Why Beef and Pork Food Festival at JNU?

The New Materialists

Comrades, we have recently seen the Janmastami celebrations in JNU by right wing and casteist forces i.e. ABVP and NSUI in many places of JNU. Celebration of the Hindu festivals (in the name of celebrating Culture) is the act of enhancing and strengthening the caste system. Krishna, the god of Hindus who propagated Varna system in Bhagavad Gita and was an eve teaser and womanizer was celebrated and was shown as role model though he was the symbol of Patriarchy. Thus Celebrating Janmastami is the celebration of patriarchy and Varna system.

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When the Durga pooja celebration was made as a proposal there was a tough resistance from the progressive forces. But now the scenario has changed. Every party engaged in vote bank politics does not want to raise the issue of celebrating Hindu festivals in the supposed Secular campus, where even the Bhang (prepared from the leaves of Cannabis plant, which is banned in many countries) is allowed in mess during Holi. If this is the case, why no Beef and Pork is available in any single dhaba at JNU?

Celebrating other minority festivals is different from celebrating Hindu festivals. Here in Hindu religion, the festivals are celebrated to continue the Brahminical order of caste system. But we have also seen a mysterious silence by the official left organizations in this campus regarding the Janmastami celebration and in the issue of beef and pork. Their vote bank politics and the brahminical nature might have stopped them from coming out openly against Janmastami celebration and in support of beef and pork issue. When we successfully conducted the public meeting on "The politics of food culture – The Holy cow and the unholy Swine" we saw the support of progressive students of this campus in a large number. In this situation a question arises of what is the need of conducting a food festival particularly of beef and pork. Why should we celebrate openly? Why it is in the educational institutions? Why at JNU?

When we asked many of the so called comrades about the celebration of beef and pork festival, they said that celebrating beef and pork festival is a sentimental issue. They advised us to cook beef or pork in our rooms and they promised to join us. So cooking beef and pork in room is not sentimental but openly celebrating is problematic for them. Because the public sphere belongs only to the hegemonic culture that is Brahmanism.

In India, the public space is not yet public i.e. not for Muslims, Buddhists, Christians or any other religion but only for Hinduism. The Public space in India is private space for Hindu Brahminical forces and thus nobody else can enter into this "public space". All the beef shops in India in many of the cities including Hyderabad are pushed into interior areas. Now the democratic space in India is shrinking and JNU as an institution is not an exception to it.

Public Space is a powerful space that it should be characterized by the participation of all kinds of culture, all kinds of beliefs and all kinds of communities. The so called modern India is only an institutional India and that institutional India is brahminical as well. The newly constructed institutional India is only for the Brahminical culture and not for others. That is the reason that the fight with the brahminical forces is more bitter and tougher in the institutions. The Institutions are the place where the caste and communal become consolidated, as a ploy of the ruling class. Outside society is more progressive than the institutions.

Regarding Pork eating, last time we have seen a posters in the name of "Students against Beef and Pork" but posted by the Hindu fundamentalists forces. Here comes the question why they are so concerned about Pork? Because they are afraid that allowing pork will lead to beef also. When Prof. Kancha Ilaiah put a question towards the Muslim students that do they have any problem if students cook pork in the campus, in single voice all of them said "NO". Pork is already served in this campus in "The North East Festivals" and "International Food Festivals".

So our Muslim friends do not have any problem in cooking pork in this campus, but the Hindu fundamentalist forces do. We should be very careful about the ploy of the Hindu fundamentalist forces that suddenly turned in to a godfather supporting the right of the minorities. This is the foul play to separate the progressive forces and the minorities. We should be aware of it and should not give any chance for them to achieve their motive. So celebrating beef and pork eating is not a simple act of eating beef and pork in the institutions but as a symbolic act against the hegemony of Brahminism as Babasaheb Ambedkar taking water from the pond (in Mahad) was not a simple act of drinking water but to challenge the hegemony of the caste system. This is to break the hegemony of Brahminism in the campus of JNU.

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[Via Anoop Patel]