By Kanika Rangray
Though India’s celebration of Bakra Eid or Eid al-Adha amidst the political circus going on about beef /meat ban depicts ‘unity in diversity’ in religion in India, the presence of secularism in the country is a debatable topic.
Adhering to the tenets of our constitution, India is a secular state, which means that the country accepts all religions with their traditions. And sacrificing, or what the Muslim community calls the halal of lamb is an important tradition in the festival of Bakra Eid. So, why all the ruckus doing rounds on beef ban? Is this not equivalent to politicising the religions and traditions of our secular country?
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is one of the two religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide. In this festival Muslims sacrifice their best halal domestic animals (a cow, goat or sheep) to honor Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his own son as an act of submission to God’s will, before God intervened to let him know that his sacrifice was already accepted.
After the sacrifice, the meat is divided into thirds—one-third goes to the family, another is given to relatives, friends and neighbours, and one-third is distributed among the needy and the poor.
This festival holds as much importance to the Muslim community, as festivals like Diwali, Dusshera, and such as are valued by the Hindu community.
But ignoring the importance of this festival celebrated by one of the minority communities of India, the Mumbai High Court refused to lift this ban even temporarily in answer to demands made by the influential and rigorously vegetarian Jain community. But is it the Jain community or the political representatives of the community who demand this ban?
Literally, the implementation of this ban violates three fundamental rights of the citizens of India—one is Article 25 which offers freedom of religion, second is Article 26 which offers freedom to manage religious affairs, and third is Article 29 which offers protection of minority interests.
Secular groups sent a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking to ‘Unban the ban – a threat to secular India’.
(By Ajeet Bharti)
However, what is absurd, and appears to be a case of selective secularism, is when posts related to ‘humanitarian’ concerns are scattered all over social media when Nepal has a festival where buffaloes are sacrificed in the name of religion. The same hue and cry was made when China celebrated the ‘Yulin Dog Meat Festival’ this year. The festival is celebrated for around ten days where around 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed.
We can also look upon the Christian festivals of Thanksgiving and Christmas during which fancy dishes made of turkey and beef are consumed. Where does the entire concept of humanity go then? Why is it so difficult to respect an individual’s choice of what to eat and what not to eat?
The point is: if you support anything, or oppose it, you need to be honest and objective irrespective of what religion, region, caste or class you belong to. If you yell about the Yulin festival for the death of dogs, you should also show your concern for the goats, cows and buffaloes being killed during various religious festivals. At the same time, when you show your concerns for the religious freedom over the bans, you should be able to take a stand for all such bans, all the time.
Most of the time, these bans have some political agenda, and people seldom care about these hashtags trending on Facebook and Twitter. India is mostly a secular state where people have been living with each other and celebrating each other’s festivals.
So, all we can hope to do is let the political circus juggle the numerous bans while we let people celebrate Eid as it should be and has been for years. Eid Mubarak!