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Dear PM, I'm A Proud Hindu But The Meat Ban Scares Me

17/09/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Hindustan Times via Getty Images
MUMBAI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 10: A couple of crow enjoying meat portions at Crawford meat market on the first day of a four-day ban on the sale of meat on the occasion of Jain holy festival of Paryushan on September 10, 2015 in Mumbai, India. Earlier this week, the BMC imposed a ban on sale of meat on four days of the Paryushan festival, while the adjoining Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation in Thane had declared a complete ban during September 11-18. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Dear Prime Minister Modi,

I spent the first 23 years of my life in Kolkata and the other half in the United States.

I was born in the cosmopolitan city to a Hindu mother and a Sikh father, and I married a Catholic.

I spent my mornings reciting the Gayatri mantra, the Sikh ardas and the Lord's Prayer at school.

I didn't identify myself as a Hindu or a Sikh.

But when I came to America, I realised that I was mostly Hindu because India's bloodline is rich with Hindu sanskriti, its pujas, its folklore, its music and its food.

I will always be a Hindu. It's true, it's in my DNA. But I was always taught Hinduism isn't a religion. It's a way of life. You feel the spirituality and you practice good karma.

You are rooted in India and in Hinduism forever, it doesn't matter which caste or religion you are or whom you marry.

And I am proud of my Hindu roots. I am enriched and enlightened by my culture. But now, watching from abroad, I am distressed, dismayed and disappointed in all these bans that are forced by your BJP on the people.

To be respectful of Hinduism and to be ambitious in the pursuit of preserving and cherishing is one thing but to fanatically and obsessively enforce bans on food, especially meat, is stepping into dangerous territory.

It sets a precedent for intolerance and divides the country. By creating the impression that one religion is superior, your government will run the risk of isolating and angering all the minorities.

One of the most despicable and shameful episodes in history was when Adolf Hitler began his hateful rhetoric against Judaism with the differences between the "chosen Aryan race" and the Jews.

The world has never quite recovered from that dark period. You, Prime Minister Modi, were elected on a platform of hope and positivity, by promising to usher India into a new era.

I would respectfully point out to you that this is not the way. For India to take its place among the great nations of the world, it must be a free, democratic country.

People must have basic rights, like the right to choose.

I eat chicken, fish and beef. I also love vegetarian foods and I am very partial to Gujarati thalis and delicacies. Our food is steeped in our heritage.

And if you want Non Resident Indians and others to come to India, to invest, to visit and yes, to eat, you need to take a step back from the bans.

We have to able to eat everything.

Sincerely,

An Indian woman, whose weekly recipes include dal, rice, paranthas, papads, mutton kebabs, tandoori fish and chicken butter masala. Along with visits to chaat houses and dosa restaurants.

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