Kerala Beef Dropped from Food Fest in Germany After VHP Protests
Kerala Samajam Frankfurt said it had prepared the menu based on the common food interests of Kerala and its people.
The Kerala Samajam Frankfurt (KSF), an association of Malayalis in Germany, had been all set for the Consulate General of India's food festival on 31 August. As they planned their menu, they decided on a typical Kerala dish that so many from the state know and love: beef curry with parotta.
However, the association's plans for the festival, held on 31 August, were marred by protests that strongly objected to their state delicacy.
An online petition titled, “Save culture of cow protection in Indian NRI circles and festivities," was started by a Germany-based Indian woman named Sima Hindu, who is also a member of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Indian right-wing Hindu religious organisation. The petition was against the KSF's star food item, the beef curry.
The petition read:
“This will be an Cultural Festival to display Indian Culture. Beef is definitely NOT Indian. In fact slaughter of Cows is absolutely unthinkable and unspeakable in Indian culture. There are strict laws against Cow Slaughter in India as a Cow has the respectful Place of a MOTHER in Indian Culture. Sale of meat of Holy Cow is a direct attack against Indian Culture. Please sign this petition to stop the sale of beef in personal cultural space of Indians (sic).”
The beef dish also saw objections from the Vishva Hindu Parishad itself, a KSF member said.
The Indien Fest, which took place on 31 August in Frankfurt, featured a food festival, music, dance and other cultural events from India. It also saw huge participation from the Indian community, local Germans and expats.
But the possible presence of beef on the menu sparked outcry in anticipation of the fest. Some people reportedly threatened to create commotion at the fest if the beef item was not removed from the Kerala Samajam Frankfurt’s (KSF) menu.
Following this, the Consulate General of India Frankfurt requested the association to revise the menu. Kerala Samajam Frankfurt agreed to comply with the request.
The executive committee of the Kerala Samajam Frankfurt wrote on Facebook:
“As per CGI Frankfurt request, we, as a responsible cultural organisation, representing the peace-loving God’s Own Country, decided to comply to maintain peace and harmony and above all, to uplift the core value of India - Unity in Diversity.”
However, Kerala Samajam Frankfurt further clarified that while preparing for the Indien Fest, all Indian organisations were explicitly asked to present delicacies of each state. The only restriction was that no alcohol could be served. “As per these instructions, Kerala Samajam Frankfurt had prepared the menu, based on the common food interests of Kerala and its people,” the association noted.
As a result of the dispute, the Kerala Samajam Frankfurt boycotted the festival.
Meanwhile, some media reports said a group of men from Kerala were trying to create ruckus outside the venue.
However, Donny George, a member of KSF, said it was only a silent protest. “A group of youngsters also held placards highlighting India's unity in diversity and the freedom to choose one’s food,” he said.
As the event came to a close, the CGI Frankfurt wrote on its Facebook page, “The Fest was a true example of Unity in Diversity with Indians of all cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds joined [sic] hands to put up this huge cultural event.”
(This article was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission)
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