Pardon me for sending this open letter to you, but since you addressed an open letter to us who were against the ban, I just thought I will take this liberty as well.
Firstly let me start by apologising for all the hate that has come your way. Being subjected to hate every other day for my eating habits on twitter and also denied rental homes, etc, I kind of know what it means and let me assure you, that you owe us no apology. I understand that this is the first time you faced such hatred from this side of the divide, and hence was shocked. We have kinda got used to it sadly
Now let me start answering your questions. I did apologise for not being born in 1964 when the meat ban happened and so being unable to outrage then. Also apologised for there being no twitter in 1994 or 2003, which stopped me from outraging on social media about this ban. But most importantly I apologised that I really did not know before few days back, that such a great ban ever existed or I assure you that I would have outraged even then. Hope that response satisfies you. Trust me, I really don’t care who brought the ban as long as it ends.
Now to your next question – about the azaan and temple bells. Honestly I agree it is a botheration and it’s time we stop it. But the difference is its not govt imposed. However should it reduced so as to not bother people, the answer would be yes. Same with Durga Puja stopping all lane traffic in Calcutta. Though unlike other festivals Durga Puja is celebrated by all religions and in every locality, but still why should we bother anyone. Celebrate but without being a nuisance to others.
You wondered why I don’t oppose the alcohol ban. Well I do. Honestly this banning of stuff sounds absolutely against civilization as it stands in 2015. I especially don’t get why Independence day or Republic day is a dry day, when am supposed to be celebrating things and not mourning. I will also be honest I did not outrage over it cause for starters we all keep alcohol stocked up in our bars from before. However this is no excuse, and I think it’s time to stop this nonsense.
But now to the most important part. Why does this ban outrage me more than the others? For starters, its cause a secular government has no business meddling into religious affairs of any. Sadly our governments over the years, have changed the definition of this into appeasement of religions and its time it’s stopped. I will give you a simple example. This meat ban is there on 17th of September. That day, we celebrate our festival and consume mutton as a ritual. This ban stops me from celebrating my festival, my way. I am not insensitive enough to say, as a tit-for-tat you consume mutton as well with me (Yes I did joke that you should, but it was a joke), but that doesn’t mean that I will be ok if someone stops me from celebrating mine. What happens if I go to court tomorrow and say my religious sentiments have been hurt?Now, do you get why this ban makes no sense and why we outraging? Somewhere this craziness needs to stop. And just cause Congress started it or media did not report then or we were not there on social media to outrage earlier, doesn’t mean we cannot correct a wrong. The duration or where is it implemented also is immaterial to the discussion. It’s the idea in itself which we feel is wrong. And if we know it’s wrong, it’s never too late to correct it, isn’t it?After all it doesn’t matter who started it, as long as we end it, especially when we all agree it’s not the right thing to do
And you are right. We all understand that it’s a divide and rule policy of politicians. Every political party will do it. Congress, BJP, AAP, BSP, TMC (and whoever else am missing) will do it. It is time for you and me to not let this divide us. Trust me to think that we non-vegetarians are an insensitive bunch of people, who don’t respect vegetarians is not true. We do. I am a fish, chicken, mutton, pork, beef eating and vegetable hating Bengali and yet if I go out with any vegetarian friend of mine, I either order vegetarian or maximum chicken cause am well aware that smell can be botheration for you people. So don’t assume we are insensitive bunch.
So how about I make a promise to stop this divide? Let me know your dates of festival and except 17th of September, I will with you, eat vegetarian food. I will honour your sentiments, if you promise not to hold a gun to my head ever and tell me not to eat something. Tell the government and Jains who are wanting this ban, to give us the chance to show we can care even without a gun? Some won’t am sure, but hell even this ban isn’t imposed everywhere is it?
Actually wait, even if you don’t make a promise, let me make this promise that except that one day, I will eat vegetarian to respect your sentiments. After all I can’t ask you to do something by holding a gun to your head, whereas am opposing the same gun being held by others. We all need to be the change we want to see, am told. And if possible, don’t credit our every outrage to just it being a BJP thing? Trust us, when we say most of us outrage wrong things irrespective of the party in power. And let me assure you most of us did not even know Amit Shah was a Jain and we don’t even care
So now enjoy your festival. Somehow of late every festival has become a reason for discord among people. But I come from a family where we were taught as kids the words Mazhab nahi sikhata apas mein bair rakhna. So forget the discord and enjoy your festival. And the next person who abuses you for being a Jain, say what I keep telling all trolls I meet “take your opinion and shove it up your backside” ???.
God bless you always.
A complete non-vegetarian and vegetable hating fellow citizen
PS: Also believe when we say, that though we vehemently oppose the ban, under no circumstances do we support what Shiv Sena is doing. We are all citizens of this country with equal rights irrespective of our religion and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or that you need to leave the country, ever
The original letter by Ankit Jain is here http://www.opindia.com/2015/09/open-letter-to-fellow-indians-from-a-jain-youth-over-meat-ban/