result, these people discourage, often violently, slaughter of cows. It is believed that action of cow vigilante groups have not only interfered with food habits of people, many people associated with leather and meat export industries have lost their livelihood. Loss to economy has been considerable.
  • Animal welfare groups look after interest of all animals. Members of these groups had made biology research very difficult. Functioning of organisations undertaking drug discovery research and contract biology research were severely affected due to interference by animal rights group. Even today, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a permission to use dogs and monkey for pharmaceutical research. In an industry where time and cost plays a very important role, animal rights groups have made processes very unattractive.
  • It appears that animal rights organisations are very vocal against targets that are concerned about their public image, organisations that play by the rule, and groups that do not resort to violence. Apart from pharmaceutical companies, government agencies that have tried to control population of nilgai, wild boar and wild monkey. Jalikattu, an annual bull taming sport in rural Tamil Nadu has come under  protective gaze of animal rights group. PETA has approached supreme court of India to stop Jalikattu.
  • Yet, the same animal rights groups like PETA look otherway when it comes to animal slaughter for food or during religious festivals like Idul Fitar. Anyone who has seen how chickens are coupled up in a small cage, may understand what I am saying. I have never been to an abbatoir, but I have heard horror stories about them. Yet thee groups were silent about mass sacrifice of animals during religious festivals like idul fitar.

It is not difficult to understand the importance of high quality animals for food as well as for experimental work. A diseased animal may be harmful as a food as well as may give erroneous result if used in experiment. From this angle. there is no dispute that interference of animal rights group has streamlined process of breeding, selling. procurement and use of experimental animals. These groups have force laboratories interested to do animal research, to create good quality experimental animal facility. Cost of research has gone up, but quality of research data has probably improved. But permission ot undertake studies on dogs and monkeys remain very difficult.

There was criticism when similar principles as pharmaceutical research towards breeding and procurement of animals were applied towards streamlining slaughter of animals for food. Like in pharmaceutical research, cost of doing business of animal slaughter went up. Many people went out of business. Chief minister of UP faced flak for being anti-minority.  While animal rights group remained quiet on the issue.  Now that an animal right activist has faced ire of people who make a living slaughtering animals, may be things will be different.

We cannot but not miss the inherent contradictions. Those who support Jalikattu, oppose cattle sacrifice. On the other hand, those who oppose cruelty to animals, keep quiet when animals are slaughtered en masse during religious festivities. If legalisation of illegal abattoirs lead to job loss, so does streamlining animal use in pharmaceutical research. Lynching of a cattle farmer is abhorrent, so is attack on animal activists and law enforcement agencies who inspect illegal slaughterhouses.

We all need clear transparent enforceable rule of law not vigilante groups enforcing their own ideas of right and wrong. Please outrage against loss of life and liberty on both sides of the divide. Then and then alone we shall look at issues in a dispassionate manner.

References :

What is ‘Not in My Name’ all about? – The Hindu

BSF officer attacked by cattle smugglers dies | Business Standard News

Mob attacks animal rights activists, two constables trying to rescue …

200 Nilgai Shot. Required, Says One Minister. Unacceptable, Says …

 

Diwali Fire Cracker Ban is Necessary

Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers in Delhi before this year’s Diwali. The decision will be used to monitor the effect of ban on air quality post Diwali. The decision is a tough one. On one side there is tradition of bursting crackers. I have seen it happening for last five decades. The ban may make many people that make crackers jobless. Many shopkeepers who have purchased fire crackers will lose money.

At the same time there is no doubt at this time of the year direction of air tends to change. Air is heavy due to chill in atmosphere. Wind does not blow strongly enough to wash away the smog. Smoke from burnt crackers tend to hang around close to ground. Smoke from burnt crackers hang over the city. One cannot see few feet ahead long after mid night. In addition to damaging human health, cracker burning is also cruel to animals. Many animals with sensitive ear drums feel pain due to loud noise. Many animals not used to loud noise become startled and afraid. 

Many people who are susceptible to airway disease, on Diwali night and aftermath of Diwali night, their health problems aggravate. It is true that air pollution is a chronic issue. One must tackle all problems simultaneously and in a systematic manner to address the issue of air pollution. But on and around Diwali there is accumulation of concentrated pollutants in different localities. At least this issue can be controlled with minimal colateral damage.

Many say this decision of supreme court is interference with tradition. I think traditions change with time depending upon societal needs. Open defecation is also a tradition given since how long this act is being practiced. Government is trying to alter behavioral pattern on open defecation. The same is true for cracker burning.  I think it is a good decision.

