Wednesday, December 6, 2023

IIT’s Veg vs. Non-Veg Clash: A Caste Conundrum?

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Although IIT Bombay is always in the news, this time its news was viral on social media for all the wrong reasons(IIT’s Veg vs. Non-Veg). IIT’s name and prestige were tarnished by a scuffle that broke out in one of this hostel mess. In an act of inclusion and diversity IIT had designated 6 out of 129 tables for vegetarians only. In an unexpected turn of events, this decision has escalated into a significant controversy.

A handful of non-vegetarian students decided to occupy the vegetarian tables, not only flouting the latest mess rules but also leaving their vegetarian counterparts in a state of shock. This provoked an argument that led to an exchange of blows. This unruly act was labeled as a ‘protest’ and resistance against ‘Brahmanical’ ideology. Thus, it raises a question, why is vegetarianism perceived as Brahman virtue? Moreover, why does any protest by a social science student find a connection to caste?

The Pseudo-Protest Against ‘Brahmanism’: Unpacking the Motives

IIT-Bombay students who eat non-veg asked to use separate plates | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
PC Hindustan Times

Later investigations of the chaos uncovered that the ‘protest’ was orchestrated by students from the Humanities and Social Sciences department. The incident was portrayed as a stand against ‘Brahmanism.’ This tag in itself ignites a broader debate about the association of vegetarianism with caste. However, one student, who spoke to the media, regularly occupies the vegetarian tables hails from a backward caste in Uttar Pradesh. He is sincerely pursuing his research in Science.

The student expressed his dismay at the situation. Moreover, his family background highlighted the disconnect between the non-existent link between the incident and caste politics.

Casting Vegetarianism as Casteist: The Left-Liberal Influence

Vegetarian Vs Non-Vegetarian Diet : Which One Is Better?
PC Krishi Jagran

This incident at IIT Bombay is not an isolated occurrence but rather a reflection of the broader narrative that has emerged in recent times. Vegetarianism, once a personal dietary choice, is now being linked to caste by certain groups. However, the question is why being a vegetarian is equated with being ‘elitist casteist’ or upholding Brahmanical values. Is being a Vegan not a form of vegetarianism? Why is a Vegan celebrated while a Vegetarian is shamed? 

The answer lies in the leftist and liberal influence in shaping this perception in Bharat. The narrative of vegetarianism being inherently tied to upper-caste virtues has gained traction. The tag of ‘elite Brahman’ and ‘elite casteist’ is a free pass to social acceptance in certain circles. Those who advocate diversity and secularism are unable to appreciate the diverse nuances of Sanatana dietary practices. This deliberate framing and narrative is used to keep Hindus divided in the nation. Moreover, it is used to exploit the sentiments of Hindus against each other by further exacerbating caste disparities.

Using Caste to Divide Hindus

Caste and Politics Class 10 - GeeksforGeeks
PC GeeksforGeeks

The Divide-and-Rule policy did not leave Bharat with the British. The left and liberals frequently use this policy to ensure that the Hindus of India do not unite. Moreover, they create divisive narratives to twist any media byte. Thereafter, they exploit the created rifts within the Hindu community. The case of Sudha Murthy is another example of building a caste-based narrative. The lady faces criticism for her dietary choices and preferences. The left and liberals, dog whistle their couterie to ensure that the portrayal of vegetarianism is always linked with elite casteist mentality and presumed Brahmanical superiority. Such narratives repeatedly tear apart the Hindus of Bharat. 

In a society that thrives on diversity and pluralism, it is crucial to recognize that dietary choices, including vegetarianism, are personal. They should not be reduced to issues of caste. Moreover, Hindus of Bharat should open their eyes wide and observe how the leftists and liberals are sowing discord within the Hindu community. Only by dispelling such misconceptions, can Bharat and Bhartvasi walk towards a brighter tomorrow.

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