From beef biryani to shawarma and now pani puri, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s “gastronomical” politics doesn’t appear to stop.
In lower than every week, the ruling celebration in Tamil Nadu has raked up one controversy after one other, utilizing meals as a weapon of assault.
The newest subject is state greater schooling minister Ok Ponmudy’s assertion that individuals who communicate Hindi are those that promote “pani puri”.
At a convocation ceremony held on the Coimbatore-based Bharathiar College, the minister was talking about the advantages of the Nationwide Training Coverage and the DMK’s stand on a two-language strategy.
Utilizing the chance to focus on Hindi as a language, the minister quipped, “It was mentioned that in case you study Hindi you’ll be capable of discover jobs. If that was so, who’re the individuals promoting pani puri in Coimbatore?”
The DMK was fast to defend its minister’s comment, claiming there was nothing improper with it and including that many Tamilians have learnt a smattering of Hindi phrases like “khatta, meetha, bhaiya” from these very pani puri sellers.
The assertion clearly had derisive undertones, however the celebration countered it with statements claiming it shouldn’t be perceived as an “insult”.
“The minister was plainly stating a proven fact that in Tamil Nadu the Hindi-speaking individuals promote pani puri, which isn’t a local meals of the state. Have a look at the migration knowledge; individuals from north India are those who come in direction of the south for jobs,” mentioned DMK spokesperson Advocate Saravanan Annadurai to News18.
“Promoting pani puri is an honourable job identical to promoting tea and pakoras. We don’t hate pani puri walas. We love them and their pani puris. Fairly we affectionately name them ‘bhaiya’ (brother). Let’s stroll down Chennai and speak to the sellers and discover out what language they communicate,” challenged Annadurai.
Chennai-based political analyst Sumanth C Raman finds the statements by these politicians “theatrical”.
“It reveals how low they might stoop to shift individuals’s consideration away from urgent points. It’s precisely what the BJP does in Delhi the place it’s making an attempt to rake up communal points. The DMK right here is taking on language, meals, or the north-south divide. Basically they should create a diversion or else individuals may also ask them about LPG subsidies, why the rise in property charges, and so forth. Isn’t it higher to ask whether or not we must always eat beef or not? Or is shawarma our native meals? This can be a carbon copy of the BJP, minus the lynching,” mentioned Raman.
Minister Ponmudy’s assertion got here simply days after one other DMK minister, Ma. Subramanian requested individuals to keep away from one other “non-native” meals merchandise— the Lebanese dish shawarma— calling it “Western meals”. Shawarma is made out of meat and flatbread and is massively in style in India.
Subramanian was roasted on social media for claiming that shawarma was a dish that suited Western international locations with chilly climates.
“Shawarma was not meals native to India and was finest suited to be eaten in international locations the place the climatic temperatures go to minus levels. If saved or bought outdoor it stays contemporary with out refrigeration,” the minister claimed.
This assertion got here after a younger woman from Kerala’s Kasaragod died after consuming shawarma and 58 others grew to become unwell. Investigations by Kerala’s well being division revealed that the meals samples collected from the restaurant had traces of pathogenic salmonella and shigella, inflicting medical problems.
Amidst this, the sudden cancellation of the much-publicised Ambur Biryani Thiruvizha had added to the already simmering meals politics within the state. On Thursday night, in a sudden change of schedule, the Tirupattur district administration introduced that it was suspending the three-day biryani competition, citing “a heavy rain forecast”.
For the uninitiated, the Ambur area of Tamil Nadu is legendary for its flavourful biryani made with a particular kind of rice referred to as Seeraga Samba— a dish that the state authorities hoped to place up for a geographical indication (GI) tag.
The biryani competition, which was to be held beginning Friday, was pegged as an occasion that will bind individuals along with biryani and style. Tirupattur district collector Amar Kushwaha in a media interplay mentioned that the occasion was to be documented identical to the well-known Spanish Tomato Competition or Rajasthan’s Pushkar competition.
The issue arose when the district administration requested the 50 odd stall homeowners to exclude beef and pork, a choice that raised hackles. Kushwaha defended the transfer, saying serving each forms of meat would offend the feelings of the Hindu and Muslim communities. Driving on the already brewing protests, ruling DMK’s ally Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), and right-wing outfit Hindu Munnani opposed the occasion.
Apparently, the biryani competition was extensively publicised utilizing pictures of current chief minister MK Stalin and his late father Dr M Karunanidhi.
So the query is how completely different would these veiled assaults be from those that many a south Indian detests — as an example, being referred to as a Madrasi or an Idli-Dosa Bhai?
When meals turns into a political weapon, it creates a putrid environment and leaves behind a bitter style in a single’s mouth.
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