AMU Meat-Less; Communal Card or Economic Sanctions?
When agenda of the government is open to hurt the community in every possible way, it becomes necessary for the representatives of the community to rise and resist.
Are students starving? Don’t they have anything to eat? Why are these Muslims so obsessed with beef? Isn’t this a victimhood card AMUSU president is playing? Abe kuch din gosht nahi khaoge to mar jaoge? (Will u cease to live, If u won’t eat meat for somedays?AMU must focus on education rather on the beef controversy. Wondered!! Wait , this is not me but it is how people on social media responded with counter questions and suggestions after the report breaks over the scarcity of red meat in AMU campus. AMUSU president, Faizul Hasan, speaks out over not serving the dish as ‘forceful act for vegetarianism’ and commented the situation as ‘unacceptable’. In his letter addressed to Vice chancellor, he wrote the pathethic conditions in all the dinning halls due to this beef ban and the resulting strike called by meat suppliers across the state. There was no controversy in his words, he was just requesting the VC to ensure the supply of meat for dinning halls from a single legal supplier so that resident memebers don’t suffer.But then, everything is political and so is this, they say!
It is pertinent to mention that Muslim University shelters nearly 10,000 students across the country in 19 different residential Halls. And buffalo meet is almost a daily served meal on the dining table. Nearly 500 kg of meat is consumed on daily basis in various halls in addition to the vegetables & other alternate food items.The scarcity of red meat is the result of a statewide crackdown over the ‘illegal’ slaughter houses after the Yogi government bagged the chair in Lucknow,and subsequente declaration of indefinite strike of meet sellers thus blocking supply chain completely.As per the reports of TOI, 3 out 7 slaughterhouses in the city are shut down and rest 4 are not delivering any amount of meat because of unavailability of animals.
The heat of this coerecive order of Yogi regime reached to the AMU after the disappearance of delicate and widely acknowledged Lucknowi Tundey Kebab and the refusal of carnivorous of Kanpur zoo to have chicken over their beloved buffalo meet. However, if to believe the certain mainstream media outlets, the controversy only began when AIMIM patron Asadudin Owaisi, took to twitter over disappearence of red meat from the menu in dinning halls at AMU. Before that everything was smooth and under controlled. Strange?
Besides this all arguments from inside or outside the campus to ignore this issue are fraud. No, none of the students is starving neither Muslims are obsessed with beef. The issue is totally political to divide and polarize the state on the already divided lines to satisfy the hardline votebank of the present government. Knowing the fact that most of the butchers are Muslims who are involved in retail beef business and thus shrinking the economic strata is the best way to push the community into further economic backwardness.
Also the claim of term ‘illegal’ has its own flaws when nothing less than 90 percent of the economy is itself informal. Developing nations like that of India have its own backlash and informality is one among them. Very few shops and outlets do business with the legal papers and in such cases vandalizing will only add distress and chaos. There are all the scopes of bringing them under the umbrella of the formal economy but all that depends upon the intention of the state. And the objective of Yogi Government is all open. Isn’t it?
BBC in one of their stories spoke to different individuals of UP involved in this business directly or indirectly after the crackdown of the alleged illegal slaughterhouses.
“I have no money since my shop shut two weeks ago. I don’t know how to feed my children and aging parents. Is it because I am a Muslim or a meat trader?” , says a meat trader. Almost similar is the case with each of the butcher who are facing the wrath of the government.
Closure of slaughter houses has affected various sectors of medicine, tannery, and handicraft industry since the bones, blood, hides of buff and bull were used in these industries. But who cares? People see it as an issue of communal divide only. This issue is more of economics than of any other thing.
“The buff ban has been a very celebrated affair amongst the saffronised areas of Uttar Pradesh. But, nobody from the government paid heed over the drawbacks of the ban, to name few there has been a loss of employment at a large scale”, Mirah Zamin, a Lucknow-based journalist shared the insight. And, for the worst I would say that UP has lost a major share of its export economy because it was the largest supplier of Buff meat, she communicated over the mail.
A new black market is also popping up in the region and to further disadvantage it is already flourishing. But,what matters for the present governemnt which rose to power by manafacturing such communal hullabaloos is to satisfy the hardcore cadre of their party and to prepare a turf for 2019 parliament elections.
Aljazeera in its detailed reportage on this order introduces their inside story like this, “Police in India’s Uttar Pradesh have been closing dozens of slaughterhouses, leading to a meat shortage in the state that is home to 200 million people.Politicians say the crackdown is about licences, but government critics say it is about religion.Muslims say they are being targeted.Is it just about meat or an ominous indicator of rising Hindu nationalism?”
Well coming back to Muslim University row, there is no logical evidence to undermine the statement of AMUSU president. Replacing the dish of buffalo meat will definitely add an extra economic burden on students, most of whom come from poor families. Since the prices of vegetables & other food items have also risen abruptly and will continiously rise in order to accommodate the increase in their demand . Hence there is no point of playing victimhood card by AMUSU president.Given the fact that AMU is the largest residential campus in the country and the resident members are served three meals in a day in their respective dinning halls at a paltry sum of Rs. 1000 (±300) per month. This decesion of UP government is directly going to effect the economic condition of students and the community they came from because it may likely cause hike in dinning charges, thus adding an economic burden to the lower class and poor families of the students.
Also, a suggestion to talk about education in spite of food scarcity ( which in this case is Meat) in campus, reveals a kind ignorant attitude. Defending the political right or resisting anti-civilian agenda of the government is part of university education. When agenda of the government is open to hurt the community in every possible way, it becomes necessary for the representatives of the community to rise and resist.
*Author is an Economic graduate from AMU. He carries experience as a freelance journalist based in Delhi. He is also actively involved with Environmental issues and works with Reap Benefit to find solution in sustainable way. His passion include writing and reciting Urdu poetry, exploring new places, photography, reading novels and music.He can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/meanwarulhoda
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.