Meat ban: The politics of food

After the banning of beef in March which drew limited protests from largely Muslims and Dalits, the state is witnessing yet another attempt to curb non-vegetarian eating habits.

Written by ZEESHAN SHAIKH | Mumbai | Updated: October 7, 2016 5:05 pm
meat ban, Meat ban news, Mumbai meat ban, Maharashtra meat ban, meat ban controversy, Mean ban mumbai, BJP meat ban Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Food and eating habits have by no means been at the centre of Maharashtra’s politics for the past many a decade. However since the BJP government came to power last year, food particularly the non- vegetarian kind, has become an important political issue in the state.

After the banning of beef in March which drew limited protests from largely Muslims and Dalits, the state is witnessing yet another attempt to curb non-vegetarian eating habits.

WATCH VIDEO: Senior BJP Leader Nirmala Sitharaman Reacts On Meat Ban

The decision to ban the consumption of meat for eight days was taken by the BJP-led Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) during Paryushan when the Jain community practices temporal monasticism. The community believes that violence against all living beings should be curtailed during these days. As a mark of respect, abattoirs remain closed across most of Maharashtra’s major cities for a couple of days.

Share This Article
Related Article

The insistence of the MBMC on closure as well as on private consumption of meat for all eight days has raised the eyebrows of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) as well as the Shiv Sena (SS) as the decision is likely to have an impact on a largely meat and poultry eating Marathi population.

The MNS which has been fast losing ground and political relevance in Maharashtra has been raking up the issue of vegetarian terrorism in the city. It has been at the forefront of leading agitations against discrimination that non-vegetarian home buyers face in certain pockets of the city. It has also been demanding action by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) against those builders who deny houses to people because of their food preferences.

The agitation has found much resonance amongst the Marathi population. With elections of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slated for 2017, the Shiv Sena too has jumped into the fray to ensure that it does not cede its space as the champion of Marathi rights to the MNS.

That the BJP is contemplating breaking its local level alliance and fighting the corporation elections on its own has also forced the Sena to brace itself against any political fallout.

The BJP has projected itself as the patron of the mercantile community in the city which is largely Gujarati and Jain. With the party going out of its way to adhere to the demands of its voter base, the Sena has decided to turn the heat on the anti meat ban protest.

Interestingly, the demands and protest are marked by contradictions. The Jains have sought a ban against mutton and chicken but are comfortable with the sale of fish and eggs. The Sena is protesting against the BJP-led MBMC’s eight-day ban on meat — later upturned and changed to a two-day closure of abattoirs. However, in Mumbai the BMC, governed by the Sena, has asked abattoirs to remain closed for four days.

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App

  1. S
    Satendra kumar
    Sep 10, 2015 at 7:39 pm
    The humane science does not recognise about what to consume for human beings.It's always the choice for mankind and which families and culture you are born.Whatever you are taught to eat is always a respect for mankind.
    1. A
      Arun Patil
      Sep 11, 2015 at 2:02 pm
      Sanjay my dear fellow, dont mislead the people. Meat eating has not been a problem with Hindus. Vedic people used to sacrifice animals in Yagyas and relish the meat (read vedas!). It was only after influence of Jain religion vegetarianism came into fashion in Hinduism and that too in certain castes and sects. Even now, large number of hindu people have meat eating as part of religion. We do sacrifice animals for our gods and eat that as prasad. Only certain small number of brahmin communities (mind you not all brahmin communities) practice vegetarianism (although they are not pure vegetarians but lacto vegetarians). I am not sure if you are aware of a Vyadh Gita, a very interesting text in Hinduism which is written by a butcher and considered to be a one of the greatest philosophical works.
      1. Shiraz Durrani
        Sep 11, 2015 at 3:06 am
        when hindus took carrot and kadu in thier lower mouths;the science donot say that animal will eat you in next life.
        1. G
          Sep 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm
          I think it should not be a big deal not to eat dead for 8 days, I don't think Jain's community has ever asked for any thing. All other community have their holidays in national calendar. I don't see anything for them. Are they asking for too much....
          1. B
            Sep 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm
            Shiv Sena and MNS lost their ideny in Mumbai. So they are politicising meet ban unnecessarily opposing it.
            1. Load More Comments