Hey Bhaggaawaan !

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KarmaMona a friend of ours says “Hey Bhaggaawaan” rather dramatically when things go wrong. It’s become our little family joke & we say it too whenever things go wrong in a loud & exaggerated fashion … Helps because it makes us all laugh out loud. But what’s happening in our country in the name of religion is definitely no laughing matter. I usually skim the headlines because I really don’t want to start off my day with news about dirty politics, rapes, murders & strife. I’d like to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich.

The “meat ban” though was something I couldn’t ignore especially since I’m half Jain. And every time I read about it I wanted to cry out in exasperation “Hey Bhaggaawaan” !!! I’m a Gujarati by birth. My father is a Brahmin & my mother is a Jain.Through my growing years I’ve been to both the Mandir & the Derasar not because either of my parents were overtly religious … but just because my paternal grandmother was & through her I loved worshipping the little idols, collecting flowers for them & the best part, eating prashad. Next to my Nana’s house was a Derasar & I loved going there too. We cousins would go there in between our games; walking on that cool marble floor, enjoying the peace & especially getting the chandan ka tikka put on my head. I have faint memories of my Mom doing the choviyaar during Paryushan. And I know the Namo Ariyantanam because that was the only prayer she said every morning. Neither of my parents are particularly religious or ritualistic & neither am I though I consider myself deeply spiritual.My parents were vegetarians but started eating non vegetarian food out of curiosity with their meat eating Maharashtrian friends. And though my Nana who was a Jain scholar & has written about the Jain Dharam never stopped my Mom or us from eating non vegetarian food. Ditto for my religious Brahmin grandmother ! In fact she went ahead & told my parents to start making non vegetarian food at home since we all loved it & used to eat it outside. Her only request was that separate vessels were used for cooking the meat etc. Having grown up in such a progressive & liberal family I completely fail to understand why we all can’t be religiously tolerant ??? Is it so difficult to say I’ll practice my religion my way & you practice yours in your way ?

I’ve read various arguments & counter arguments regarding the meat ban. And this is what I understand of it :-

A) it’s been around for years but it’s being politicised right now

B) the jain community is not the one asking for it, it’s the people acting on their behalf.

In principle I’m against the ban !

If people are eating meat the whole year round & it doesn’t affect the sentiments of the Jain community then…why should it suddenly become such an issue only during the holy days of Paryushan ? Aren’t all days holy & isn’t life sacred at every moment ? I’m not even going to get into the whole should we kill animals for food debate because I believe in the circle of life & at certain times in my life I’ve wanted to turn vegetarian because it felt right. Either way it doesn’t grant me the right to tell another person whether he/she should be a vegetarian or non vegetarian… For a few days or forever. That is their choice & I would be infringing upon their personal rights.What about live & let live ? We are a democratic, secular country & our constitution grants the Right to Freedom of Religion. Which means every citizen has the right to profess, practice & propagate any religion of their choice. There shall be no discrimination on grounds of religion.

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And yet every single day in the name of religion people are being killed, discriminated against & persecuted… This is happening not only in our country but all over the world. That’s because we’ve all forgotten our purpose for being on earth. All things have a karma & a reason for being here. Waters karma is to quench thirst. Fires karma is to provide heat. And mans karma is Humanity ! Your karma is to be a vegetarian & mine is to be a non vegetarian but collectively all of us have only one Karma & that is to be a Good Human Being.

If we did that then there would be no need for any of us to cry out in exasperation: Hey Bhagwan, Ya Allah or Dear Lord !

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    1. Manasi ,its such a joy to read somthing written by someone who herself is part jain and has been brought up in such a liberal set up .I too am against the ban ,as nobody ,not religion not any government can tell us what to eat and what not to .I thought we were a democracy .The beauty of this nation is the co existence of the various beliefs and traditions in harmony .Lets not allow petty vote bank politics to create a rift that never was .Our warp and weft v strng .Lets live in harmony and follow our dharma of being human beings first .

