Open letter to fellow Indians over the meat ban – Ankit Jain

Paryushan

Ankit JainDear friends,

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.

Today, the media claimed that Haryana, another BJP ruled state, too had banned meat. Whereas the truth was that it had just appealed some slaughter houses to remain closed for Paryushan Parva, our festival of self purification. An appeal was presented as a ban to you!

And this has led people to believe that Jains are asking for such bans. I say this because I have been subjected to such taunts and abuse on Twitter. 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—you are still free to do that—but a ban on slaughter houses for a few days and a ban on sale of meat in some selected regions of India. In fact, in states like Rajasthan, the duration of this annual ban has actually been reduced this year when compared with the duration during the Congress rule.

Yes, you are going to tell me that it doesn’t justify the ban just because it existed for all these years. I am not even telling you that. But just take a chill pill for a moment, and think—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 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.

Do you seriously not see the politics here? And this politics is being helped by those in the media who wear the mask of neutrality and intellectualism.

All these decades nobody had a problem as they thought it was not a big deal if the slaughter houses remain closed for a few days in a year, that too in some areas where Jain population reside. It was about giving up limited personal liberty on select days to show respect to fellow Indians. Even courts upheld this view.

Don’t we give up our personal liberties on 3 national holidays? They are dry days and we can’t buy liquor. Technically that is also ban, and that is nationwide. This meat ban is not nationwide.

Don’t we give up our personal liberties when we hear loud azaan five times a day from a local mosque or loud music from a local pandal during various pujas? Remember, personal liberty is also about choosing what you are exposed to.

Nearly all leading restaurants and meat shops offer only halal meat in order to respect Muslim sentiments. Will it not be unreasonable if Hindus start demanding jhatka meat just to insist on personal choice and liberty? Hindus don’t insist on that because they have “adjusted” to accommodate fellow Indians.

Yes, apart from “jugaad”, other thing we Indian do is “adjusting”. We care for each other and adjust to make space for each other.

But now it looks like my country is all set to demand individual liberties.

And it’s not a bad thing. We as a society have to evolve.

Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, many people have evolved and started growing up (by their own admission). Our stand up comedians have evolved—they don’t make the same jokes. Our journalists have evolved—they have now started seeing things (like this meat ban) that they were blind to all these years.

So my dear friend angry with Jains over meat ban, you too have the right to evolve. We all have the right to evolve. I just hope that this evolution and growing up is not selective.

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.

Ankit Jain (@indiantweeter)

Michammi Dukkadam

5 Responses

  1. I am really touched by the write-up of Shri Ankit Jain. In a country where the intellectuals are so proud of its pluralism, it hurts when one of us says, “I can’t take any more hate due to my surname”. Many suggest that everything in India is politicized. Every issue is justified on the touch stone of electoral equations. Not because it makes sense, but because it pays politically. I thank Shri Jain, who spoke up. I agree with him.

  2. Ankit!

    You ought to know the following things:

    [1]

    The meat ban is a diversionary tactic to drag attention away from major scandals – in Maharashtra – for instance over the Sheena Bora murder [the stink may run into dozens of thousands of crores], the Lalit-Modi affair, and many other affairs – over which the PM has to remain tight-lipped.

    [2]

    Jains’ vote bank is a mere 1.5% in India – and it actually doesn’t count to too much – because most of the Jains do not vote anyway on election day. But their opinion counts because – some of the well known movers and shakers like Amit Shah do get some of the stuff done. That said, those deeds by themselves are enough to trigger a lot of hate against Amit himself and ipso facto – Jains at large.

    [3]

    There is no community in the world which is pure as driven snow. Everywhere mistakes have been made and waxed eloquent over. Like I am a Hindu Brahmin and more often than not the non-Brahmin Hindus in Tamil Nadu use me like toilet paper and then deride me. Finally I spat on that soil and relocated to Mumbai – where the condition isn’t all that great either.

    [4]

    In a nutshell, that is the world we live in. Disgusted, I have tried suicide 4 times and failed. Now, left with little alternative, I rue living. That is the blunt reality!

  3. In India, according to our media, the only minorities one can cater to are the Muslims and Christians. Only their feelings are relevant. Jains, Buddhists etc. have to just have their feelings trampled on even on their holy days. Otherwise they will be accused of being Taliban-like.

  4. That you were offended just because of rumor was bad news, so sorry to hear. Be assured there are people around the world thinking positive of you and your fellow Jains. Wishing you a happy fest. Om Shanti.

  5. Sorry, my dear friend! In India, every thing became politics. One way secularism and biased Media.

    I know, Jains are known for their kindness to humans. Please forgive those who hurt your religious sentiments.

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