Friday, November 16, 2012

How not to promote vegetarianism (NaBloPoMo Day 16)

NaBloPoMo November 2012
One post every day in November

So you love tandoori chicken? And you’re partial to omelette? Or maybe you can’t resist seafood? Beware!

There is a whole generation of young and impressionable school children who are being convinced about the absolute blackness of your character.

Students of Class VI studying in CBSE schools are being fed some radically “creative” stuff. A school textbook, titled New Healthway: Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex Education, Games and Exercises, has the following to say about you on page 56 of its hallowed pages. It says, “They [non-vegetarians] easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes.”

Lest the roster of crimes laid at the doorstep of a carnivorous diet not succeed in putting you off your mutton rogan josh or spicy chicken biryani, here’s more. The book goes on to enlighten you on just why meat is so tasty. Not the spices used to flavour it. In fact, better not ask unless you want to lose your appetite completely. What? You still want to know? You must have some sort of a death wish. Anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you. According to the all-knowing book, “it is the waste products which largely produce the flavour of meat.”

The publishers have proved that if you want to create a nation of bigoted, prejudiced individuals, this is the right way to do it. Poison at its source the font from which children will drink.

The book in question has been printed by S Chand, noted publishers who supply books to schools all over the country. If this is the sort of drivel that is being dished out in the name of education, is it any wonder that so many adults today are so woefully misinformed? For that matter, the learning on offer here is not so different from that put forth by the khaps of Haryana who insisted that fast food is responsible for the rising number of rapes. Begone from me, chowmein.

The book goes on to cheer the Japanese for the greens in their diet. It says, “They [the Japanese] are vegetarians and live longer than most other peoples. The generous use of green leafy vegetables, soya beans and grams has helped the people to maintain vigour, strength and endurance throughout the centuries.” Sushi and sashimi? Never heard of them?

Food isn’t the only subject upon which the publishers choose to follow a policy of “Have Opinion, Will Express.” Girls, the book says, should settle down in marriage between the ages of 18-25. “To get married without a bad name is a dream of every young girl.”

Dear publishers, if you want to promote vegetarianism, there are other ways to do it. How about arguing that a purely vegetarian diet would put far less strain on the earth’s resources? Or that it would be more humane?

Also, how about not bamboozling and bullying your little readers? But that would require too much effort on your part. It’s so much easier to resort to the devices of your imagination and build an intricate web of untruths. And if you are only selling falsehoods, does that mean you too are eating non-veg food?





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