  1. Hello Mansi mam..
    Really the blog you hve written is simply awesome…It has touched my heart and definately will touched others too..great job mam…Hats off to you…

  2. Res mam
    U wrote every single word from your heart..such a nice topic n so beautifully explained..thanks for that. I think except religious point of view there is much more to think about the matter.
    Non-veg is bad for health too. We don’t know about the health of that dead meat we r going to take..so this is prohibited according to dharma. This is the real reason I think..
    But on the other hand almost every living creature depends upon other living creator’s meat in wild..reason is to Balance in d wild..
    One more thing.. according to Ayurveda there r 3 गुण in a human. 1 सतव 2 रजस 3 तमस
    सतव गुण hv all human values full of truthfulness second रजस गुण for those who r kings n warriors who need courage to kill ppl in wars I mean they need some levels of cruelty. So they need meat.. But In third तमस गुण cruelty break all it’s boundaries so it’s not needed in society but hv in largest amount.. sad but true..
    Again this is my point of view…..

    1. Thank you Abha … I appreciate your comments on my blog. I have also read about the Ayurvedic point of view & that’s one of the reasons I’d like to turn vegetarian some day.

  3. Very well articulated Manasi! You have been on both sides so your article resonates your true feelings. It’s sad that a religion was getting flak and being badmouthed when we all know there is some other agenda. Live and let live while doing your own Karma is the essence as you have beautifully said.

    1. Abha I totally agree with u!! But clearly that’s not the reason for the ban n certainly not what Manasi has blogged about 🙂 but I personally agree with u onpst fronts n will go veg shortly.. But it’s MY CHOICE, MY DECISION.. No one can ban me !!

  4. What can I say!! True! Every word.. Simple yet deep.. N most importantly, I love the lucidity of ur writing my love..
    Proud beaming husband !!

  5. Hi Mansi., I totally agree with you with the fact that we should not impose our rules and regulations likes and dislikes on others. Every individual is different and so are his /her thoughts. Forget our constitution I think if you are really spiritual or if you truly practise any relegion or believe in God then your mind and soul will always be happy and content no matter person next to you is eating meat or doing something wrong. It’s easier to point others but it’s extremely difficult to improve ourselves or change ourselves.
    I think mansi your blog is really good and hopefully people realises that we should stop doing such silly acts

    1. Absolutely true Palkan … Its better to change ourselves than to try & change the world ! But we can always try to make people see reason 🙂

  6. Sorry Manasi my comment wasn’t complete..
    Lovely perspective fm someone who’s half Jain!! Says a lot about how politicians are trying to change our Mindsets not us! Keep writing

  7. Very well said,, I completely agree. Me too born in a Hindu family and married in s bori family but all these issues have made any hindrance in our day to day life. Infact my son enjoys the best of both the religion. Cause every religion at the end of the day teaches us to be a good human being. Humanity is the religion what we practice and we are Gina inherit the same to our son. I agree with your completely Manasi.

  8. I was missing your writing there for a bit….!
    I wish this artical gets seen by the folks out there who are bent upon taking away our freedom…because one can’t be truly free unless you have the ability to make choices.
    Thank you for another good read, Manasi.

  9. Totally Agree with you Manasi ma’am.. No one force me what I eat or what not. Its my desire I’ll eat veg or non veg..

  10. Mansi-you’ve spoken for every sensible and rational individual…can we wake up and smell the coffee,where’s the world headed, what larger issues plague human existence and here we are, bogged down by what to eat and what not to eat!!! Nailed it! Not to forget you’ve immortalised our dear Mona’s “Hey Bhagwan”.

    1. Thank you Richa 🙂 our Mona darlings exclamation has helped me to articulate my exasperation at this silly debate over the meat ban 🙂

  11. Hi Manasi,

    Totally agree with every word of what you’ve written. In fact you have expressed your thoughts and feelings in such a simple, yet thought provoking manner. Beautifully started, then built up with your views and finally concluded with what you began….hey Bhaggaawaan! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog!

  12. Well written Mansi,Thanks to Sharman to providing link on Twitter,short but efficient blog direct from heart. We cant force our choice to other is the simple logic. 1 political party Banning meat and other opposing it, fact is that both are hurting the sentiment of a religion.

