Air India has taken up the agenda of its political masters to impose vegetarianism.
During my recent trip to Guwahati (in a flight that goes further to Imphal), both while going and coming back, the crew served me a vegetarian meal, since the non-veg meal packs were finished due to “unexpected demand” for them. When it happened for the second time while coming back, it got me a bit pissed off – I asked them how could this happen repeatedly.
The crew: “Sorry sir, we can’t help it. Not a single person in this flight has asked for a vegetarian meal so far, and I have already distributed all the non-vegetarian meal packs.”
Me: “so what else did you expect in a Guwahati-Imphal flight? You fly this route daily, so you must have anticipated this better than me. Why didn’t you pack accordingly?”
The crew: “Sorry sir, this is not in our hands. The caterers make the packs based on average demands across the sectors.”
Me: “You mean average demand across *India*, huh? So I suppose you also pack for a Delhi-Ahmedabad flight based on average demands across *India*? and then hand over non-veg packets to everyone once the veg packets are finished?”
Some other time I would have dismissed this as a one-off incident. But in light of what I witnessed and heard in Assam over last few days:
– the amount of money the government spent on “Namami Brahmaputra” (you see a hoarding at almost every corner of Guwahati) to celebrate a festival that never existed (and which thankfully got washed off due to incessant rains),
– pushing vegetarianism and Ramdev through these festivals, – the preponderance of Balaji and Hanuman temples every nook and corner, many of them very recent construction (with organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s name proudly displayed), etc.
– attempts to re-interpret all traditional festivals in a specific religious form (which is mostly alien to this region) – I already saw some attempts of this in case of Rangali Bihu.
This surely looks like a part of a larger plan. Being a state-run enterprise, Air India has now been roped in as a part of the larger plan to impose a particular version of religion alien to this part of world. Vegetarianism is an important component of this plan. Unfortunately it looks like they might be successful. With state power and financial clout, and of course without a meaningful resistance to this onslaught, it is easy to normalize even the most alien practices so well that a few years down the line it might be difficult to identify original from the fake.