Jains are a community who follow the teachings of Lord Mahavir and other ‘Tirthankaras’. They believe in Ahinsa or non-violence, and are strict vegetarians. There is a large population of Jains in the western states of the country i.e Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra. The Paryushan festival is perhaps the most important one for Jains. During the 9 day period of the festival, Jains do fasting and other spiritual acts e.g. recitation of their scriptures.
As you might have read in the newspapers and on news channels, a certain controversy going by the name of Meat Ban has been talk of the town since last week.
It all started around 6 days ago, when news reports started coming in from Mira-Bhayander, an area in Mumbai, that the selling of meat will be banned for a period of 8 days during the Jain fasting period – Paryushan.
Reading the news reports, people from different parts of the country and different sections of the society started to voice their views against and for the ban citing various reasons such as “How can one community force a ban down another people’s throat?”, “How does someone completely unrelated to you, whose life choices don’t affect yours in any way , affect you so much that you have to “appeal” to the STATE to “not eat meat/display meat” everywhere?” to “It is about respecting a community’s wishes for a few days and hence in a country like India with such tremendous diversity of religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, etc we must respect the feelings of all communities.” to “The restriction is only for a short period of 9 days.”
But then the ban started to gain the attention of personalities such as Sonam Kapoor – an actress, Anand Ranganathan – Contributing Editor to newslaundry.com among many others, who tweeted against the ban, as well as from Mr Subramanian Swamy – Former Union Cabinet Minister supporting the ban.
After a couple of days, news reports from states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir also started to come in informing the public of the same kind of ban of meat is also taking place during Paryushan. Tweets, blogs, Facebook posts regarding the Meat ban were being used by the people to air their respective views, where the major consensus was against the banning of meat.
Then, on 9th September, 2015, Shiv Sena Chief, Mr Uddhav Thackeray declared that “They will ensure that no ban on sale of meat occurs for the eight days.” With Shiv Sena entering the scene, the momentum for the demand against the Meat Ban started to grow, and now this particular scenario was being used by various media outlets to put the blame completely on the current political party, BJP, which was elected to run the country in May 2015.
The whole ban controversy took a turn for the strange when it was announced that only the chicken and mutton meat is banned and not the meat of the fish, because fish isn’t slaughtered and it dies when pulled out of water.
On 13th September, Shiv Sena activists also protested the Meat ban by wearing meat garlands and eating as well as selling meat opposite the gates of a Jain temple in Mumbai.
However, on digging a bit deeper, it was found out that the ruling for the ban on selling of meat was actually put into place by the Congress government in the year 1994. 10 years later, the ban was extended from 2 days to 4 days and it was the proposition for these 4 days to be increased to 8 days that was brought in by Dinesh Jain, a BJP corporator on 4th September 2015.
With controversies regarding the meat ban growing in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir also growing, only time will tell how things pan out during the Paryushan period.
Let us know in the comments below, your views regarding the whole #MeatBan controversy.