  13. A very well written article with full of facts. I belong to a brahmin family married to a bengali and turning from pure vegetarian to non vegetarian. But in this transformation I didn’t feel bad or shameful that I’m disgracing my religion because God accept same workship from all no matter their devotees eats veg or non veg. Then why on the name of God we humans keep insulting each other and hurting religiously. I think after looking down from heaven even God must be saying “Hey Insaan”.

  14. Hi Manasi,
    Read your blog through shared link by my friend. Very well written. I am from Jain family and obviously i do have many Jain friends who are least interested in banning of meat for whatever reason. We live in a democratic country where we have choice of speech, eat and live, but do we?? Think about it. We have given our leaders unquestionable powers which they dominate on us and end of the day we, the people have to suffer. Banning of meat is one such example of political game wherein people are dragged for no reason.
    Anyways just wanted to make a point as Jains we worship non violence but it doesn’t concern much when it comes what others follow.

  15. Very well said Mansi.. We need to create an environment of live and let live and respect the beliefs and sentiments of other people. Though I am a non vegetarian and never believe in restricting myself for not eating it. For the first time after seeing all this tamasha felt miserable for the chicken and goat that am unable to eat it..

  16. Hi Manasi,

    What a heartfelt take on all the nonsense that’s going on in the name of religion. What happens is people like us – the liberal, peace-loving, non-interfering, tolerant folks have to step in with blogs like yours. Sad we have to articulate our views only in writing, as no one gives us a say on what’s actually happening around us. The politicians/goondas can ignore us for bigger vote banks. But hopefully (and this nation totally lives on a hope and a prayer!) every sane voice like yours will begin to count. We all have to start somewhere and thank you for making this great beginning.
    Ganpati Bappa Morya!!!!

  17. Hi Manasi…ty for again a very clean message note. I am jain and myself have never ever had non-vegetarian food,but that doesn’t mean I want ppl to follow me or any rituals I follow.I totally believe religion & sprituality is very individual thing as u have mentioned. Ty for conveying on behalf of all of us so neatly. I really hope one day whole world wud follow one religion ‘humanity ‘ which wud be above all.

  18. Hi Manasi, I think media has chosen wrong words and as a result, this has created an issue. Not ‘meat ban’ , but they should use ‘slaughter houses will be closed for few days’. This closure is going on since years, as a respect for festival of Jain religion which is based on non-violence. It was not a meat ban, but close of shops. Nobody has forced any person to become vegetarian. They can easily store it at home and I believe, it is also freely available in restaurants in those days. Jains never tried to close slaughter houses forcefully or banning it. But they were criticized from all angles. I was deeply hurt by deeds by some political parties outside Jain societies, in those holy days. It is true that people should have tolrence and should not create an issue from small matter. Jain community is always peaceful and tolerant community and should not be unnecessarily criticised on this matter. After all this happened to them, still they remained totally silent. As you are half Jain, I was expecting that you will understand feeling of Jains. You could have put this matter in a better way by writing about other side also.

    1. I understand the feelings of Jains regardless of the fact that I’m half a Jain & I totally don’t agree with the way certain people behaved outside Jain societies etc.
      Having said that I also believe in live & let live so imposing a ban or wanting slaughter houses to be closed for a few days as a mark of respect is not something I agree to.

      1. Thanks Manasi , for sharing your thoughts. Anyway, it was a good reading and discussion. As you also know , Jain faith is also based on Anekantvaad. i.e. to respect and accept other person’s views and thoughts and it is inbuilt in all of us. Just wanted to share my feelings as the media , radio and some parties, who hurted our feelings, without understanding that we have not done it forcefully and we have not stopped any person eating it. (It is like, dry day declared on Gandhi Jayanti as a respect to Gandhi ji and it should not be made an issue ). Anyway, I forgot to mention earlier that you very well narrated about your childhood days and your family. Even my childhood memories are refreshed by reading this. I will keep on reading your blogs in future. JJ.

  19. Started following you recently and today I read this. Just made me realise you are the same wanna be celebrity blogger, who all want to sound different by supporting beef ban and hating the best thing that has happened to India #NaMo!! Well I bet if this was a pork ban you would all be like yes let’s support it…our “friends” who don’t eat pork need to be supported…..be proud of who you are first….even the west respects Indian culture and traditions more than people who live in India

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