NEW DELHI — A Muslim man who does not eat pork himself, wants to take out for lunch others who do, to make a point about personal freedom, tolerance and harmony during these divisive times.
"The offer is open to all, regardless whether I know them or not. The five people will be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis," Ashley Np, a professor at Delhi's elite St Stephen's College, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. Islam forbids Muslims from eating pork.
"I don't eat pork for religious, cultural and personal reasons, but that doesn't mean others can't eat it," Ashley told HuffPost India. An independent MLA was today beaten up by BJP members inside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for hosted a beef party in Srinagar.
Sheikh Abdul Rashid had hosted the party to send this message to those supporting a ban on beef in the state: "No courts or legislature can prevent people from eating what they want.”
Ashley asked people to message him their names and numbers if they liked eating pork and wanted to be a part of this gathering. Ashley, who has never eaten pork, said that he will take them out for lunch and order them their favourite dish.
Ashley said that he came up with this idea after he heard of the beef festivals that are being held in the country to protest the tragic lynching of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob on the suspicion that he had slaughtered a calf in Dadri, in Uttar Pradesh.
Ashley said that he had read somewhere that Mahatma Gandhi, a teetotaller, had served Muhammad Ali Jinnah alcohol when he had gone to visit Gandhi. "I am not trying to be Gandhi, but why can't we follow this principle? If Gandhi could do this, why can't we?," he asked.
"I know eating pork is not banned anywhere in India. Nor has anyone got beaten to death for it. But it is good to give some of these people a sample of democracy, choices and humane, friendly behaviour. We don't always have to militantly and cruelly insist everyone follows what we believe in," he said.
Meanwhile, the family members of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was beaten to death on a street at Bishahra village near Dadri last week over rumours of eating beef, have left their home for the comparative safety of Delhi.
The St Stephen's professor has been inundated with pork meal requests after his Facebook post. He is now trying to figure when it would be a good time to arrange the meet.