With Zomato delivery executives in Bengal protesting against the delivery of beef by Hindus and pork by Muslims, we see solidarity against the food delivery giant which finds itself in turmoil.
Another day in our secular country, another attempt made to communalise food on the religious grounds while the entire narrative on twitter shifts into countless debates on eating beef or pork.
However, for the students of the University of Delhi (DU), this opens up an interesting arena of speculation.
The majority of the student body considered animal cruelty as the reason for not eating beef/pork and very few considered religion to be behind this. A student stated, “I am against any sort of animal slaughter done for the sake of greed, taste or nutrition. They are sentient beings that deserve to live and we can survive without eating them.”
To further elaborate this point another student added, “I belong from a rural background, I am aware of the significance of livestock and cattle in shaping the life of village folks. Right from the agricultural activities, with the dung cakes used as fuel to cook food, to the dairy products used in everyday life, cattle form an essential part of their lives. I don’t consider religion to be the reason behind my choice.”
When religion comes into this narrative, the views are conflicting. Most of the students consider it as a matter of personal choice. However, it seems evident that family and upbringing plays an important role in influencing and strengthening one’s views. Some of them term it as a “disgraceful sin”, while others don’t associate themselves with this debate.
Another student came forward with a separate angle on this debate. She said, “It would be good if people try to understand why their religion tells them not to eat beef or pork, the idea behind it might still be relevant.” She further added that eating or not eating any kind of meat is a personal choice as long as one is not enforcing their opinions on others. According to her, if some religious institutions have certain rules about the consumption of meat then it should be followed while one is within the premises of that institution out of respect.
On the other hand, a part of the DU student body is much in the favour of consumption of beef and pork. “If it appeases the taste buds, it goes on top of the favourite food list” says a History student. The consensus either leans towards exploring the various delicacies that meat has to offer or rebelling against the societal diktats. As one student puts it, “I eat pork even though nobody in my family does. It’s my life and nobody can force me to not do something if I want to. I don’t eat beef because I never felt like trying it.”
Growing up it was hard to acknowledge the idea that beef can be eaten and God won’t smite you if you indulge in this practice. It was even harder to understand that people consume beef and it is perfectly normal for them as they are not indoctrinated into the belief that cow is a holy animal, the way I was from the age when my senses were not even fully developed. However, your beliefs and practices cannot be imposed on another person.
Like a rusty coin, with two alternative sides, this debate is going to be here for a long time much to the delight of the debating circuit of the varsity. Till then, I am here with my double-decker beef burger with a side of bacon to see how this whole debate moves forward.
Feature Image credits: WSLM radio