Whether it is India or any other nation, the fact is we need to understand a nation is created by the ethos and ethics of the citizens. After all, it is citizens create a nation that then becomes an identity.
We in India were brought up to believe that all paths to the divine lead to the same destination and most importantly, everyone is free to make their own choice. Now, in the confusion about food and food choices, we have begun adding one more label to the identity of humanity that is actually the only true identity we all have. Food is becoming more political and judgemental than it ever was in the history of India along with a million other labels.
Personally, I happen to be a vegetarian but posts like the one below by Jayshree Shukla always make me feel the identity of humanity and the India I believe in is still alive.
Jayshree says, “Raju (my husband) returned home last night after a longish spell and decided to take me out to Karim (a nearby restaurant) tonight. We were sharing the table with two sweet boys.
“Chicken tikka, chicken curry aur chicken biryani lao” asked the lads of the waiter. Raju started chatting with the boys. We are from Kanpur they said and have just reached Delhi from Vaishno Devi. I was delighted to see that piety had not got the better of our dear lads. From VaishnoDevi they had landed straight into the arms of Karim and Jama Masjid (a famous mosque).
This is my India”
Like Jayshree, I hope and pray that the identity of Indianness remains inclusive whatever one may call it. After all, don’t we all wish to leave a better world for our children by teaching them to connect and bond instead of focussing on whom to hate and avoid and why? For this, should we not set examples ourselves by remaining human and humane ? Is this not our primary identity whatever else we may be?