The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has provoked this beef.
A few days ago, the MCD ordered that all meat-vendors and all restaurants in the Capital must forthwith declare whether the meats they serve come from animals that have been slaughtered by halal or jhatka.
Why is the MCD so concerned about our diet?
Well, the MCD says that this rule is important because for religious reasons, Hindus and Sikhs are not supposed to eat halal meat but eat only jhatka meat; whereas for religious reasons Muslims are not supposed to eat jhatka meat but eat only halal meat.
The execrable sketch below—created from elements I’ve stolen from the usual (quoted) sources and embellished to suit the context—expresses my views on this subject of paramount municipal importance and notional nutritional significance.
As diet—especially anything that is said or written about things like beef or pork or halal or jhatka or non-veg or veg—is also an area of paramount national sensitivity, and I don’t wish anyone to take offence at this cartoon and chase me through the streets with long sharp weapons with intent to deprive me of my sacred, albeit ageing, secular organs (whether by jhatka or halal or both), I hereby hastily and solemnly swear and declare as follows:
- That I have eaten, eat and shall eat anything at all that is served with affection and love.
- That I have enthusiastically and of my own free will been non-vegetarian since the age of four, when my dear lifelong friend and sister Ranjana (then five) fed me on regular basis with an assortment of beetles, bugs, ants, and miscellaneous fauna painstakingly gathered from our garden in Shillong (they were quite tasty, I recall…though I’m not sure whether they were halal’ed or jhatka’ed).
- That I have cooked, do cook, and will cook food— vegetarian mainly but also non-vegetarian—for my own survival and for friends (who have so far survived my cooking)
- That I make utmost efforts to be gentle, humane and cause minimal pain when I cut, chop, break, crack open, peel, or otherwise assassinate the raw materials – be they cabbages or coconuts, eggs or eggplants.
- That I count, among the greatest honours I’ve received in life, the privilege to hold the halal knife on the occasion of Bakr Id, when a lamb was sacrificed at the home of my dear lifelong friend and brother Nisar (the ceremony was profound; the lamb was delicious).
- That I still do believe and hold true the principle that my vegetarian parents taught me as a child—that what a person chooses to eat or not eat is entirely his or her personal business, just as what religion a person believes in or does not believe in is entirely his or her personal business.
In conclusion, may I offer the following haiku to the Officialdom of the MCD:
Free thy Municipal brains
From rank abattoir strayings…
‘Stead, clean the choked drains!