By Kanika Rangray
A meat ban is observed to respect the Jain festival of Paryushan. Earlier it was beef ban to respect the feelings of Hindus. In all, gallant measures are being taken to respect religions. Let’s ponder on the dilemma of respecting a religion without disrespecting the other.
If you talk about the Jain festival then it is quite a curious case as to why there is such a hue and cry about banning the sale of meat during Paryushan when the followers of Jainism have no strong feelings on the issue. They have simply made an appeal for it and left the choice for us to make. The religion believes in peacemaking and they show no inclinations to favour a forced ban.
A Jain youth wrote an open letter to fellow Indians over meat ban. He has given quite an analysis of the political game being played on the chessboard of religious sentiments. Here is a little sneak-peek into this invigorating letter:
I know many of you are very angry these days as we Jains are supposed to have taken your rights to eat meat. We intolerant bunch of goons have reportedly taken away your personal liberty. We are the Taliban, if some liberal activists are to be believed.
All these become easy for you to believe because these activists are in media and they control what you read in the newspapers or hear on TV. It also becomes easy for you to think they are telling the truth because the current ruling party, the BJP, has a national president who is Jain by religion.
… An appeal was presented as a ban to you!
…People have mocked my faith, my customs, and some even threatened to throw meats loaves in my house in protest.
And I wonder why so much hate! Because I didn’t even ask for this ban!
The media never cared to tell you but I hope you know the truth that this ban has existed for decades. And no, it is not a ban on you eating any meat… but a ban on slaughter houses for a few days and a ban on sale of meat in some selected regions of India…
…if this ban existed for so many decades, why did you not hear any outrage or protest over this all these years?
Have you not become a pawn in the politics of some selected parties? Congress was the party that introduced such bans in many areas and now they are protesting against the same. Shiv Sena too was a party to the decision by virtue of controlling local bodies, and even they are now protesting.
…Yes, apart from “jugaad”, other thing we Indian do is “adjusting”. We care for each other and adjust to make space for each other.
…Keeping this in mind, I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift this meat ban as it is hurting the sentiments of Indians who are evolving very fast. Sentiments of Jains will be taken care of by those who care and those who can adjust a little.
We Jains might appeal to people in our localities to close meat shops for a few days and if they do that voluntarily, we will be happy that they care for us. But please don’t enforce anything.
I can’t take any more hate due to my surname.
Well this letter did disintegrate all political strategies being played around behind the scenes. This letter laid bare all the possible motives behind the meat ban.
The latest political move on beef ban—Khursheed Ahmad Malik, a BJP leader in south Kashmir, is throwing a “beef party” to promote “religious tolerance” in the state. As per reported by the Huffington Post, Malik said: “Apart from politics, I am a Muslim. I can’t compromise on my religious faith, not at all.”
The outer face looks like one following his religion without a political alliance, the inner voice gives hope of a stronger foothold for BJP in Kashmir as one of its leaders is not just Muslim but is also making sure that his religion is not compromised in any way.
There is no doubt we are seeing dirty politics being played out. The unsung ones in this issue are the butchers whose shops will be closed down for 2-8 days during the Jain festival.
There is no doubt a political game of chess, where the butchers and the Jains are nothing more than pawns, would be played so that one of the players can checkmate the other.