Millennium Post

For the sake of secularism

Regressiveness was on display when the Zomato incident occurred in the town of Jabalpur when a man cancelled his food order on the food delivery app upon learning that the delivery executive assigned for his order was a Muslim. Jabalpur police took cognisance of the matter and will be serving the man with a notice to sign a bond for keeping the peace. Jabalpur police SP was of the opinion that the man's tweet was against the spirit of the Constitution and had the potential to whip up passions in a communally sensitive town like Jabalpur. Adding to the SP's words, not only is breeding such a thought grossly regressive in the contemporary world but the fact that this may spread and influence others who may have an iota of such feeling but do not let it take over because of the inherent secularism that this country preaches. A conducive environment is the biggest threat to society when such communal hiccups arise. Putting the matter to dust, Zomato was sharp in tweeting how "Food doesn't have a religion..It is a religion". In fact, Zomato's CEO tweeted that "We are proud of the idea of India and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners...we aren't sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values". Zomato and its CEO, indeed, won hearts over the internet while the man may have been at the receiving end of massive criticism for his show of communal lines. In his defence, the man had stated that he does not discriminate on communal lines when it comes to anything else but maintained that food is a different matter–asserting it to be "an intimate and personal matter". He also cited the freedom of religion, religious expression and the right to practice his choice but all those were never in contention. His view of Zomato was that his feedback was taken for a ride by the company which had given it a religious spin. The man held that his reservations about a rider were only for the month of Sawan because he believes one should eat pure and clean food and that he will pursue a legal angle once the police serve him notice. While the man has every right to take legal counsel and respond, it cannot be ignored that his actions were not a signatory of a very secular society. It has to be noted that religious harmony can be disrupted even by slightest of bigotry and in this regard, the police were only trying to ensure that everything is under control. Had the man charged with serious implications, the scenario would be different and the man's stance on his rights would have been called into action. What Zomato and Police did here was iron out the matter before anyone's sentiments are hurt. It remained a matter between Zomato and the individual but these are thoughts that we are discussing and if these reach people, there lie apprehensions of a bigger communal backlash. While the individual is free to practice whatever religion he preaches and abide by its teachings, he simply cannot project bigotry, even in the form of feedback, for no religion is superior or inferior in eyes of our Constitution. All the ruckus was about the individual and Zomato but what about the delivery executive? It would not be the most secular moment in his life when he learns that religion was the reason for the cancellation of order/change of rider in the first place. This rejection of him is prejudice contrary to what the individual may believe, and it is intolerable.

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