We don't know what to say, when our state (read the BJP government at the Centre) starts dictating us on our food habits, right to choose a partner and even the freedom to enjoy sex (of course, without any coercion).
On a lighter note we can ignore such outrageous "bans" by laughing them off and continue with our normal lives. But think twice, everything looks scary and dark.
First comes the ban on eating beef, after the Centre framed harsh rules and regulations on cattle sale in the animal market which almost make it impossible to slaughter any cattle, forget the "holy cow".
When there is no slaughter, of course there won't be any meat. The latest announcement of the Ministry of Environment did not explicitly say that beef has been banned across the country, but a proper reading of the set of rules available in the public domain makes the intention of the government clear-stop India from consuming beef.
Moreover, the beef ban has come at a time when cow vigilantes are on a killing spree and don't even spare government officials from their wrath and merciless beating.
Like as Amit Shah says, Mahatma Gandhi was a chatur baniya (clever man belonging to the baniya community), we Indians are also not that fool not to understand what the saffron party is up to.
There is so much fear across India now, apart from the bold protests hosted in Kerala and parts of Northeast India, in this month of Ramzan, people are staying away from eating beef delicacies and strictly following what government diktats suggest.
Talking about choosing a life partner in India is still very difficult for many, especially for women. In our patriarchal society, it's the family that often decides whom a girl can marry or not. That is why honour killings are rampant.
On top of it, when a funny sounding police team-Anti-Romeo squad-starts behaving like moral police in Uttar Pradesh immediately after the BJP took power, we know again that it is not about safety of women. But an official force to fight against what the right wingers call "love jihad" (a term coined to suggest that Muslim boys court Hindu girls to convert them into Islam).
Days after a retired judge of the Rajasthan High Court told us that peacocks are brahmachari (celibate) and don't indulge in sex, a ministry under the Narendra Modi government politely asks pregnant women to control their lust (read abstain from sex). Yes, that is what a recently released booklet called Mother and Child Care released by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) stated.
"Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred and lust. Avoid bad company and be with good people in stable and peaceful condition always," stated the booklet--issued by government-funded Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN)--on Tuesday.
On the surface, these are innocent suggestions generally grandmothers dole out to expecting granddaughters. But why the state has to interfere in private matters like lust or sex?
Moreover, why the government agencies are spreading lies and unscientific theories? Immediately after the booklet was released several doctors rubbished most of the suggestions of the AYUSH related to pregnancy as "unscientific".
After receiving severe criticism an official of the AYUSH clarified that nowhere they stated that pregnant women can't have sex. He added that these are not recommendations but mere suggestions issued by the ministry. However, by the time clarifications were issued damage has already been done.
Gynaecologist Mandakaini Kumari told NDTV,"It is not recommended to avoid non-vegetarian food at all...it is a good source of protein and carbohydrates." She added, "Sex is also fine unless there are complications."
Experts also pointed out that when India's maternal mortality rate is so high, the government should focus on providing better nutrition and medical help to pregnant women.
The maternal mortality rate highlights the number of mothers dying per 100,000 live births. About five women die every hour in India from complications developed during childbirth.
More than 60 per cent population eats non-vegetarian foods and thus many pregnant women depend on meat, fish and egg for their nutrition. If they stop following their dietary routine, then it would directly affect the unborn children. Do we need more shunted infants?
India already has the highest number of stunted children in the world, as per the latest report of the US-based NGO Save the Children. Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 years of age are attributable to under-nutrition. Data show 38.7 per cent Indian children aged 0-59 months are severely malnourished.
We can ignore our grandmothers as naïve and old-fashioned for insisting us to follow tradition and culture. But why the government is acting like a "nanny state" trying to interfere in our daily lives and choices?
The government seriously needs to look beyond our bedrooms and kitchens and tackle grave issues like agrarian crisis and lack of creation of jobs.