Caught on tape force-feeding a Maharashtra Sadan catering supervisor, Shiv Sena MPs have pleaded ignorance that they did not know that the man was a Muslim who was on his Ramzan fast.
But does it matter when the first-time MP Rajan Vichare tried to stuff a roti into the mouth of the protesting supervisor? Would it have been any less of an affront if the victim was Hindu or Christian or Sikh or Buddhist?
Why force-feed a man who does not want to eat should be the basic question. Why behave like a goonda if you say you aren’t one?
First, since the Shiv Sena is deeply embarrassed at being found to be forcing a Muslim to break his fast on July 17 since they did not like the food’s quality, let’s accept their explanation that Vichare did not know the name of Arshad Zubair and hence could not deduce that he was a Muslim and could be observing a Ramzan fast.
The party has also rightly blamed other parties of giving a communal colour to the incident. But what else can one expect from politicians and that too when Parliament is in session!
But even if one were to give the Shiv Sena MPs the benefit of doubt, what allows lawmakers to humiliate a catering supervisor in front of TV cameras?
Were they not misusing their power vested upon them by voters like the one they force-fed?
In all likelihood, the food that they were so miffed about was being given to them for free.
Should they not apologise and is Zubair not within his rights to file a police complaint against the MPs for this public humiliation?
Should we not have been equally outraged had the catering supervisor been from any other community?
Let’s direct our protest to reform our MPs (since we can’t seem to do away with them) so that they at least respect people who voted them to power.
Setting an example?
The Shiv Sena MPs have also set an example of sorts – if you don’t like the food served to you, it’s all right to shove it into the mouth of the person serving you.
That way, there will be millions in the country who would like to do that, but don’t, because they are not drunk on power.
Have the Shiv Sena MPs tasted the mid-day meal served to hundreds of thousands of school children from poor families every day? We’re sure they would not like the way it tastes. But many children in fact come to school for the food even if they don’t like it. Should they start shoving the food into the mouth of the cook?
Thousands of hostel students bear bland mess food but do they push a roti into the mouth of the mess manager?
You can protest, demand better food but you can’t humiliate the person who serves you the food – you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.