Pak beef relief: Let Nepalis decide, why should we judge?

Vikram Kilpady
Vikram KilpadyMay 01, 2015 | 11:23

Pak beef relief: Let Nepalis decide, why should we judge?

It is a news story as far as news stories go. Pakistan is the main “culprit” of this masala blame-game flick with the poor Hindu brethren of Nepal, the quiet sufferers whose faith has been destroyed by the consumption of beef masala packets sent by Islamabad. The heroes, of course, are Indian doctors who pointed out the gross insult and rescued the dharma of the earthquake-shaken folk of Nepal. And all of India is up in arms from the armchair.

Before you say holy cow, take a deep breath. The people of Nepal could do with more relief material than the seemingly Himalayan controversy over food preferences. Indian doctors, who are doing yeoman service for the quake-hit, didn’t like eating beef masala and, therefore, refused them. But why go for the Pakistani neck? It is for the Nepalis, who don’t want to eat it, to refuse or throw away but have they eaten the packets or not is yet to be ascertained. So what if they ate it? Relief means relief, if the hungry don’t have access to kitchens and food materials, they are welcome to eat what they want. Survival is paramount not cultural sensibilities when it is between life and death.

In 1972, a Uruguayan flight carrying 45 passengers crashed in the snowclad Andes. Of them, 16 survived by eating the dead passengers whose remains were frozen in the snow. The Nepalis haven’t been forced into cannibalism. We don’t know how many Nepalis are yet to be rescued. We don’t know how many have died quiet lonely deaths in the dust and gloom.

Hope it doesn’t come to that but what’s our beef in letting them eat what comes in as relief and not drop our heavy politico-cultural baggage in their corner?

But what would Indians Incensed say to the dehydrated man who was rescued 80 hours after the quake, who kept himself alive by drinking his urine? That he shouldn’t have swigged it in the interest of universal human decency and all that jazz?

The maker of this product is the main supplier to the Pakistan Army and therein lies the tale which is being made into a tiger chasing its tail. Beef is one of the staples of Pakistanis, civilian and army. Given the proclivity of human understanding and belief, some think that eating a larger animal contributes a larger proportion of strength. This is the reason why beef dominates the diet in most armies across the world including Pakistan. What Indian soldiers eat is subject to cultural norms more than diet requirements for men and women in combat.

Indian doctors could read the English letters on the food packets and raise their righteous alarm. But could they read the Mandarin on the relief packets sent from Beijing? Or did they assume it to be vegetable chowmein? What if there are tiger parts (am joking here)? Or worse.

Even otherwise what if Pakistan sent in beef masala packets, the people who consumed it can always wash away their sins in the many rivers that provide salvation on auspicious days in India. The spiritual cleansing offered by the rivers of India can rescue those “wayward” who swallow the packets in the name of survival. All free, no charge.

Here’s a doggerel composed on the quick in the newsroom:

      • Nepal expected earthquake relief,
      • Pakistan ne bheja beef,
      • Hindustan ko kya takleef,
      • Wah wah, Nawaz Sharif.

Chew on that.

Last updated: May 01, 2015 | 11:23
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