Ban! Ban! Ban!


meat ban

Nothing can account for India’s moderati’s somnolence on the issue of meat ban in view of the Jain festival of Paryushan. Mumbai has it for eight days and Rajasthan for 3 days – both BJP-ruled states. It’s perhaps because we have now become very used to these bans. The novelty is wearing off. Perhaps with it, so is the opposition.

This reminds me of my stint in the UAE – where, when they celebrate the festival of Ramadhan, no eateries/restaurants are allowed to remain open until Iftar time – there are select ones but there’s certainly no public injesting of food (no coffee out in a cafeteria, etc), throughout the entire period of fasting. A Shurta (cop) could stop you if you are seen sipping water passing by in a taxi – a starbucks grande would indeed be trop, if you found one in the first place! There were news of some people being detained… to be let off, thanks to the magnanimity of the administration’s festive spirit

We would pack our food ever more inconspicuously and would break for lunch with our heads bowed, shuffling away as if guilt-ridden for wanting to eat. When I discussed this with a couple of people on the other side of the fence, they explained it was about expressing our support and solidarity to our brethren who were trying to earn spiritual merit as was their duty. Also, while we’re at it, I was told, I could partake in spiritual awakening of my own – to feel how others who were not so privileged would feel on an empty stomach. I could tell they had a point. I wonder if they could sense my hunger, since they were fasting already. I doubt, though…

You see, I am not pointing at a particular community or a religion. This is no different from the very powerful Swaminarayan sect and its sort, so to say, where the monks and priests will avoid even the shadow of a woman… because they ought not be distracted by the opposite sex. They forget the part about doing their duty well enough that they ought not be distracted. Nice deal. Force people to alter your environment to make it easier for your to attain your spiritual merit (if that’s what you think it is).

All I’m saying is, this is all I’m saying. Because I have to be mindful not only about religious sentiments of people but also about trying to stay out of the jug and away from sedition – Because, “Words, signs or representations to be treated as seditious if they are against a person who is shown as representative of the government”, according to Maharashtra state government’s latest move.

The original HC paragraph read, “Words, signs or representations against politicians or public servants by themselves do not fall in this category unless the words/signs/representations show them as representative of the government.” – tame, I say, not much use.

So you see, criticising the government is now officially impossible. Which is great because all I wanted to say was, let’s also ban potatoes, green leafy vegetables and all those non-Jain eateries. The vegetarian in me will find a way to substitute the potatoes with raw bananas as Jains do… and stay off of spinach; so what if the citizen in me finds it hard to digest.

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