Eid sacrifice: why has mutton got the Hindutva brigade's goat now?
There was a time about two generations ago when a large number of Hindus used to refrain from eating chicken. This was not because they were vegetarian and had some kind of unabiding faith in non-violence. These men and women had no qualms in devouring mutton and a variety of fish. The real reason of staying away from chicken was that only Muslims used to rear chicken at that time. The humble chicken, therefore, was considered "Miyaain", an Islamophobic euphemism collectively used for all things Muslim.
Myths were carefully woven to keep the young away from chicken. Like the one that chicken gravy was so strong that it could seep through seven layers of chapatis. Some Hindus even considered chicken so impure that they wouldn't even let the birds come close to their house, fields and other property. The chicken was maligned only to malign Muslims. This trend saw an erosion with time and chicken gradually found its way into the dining habits of Hindu households.
Surprisingly, some Hindus still stay away from chicken, possibly carrying on their misplaced beliefs in the Muslim, and therefore impure, character of chicken. However, it seems that some Hindu radicals want to move a step ahead now and have found a new kind of meat to be branded "Miyaain". The BJP and the Sangh Parivar's social media army were not alone in raising the bogey of animal-slaughter this Eid-ul-Adha or Bakrid. Their campaign was helped by average Hindus who circulated their messages on platforms like WhatsApp.
The sheer idiocy behind this campaign has only exposed the hypocrisy of certain Hindu radicals that knows no bounds, when it comes to their Islamophobia. Those who sent me these messages include some of my relatives, who, I know for a fact, are avid non-vegetarians. They eat chicken, mutton and a variety of fish all the year around. They anxiously wait for the saavan month of the Hindu calendar to end so that they could dig their teeth into some succulent chicken.
A large part of Holi celebrations for them means an excuse to devour some mutton. They are taught and they in turn teach their growing-up kids to buy only the younger specimens of chicken and goats, for they are the tastiest. Great care is taken to buy fish during monsoons because it is the mating season and you are likely to land yourselves a dead fish with a good load of eggs inside it, that you could mix with some flour to cook crispy pakodas.
This Eid, such people were suddenly found lamenting the sacrifice of a bezubaan or 'tongue-less' animal for celebrating a festival. All because the festival is not theirs and they see those who celebrate it as a threat to their own culture. This "other-isation" was already a shameful phenomenon, but it has hit a new low now. Such kind of hypocritical and blatantly sectarian campaigns are a bad omen for the society.
As reports from Dadri's Bisahra village are pointing out, the right-wing campaign against beef has already altered the customs of an entire community. Many Muslims are already afraid of celebrating their festivals in their own way. What more do we want to do now?