The National Herald on Saturday published what could only ever be described as an elaborate meltdown. The headline itself gives one the distinct impression that the author was not in her right mind when she wrote the article. The main body of the article makes it quite clear that the editor of the Congress mouthpiece was not in his or her right mind either.
The article headlined, ‘Eid-ul-Adha and misconception about Muslims being meat-eaters propagated by right-wing in India’, attempts to fear-monger about the rightwing allegedly demonising the Muslim community due to its dietary preferences. It also attempts to portray the Muslim community as one that does not consume too much meat comparatively. But through its course, the author rambles on about a multitude of inanities due to which the already ridiculous point is lost on the reader for good.
The author Humra Quraishi boldly declares, “Muslims in India are not the biggest buyers or exporters of meat and a large population of Muslims is vegetarian.” While the second part of the statement appears entirely preposterous, no credible statistic was presented to back the first half of it either.
What the author tried to pass off as valid statistics to back her claim was that, apparently, four of the six biggest Indian exporters of meat are non-Muslims. The author did not even bother to present evidence for her claim that Muslims do not, per capita, buy more meat than non-Muslims. It might very well be the case by some weird twist of fate but “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and no evidence was presented as such. But then again, the entire article was one great meltdown, meltdowns do not bother themselves with observable realities.
One of the most hilarious bits of the article comes at the initial stages when Quraishi says, “Mind you, this propaganda that all Muslims go about with big fat botis tucked in rotis, has been gaining ground, portraying them as modern day ‘adamkhors’ (cannibals)!” It appears to depict some plot-line from a Ram Gopal Varma horror movie or some melodramatic horror that liberals engaging in their kitty parties. Such deluded dystopian fantasies are not things that one expects to read in the mouthpiece of the country’s largest opposition party. But here we are.
The article also mentions an incident that makes an immediate entry into the Hall of Fame of ‘Top 10 things that never happened’. The author writes, “The ‘beef scare’ has also impacted the socio- cultural patterns. When I asked a middle class Muslim family why no meat dish was served in their son’s wedding celebrations, I was told, “Who will prove to Hindutva brigades that its not beef but mutton and chicken! We didn’t want these goons to disrupt the shaadi, so only vegetarian food was served! What to do …we have to live like this, with the new circumstances spreading out in the country!”” There are more chances of the Bhumi Pujan of Ram Mandir being postponed indefinitely by one of Saket Gokhale’s petitions than of this story being a truthful account of events.
In another comical instance, Quraishi writes in the article, “And much against the hyped propaganda against the Muslim community that they consume only non- vegetarian food, let me focus on the fact that the significance and importance of fruits, vegetables, herbs has been highlighted in the Quran and also in the Hadith.”
She adds, “In fact, I have before me two books written by the Lucknow based botanist, Dr M.I.H. Farooqi. The very titles of these two books — ‘Plants of The Quran’ and ‘Medicinal Plants In The Traditions of Prophet Muhammad’ (Sidrah Publishers) — relay the significance of plants, herbs, fruits, grains, spices and vegetables in our daily intake.”
One is unsure of how to accurately respond to this. Hardly anyone could ever argue that Muslims do not eat any vegetables or spices or herbs at all. One is not entirely sure if such a claim has ever been made even. At this point, it is more than evident that the author is having an epic meltdown and it is quite astonishing that the editor of National Herald actually published this.
The author then lies outright in her article. She says, “If you recall over three summers back, sixteen year old Mohammad Junaid was murdered by fellow passengers, right inside a train compartment of the train taking him and his brothers to their home in a village in Haryana’s Ballabhgarh, with ‘beef -eater’ taunts thrown on his fractured skull, with a skull cap atop it.”
The Judiciary itself stated that there was nothing communal about the murder. Investigation by the Police into the matter also revealed that neither the accused nor the complainant spoke about beef and it was revealed that the fight broke out over seat sharing. The Judiciary also observed that the murder was not pre-planned and it had nothing to do with beef. But Quraishi, in her obvious delirious state, brings it up anyway.
Furthermore, since we are living in the age of the Coronavirus, it is quite obvious that a reference to it has to be made. Qureshi, towards the end, says, “Today, with hundreds sitting all too deprived and hungry, there is every possibility of hunger and malnutrition related deaths going up the graph. Also, with poverty and unemployment levels mounting, many more could be affected by the rising social disorders.”
At this point, the reader stops expecting the article to make any sense and even towards the end, the article does not make any and thus, the reader is not disappointed. It is not clear how exactly these claims relate to her initial claim that the rightwing was on a campaign to demonise Muslims ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
The only rational explanation here is that National Herald published this garbage of an article in order to give readers the pretence that the future of the Congress party looks far more promising than the editorial standards of its mouthpiece. In that particular endeavour, the National Herald succeeds quite brilliantly and exceeds all expectations.