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‘The Government Can’t Make Decisions Governing Morality And Traditions On My Behalf’

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By Jahnvi Desai:

In light of the recent Bombay High Court order, dismissing nine separate petitions to temporarily stay the ban on beef for the festivities of Bakri Eid in Maharashtra, I decided it was imperative for a young adult like me to voice my opinion on the nauseating trend of banning, that has somehow found its way into routine Indian governance.

censorship, bans in india

I completely comprehend and respect the concept of ‘Hindutva’ along with its ideologies and beliefs, however what I absolutely fail to understand is why an ideology followed and approved by one sect of people has implications and bearings on another, in what is probably the largest secular nation of the 21st century. It has been assured to us time and again by way of a plethora of judgements given by courts of different statures, that every individual holds the right to profess a religion of his/her choice. Yet this right seems to be restricted Why does a Muslim or Christian person not hold the right to eat beef? Is it simply because he/she lives in a country predominantly populated by Hindus? Since when did the foundation of democracy become so weak as to allow the majority will to crush that of the minority?


Just to highlight recent events, meat sale was prohibited for four days in Maharashtra to honour the Jain festival of Paryushan, but ten days later when a petition was made to temporarily lift the ban on beef to honour a Muslim festival, such a petition is not admissible. Whatever happened to Article 25 of the Constitution, that guarantees every individual the right to freely practice religion?

However, the question of pertinence here is not that of religion. The real question is why the Government believes it is justified in imposing such restrictions on the common regime of people. Is it because it believes the an easy solution to any hindrance is to simply ban it? Does the issue of child pornography really get resolved by banning porn all together? Will men not be sexually incited because a certain scene from a movie has been edited by the Censor board? Does the drug issue get resolved by videotaping foreigners attending parties in Karnataka?

Another possible argument could be that of Indian traditions and morality, but who is to decide what falls within the parameters of such traditions? Is it the MPs who were themselves caught watching porn amidst the parliamentary session or those charged with involvement in scams worth thousands of crores? Do our traditions really expect us to not watch a documentary depicting the ideologies of the Nirbhaya rapists, or do they prohibit us from indulging in sexual humour like that of the AIB roast?

My contention here is simple. The Government does not hold the right to make decisions governing morality and traditions on my behalf. We as a class of citizens, have developed a rather tolerant attitude over the years, and constitutionally speaking, we ourselves hold the right to make these decisions. But then again, I’m just a young adult who doesn’t follow the ever so glorious traditional Hindutva philosophy so what do I know?

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  1. Suraj Godiyal

    See miss, your argument holds no legal power to give it a position in front of what is known as law. If you look back more than a decade ago, a law was already passed in majority of the states for not slaughtering cows that are healthy and this law was passed not on the basis of your so called concept of Hinduism but purely on rational and economical reasons. So, it is the Hindu majority that has always been tolerant. Try eating pork in Pakistan and Gulf nations to see the effect. Well coming back to the point, if you talk about religious right, we as majority of Hindus have the religious right to protect gau sampada as mentioned in gau purana. And you can see they wrote down a whole freaking book on not killing cows. I dont think it is a part of any kind of right in any religion of the minorities in this nation to slaughter cows right??

    Seeing the fact that you are a law student, you still got to learn to make statements that can win

    1. indian muslim

      You see, the kind of argument you present is exactly what she is trying to address. You can’t have pork in the gulf countries and Pakistan, true. That is because they’re not secular countries. Ours is, whether you like it or not. By banning anything because of “religious rights” of the majority, we are just becoming more like the countries we mentioned- intolerant undemocratic nations. And we as Indians need to be better than that.
      If you think India should be a Hindu country, just come out and say that outright.

    2. Suraj Godiyal

      Nope, I just want to be clarified how does the food habits of a certain portion of a population, be it anybody, outweigh the religious sentiments of the majority. I am not intolerant but just curious to know. Well, talking about secularism – The western and Indian secularism are entirely different. In the west it is a concept where religion and state are separated, here it is about equal religious freedom. But how is eating beef a religious right??

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