News agency ANI made its second public misstep in a week on Tuesday when it tweeted out photos of banana leaves being used to parcel and serve food in Kerala, suggesting this alternative to plastic was a recent phenomenon.
And South Indians were immediately like...
There was speculation for weeks that the Modi government would announce a ban on single-use plastic items on Wednesday, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. ANI’s discovery that banana leaves could be used as plates came just before news broke that the Modi government had shelved the ban plan. An official told Reuters that the government had consciously decided not to disrupt businesses at a time of slowing economic growth.
In a now-deleted tweet, ANI wrote on Tuesday, “Restaurants in Trivandrum are using banana leaves as an alternative to plastic plates, to serve food.”
It followed up it up with another tweet with photos of take-away food parcels being wrapped in banana leaves, a common practice in South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Kerala also famously serves the traditional Onam sadya on banana leaves. So people were flabbergasted that the news agency was just discovering this age-old practice.
And, of course, it’s not just Kerala. Multiple states across the country, particularly in South India, use banana leaves to serve and parcel food.
Others joined in as well.
And it’s not just India. Banana leaves are used to serve, steam and pack food in many Southeast Asian countries.
This ridiculous situation would be hilarious if ANI, which has now turned into a primary news source for many organisations thanks to its extensive reach and government contacts, did not make a habit of it.
Just last week, ANI deleted a news story it had published which claimed to quote Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s staff as saying his wife Bushra Bibi’s image did not appear in mirrors.
While Alt News debunked the claim, ANI’s tweet is still up and the story was picked up by several news outlets, including news channel Times Now.
In fact, ANI then went on to publish a news story on the divided opinions its own article had helped foment.
Um, ANI, when you’re already in a hole, please stop digging.
We leave you with a reminder of the time Kerala Tourism’s Twitter account posted a photo of some vegetables claiming it was aviyal, and got a lesson from Malayalis.