In a historic and bold move, the student run Mess committee is considering offering Buff (Buffalo meat) and Pork on the menu. They announced it in an email to the student body yesterday, in which they recognised it to be a contentious issue and invited opinions and objections from the students. The Mess committee in a later email stated that this move was intended to increase diversity in the menu to cater to the needs of everyone on campus. This started a lively debate with heated opinions, the email thread hit a century within a few hours. While many students responded with shouts of joy and expressed complete support, some opposed the move strongly, including threatening to leave the common Mess. There was also a confusion as to the position of the mess staff on the issue. When some students raised the question, one member of the Mess Committee responded stating that certain members of the mess staff were opposed to the idea, while other members of the Mess Committee responded that certainly no decision which is against the wishes of the mess staff would be taken on the issue. There were also many calls to conduct and open meeting. We’ll keep you updated. Meanwhile here are a few choice quotes from the many sides of the debate –
Suman Das of the fourth year replied saying – “Yay.. Go Balaji!! Inspite of your comment on North-East and Dog delicacies, all students from North-East will back your proposal! :D Especially with the idea of introduction of pork! We have been missing it a lot!! :)”
Sweta Pojiraju of the first year wrote – “Many of us are not comfortable with the idea of beef and pork being served in the mess; in fact, the idea of the meat makes us feel nauseous and the smell even more so. Yes, I understand the importance of tolerance and am in no way supporting those people who can’t stand the sight or smell of non-vegetarian food. But I have seen people gag even at the smell of the omelette during breakfast. This is not something that is in their control. They are not finding it disgusting on purpose …. And religious objections are common knowledge, I’m not going to even try to explain them.
Jagata Swaminathan of the second year challenged the claim that beef and pork were not staple diet for the majority of the Indian population stating thus – I don’t know where you got the “close to a 100%” figure from. Beef and pork would be part of a regualr diet for most of Goa, Kerala, North-East and a huge part of the Dalit population. That’s a pretty large population that has to forgo their “staple diet” to accomodate your needs don’t you think?
Yash Kumar of the second year sought to offer an alternative – I think that it is a great initiative by the Mess Committee to try and change around and diversify the menu, and while I am all for the introduction of both these items, I think that given the problems people will face given especially on religious grounds, maybe more neutral items like fish and mutton could be considered. Just a thought.
Subhro Mukherjee of the fifth year responded to the argument that buff and pork had religious sentiments stating – Beef and Pork, in my opinion,definitely have casteist elements but may or may not be religious.
Saral Minocha of the third year offered a unique argument against the introduction of buff meat – With all respect to the mess committee, I’m against this move but not because of any reason that has already been stated. I’m against this move because beef has a huge water footprint. In a world where water is slowly becoming the most precious resource, it is important that it is conserved. Beef involves a huge amount of water consumption – something that can definitely be done without. … So, even though I might find beef extremely delicious, I think I’d much rather give it up for the sake of the future generations’ water needs.
Many students threatened to stop eating in the Mess such as Rahul Chaudhary of the fourth year who stated that he would be okay with the introduction of buff and pork only if “there were a separate kitchen, utensils, and serving and dining area” for these meats.
It will be interesting to note the reaction of the University administration if the debate within the student body takes that path. We will be continuously covering the issue, but till there are any further updates, we invite the student body to participate in this poll to gauge the student opinion on the question.
(As we are aware that this is a sensitive issue to some, we would like to expressly state that presently, no decision has been taken regarding the issue and the discussion was initiated to facilitate a healthy debate on the topic. As has been clarified by the student run Mess Committee and as we would like to reiterate, the proposal is an attempt to bring greater diversity to the mess menu and a healthy debate never hurt anyone. This post has been edited to include the segment regarding the position of the mess staff on the issue.)