MUDRA Scheme is Encouraging Self Employment

Prime minister Narendra Modi came to power promising to create 10 million jobs per year. However, jobs in formal sectors like manufacturing, trade, construction, education, health, information technology, transport, and accommodation and restaurant has actually not been very successful. Report suggest that job growth The total number of jobs created in the first three years of the BJP government would be 1.51 million–which is nearly 39% less than the 2.47 million jobs created during the three previous years.

It is true that government has not been successful in creating jobs in formal sector. Given more than 70% of jobs come from private sector, government may not have much control over job creation in private sector. According to estimates, big corporates in formal sector employs around 12.5 million people. Whereas, micro small medium enter prises (MSME) employee 125 million people.

Government has started to work at the bottom of job pyramid by trying to strengthen MSME sector through MUDRA (micro units development and regeneration agency). MUDRA scheme is a program where government gives loan in three categories sishu or small (upto 50000 rupees), kishore or medium (upto 5 lac rupees) and tarun or big (upto 10 lac rupees) to people who want to start their own business or expand their existing business. Almost 90% of loans were given in the small category in 2015 – 16 and 2016-17. Two crore new entrepreneurs, and 5.6 crore women entrepreneurs have availed loan. If new entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs are combined we get the number of 7.6 crore people who were give a loan to start a business.

2015 – 16 2016 – 17 Total
Money Disbursed (Crores) 132995 175312 308307
New Entrepreneurs (Crores) 1.2 1 2.2
Women Entrepreneurs 2.7 2.9 5.6
Type of Loans
Sishu Loan (Crores) 3.2 3.6 6.8
Kishore Loan (Lac) 20 26.6 46.6
Tarun Loan (Lac) 4 5.4 9.4
http://www.mudra.org.in

We do not know if these small ventures are still continuing. It is also not known, the women entrepreneurs who availed the loan were first time business people, or they had used the loan to expand their business? It can be taken with some certainty that around 2 crore new entrepreneurs were created. This is in line with promise of creating one crore employment opportunity a year. Secondly, if 5.6 crore women entrepreneurs are added to 2 crore, close 8 crore employment opportunities were created or stabilised.

 

Monthly Income

(Rupees)

Self Employed

(% of work force)

Salaried

(% of work force)

46 17
<5000 41 18.7
5000 – 10000 43 38
10000 – 100000 15 44.7
Report on the Fifth Annual Employment – Unemployment Survey, 2016

As is seen from table above, around 46% of Indian work force is in informal and self employed sector. In this category, majority people earn between 5000 – 10000 rupees per month. By contrast, only 17% work force is in salaried category. Nearly 45% of salaried people earn between 10000 to 100000 rupees per month.

It is not a surprise that most people like to have a job with salary at the end of the month. By contrast, self employment is given a look only as a second choice when they do not find a suitable job. A noted commentator claimed on national TV, “who wants to become tea vendor, if he has better option available?” It should be kept in mind self employment is not selling tea alone. It can involve a variety of different opportunities, if one is open and creative enough to tap the supply and demand gap. From the report card of MUDRA scheme, it is apparent that a majority of people who were granted loans were engaged in a wide variety of professions. The business these people setup using loan from MUDRA scheme, have helped many to build a home for themselves, send their children to school, some even employed another person. These are common aspiration of all citizens. By strengthening people at the bottom of job pyramid, government is creating a strong base. Given the vagaries of employment scenario it may appear that self employment may be a way to go for future. Government is trying to steer people in that direction.

 

  1. http://www.mudra.org.in/Default/DownloadFile/Annual_Report_Of_Mudra_2015-16.pdf
  2.  http://www.mudra.org.in/Default/DownloadFile/Overall_Performance_2016-17.pdf
  3. http://www.mudra.org.in/PMMYReport

GOI, Do Not Interfere with Food Habit

Slide1

Government of India is bringing a law that will ban sale of cattle for human consumption. There are many Indians who do not eat beef. Slaughter of cow is not allowed in most states. Now government is attempting to stop slaughter of bull, bullock and buffalo. Government wants farmer selling his cattle to ensure that cattle will not be slaughtered by its buyer. Sale happens in district cattle markets. Farmers sell their unproductive cattle. In retrun they get some much needed cash. It is also important to know.

