According to a recent survey, 71 percent of Indians over the age of 15 are non-vegetarian (2014). The percentage of non-vegetarians across the country however has dropped from 75 percent in 2004. Brahmins and Jains, the high caste Hindus prefer being Vegans, 1.4% Hinud consume beef! It is also interesting to look at the issue from the economic perspective. The meat slaughter industry contributes $ 1.7 Billion to the UP government alone. Mostly Muslim families are in the business and think that the government is deliberately targeting their livelihood.
This is not the first time Muslims feel cornered in India. It was around 25 years ago when BJP with the aid of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) demolished the Babri Mosque on allegation that it was the birth place of Ram. The massacre of Muslims in Gujrat at the hands of the then CM, Mr. Modi is still afresh in many minds. The US denied him visa on grounds of the gross human rights violations resulting in around 200 deaths, now though the scenario is completely different, as he is closer to Obama and now Mr. Trump more than ever.
To all those who still denounce the two nation theory, simply need to open their eyes. It is not just a beef ban; it is an attack on the livelihoods and an excuse to persecute Muslims in one of the biggest Muslim states in India. It is not Gujrat, it is UP that elected a regime that is saffron clad and is making life tough. The cow is sacred to Hindus but India’s secularism dictates tolerance for all religions hence if Muslims like in the past wanted to consume beef it was tolerated. It is not a subtlety it open denouncement of Muslim religious sentiments at the hands of extremists, a denial of the very ideological foundations of the country. It is easy to talk about the “rights” of people across the border in speeches by a leadership whose entire focus is at derailing progress elsewhere, making other countries their pawns unfortunately the changes within India are anything but disturbing.
Mr. Modi is celebrated as one of the most successful leaders since Indra Gandhi. Indians shares have touched benchmark highs recently. GDP growth rate is estimated to hit 6.9% in 2017-18 in India. All signs point to great progress. There are two aspects of this apparent greatness of course; US inclination towards India to counter China and the Pro-rich policies of the BJP that have created greater income disparity, the recent de-monetization campaign hit the poor. Currently there is bilateral trade of $100 billion Indian ambitions are to expand it to $500 billion with the US. In the current geo strategic context the American intent is more than clear, a counter to China. Perhaps this is the reason why Western humanitarian organizations are rather selective of their discourse in India and matters related to the human outcry from her.
Indians cannot forget the foundations of their ideologies as more and more people are inclined towards intolerance globally religious extremism cannot be viewed from the eyes of one religion or perspective of a certain select people suited to strategic interests. The Modi regime and governments in general have to look at the long run. The World is with them today but one has to be mindful how swiftly things are going downhill and what type of effect it will have on all.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Peshawar
Email: [email protected]