  • Tracking animal is a tall order in a country where there is no means to keep track of people. Such a tracking system of animals can be created.
  • Should creation of animal tracking system be an important priorities of government?
  • What plan government has to take care of aging animals?
  • Does government has plan to compensate farmers?
  • Unless farmers find it lucrative to be in farming business, not many will be in the profession. Indian food security will be threatened?
  • Meat industry supports many people with jobs. Leather industry associated with meat processing industry also employ a large number of people. All these people will lose their jobs.

Many poor people eat this meat as a source of protein. Yes, they can eat vegetables. Compared to meat, vegetables are more expensive. It is true BJP government is fulfilling its promised agenda.

  • How will a person with meagre income afford alternative to inexpensive meat?
  • Should creating job, looking after health of people and education be the utmost priority of any government?
  • Should ban on cattle slaughter not be way down in priority list of government?

If government is really concerned with peoples health, why not it bring in better education, create employment and improve healthcare ? I can see the move may have good intention of  providing good quality meat to consumers. An animal farm that raises animals for consumption with a vetrinary doctor present to monitor for zoonotic disease.

  • Even if it is assumed that only a small portion of Indians eat beef, is it really, government’s job to monitor eating habit of citizens?
  • Why not let people decide what they want to eat.
  • Government may put warning symbol on meat products, like on cigarette pack, to warn people of bad effects of meat eating.
  • Is banning trade of cattle and insisting on buying meat from a registered vendor,  is an attempt it to benefit a business group?
  • At the present time there are not many such animal farms in India. Should government had not created such a farm and then brought the law?
  • Will such move not increase the price of meat and make it beyond reach of poor people?

Bigger and more sinister design that many people suspect that government is working to bring in agenda of creating vegetarian Hindu Rashtra through back door in India? Several state chief ministers have said so in public. One of the first decisions that UP chief minister took was to close down illegal abattoirs operating in UP. Cattle transporters are beaten up with impunity. Pehlu Khan was killed, but he was the first person to be jailed for illegal transport of cattle.

BJP has a brute majority in the parliament and in many state assemblies. Use this opportunity to bring lasting change in India in terms of education healthcare, employment etc. Cattle slaughter may be your agenda, it should be way down in priority. Yes government can bulldoze through whatever they want to do, but this will be achieved by alienating a section of society. As honourable prime minister had said, government must run with consent of those who voted for it, and those who did not vote for it. It is imperative that this vision of prime minister must be upheld. I voted for BJP with great hope. My entreatey is please do not let people like me down. Do not tear our beautiful social fabric into pieces. I think government must educate people and let people take informed decision.

Moving Towards A Vegetarian India?

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.

 

Protect Cow, Jail Gau Rakshak

Slide1I am not a gau rakshak (protector of cow). I despise people killing a human in the name of cow protection. While all living beings are sacred, in the relative world we live in, a human life is more important than an animal life, no matter how revered.

Economists believe, unless farmers are allowed to sell their unproductive cows they may stop investing in cows. Farmers, both Hindus and Muslims, sell their unproductive cow, buffalo etc to butcher. The cash they get, is invested in another cattle or comes in handly in hard times. In states, where cow slaughter is allowed, cow population exceeds buffalo population, e.g West Bengal, Kerala. In states where cow is not allowed to be slaughtered, cow population is lower than the buffalo population, e.g. UP, Gujarat.

Indians, read Hindus, revere cow.  If cow is  given the status of mother, then is it not abhorrent to send mother to a slaughter house after she no longer gives milk? Is it no akin to sending ageing parents to old age home? Many people may still do this. Economics has a way of triumphing over emotion. Does that make the action right?

One cannot ignore that fact that despite our worship of cow, we see many cow roaming in streets of our cities. Owner of a cow let his animal loose to fend for itself. A stray cow rummages through garbage heap, another bane of Indian cities. Many of these stray animals eat plastic along with food wrapped in it. Many of these animals die a painful death.

I think, if government is really serious about protecting cows,

  • it should open old age home for cow, gaushala, in every city.
  • Penalise owner who lets his cow loose on city streets.
  • Owner and government must contribute towards resettlement of ageing cows.
  • Compensate a farmer who donates his cow to cow home.
  • For eating cow meat, import beef. Anyway, most India beef comes from a buffalo.
  • After death a cow may be skinned for hide in shelter. Many humans also donate their body part after death. Same logic may go for cow hide and bone.
  • Bring rational law and implement it.

Please stop killing in the name of cow protection. Please bring to justice who take law to their hand and kill innocent people minding their business.