Something wrong with Dangal?

I haven’t had free time (as usual), I haven’t been able to carve out any time to blog. I have been sharing things mostly on the facebook page, as posts and issues come up. I don’t recall having explained the change of name/term here. I have yet to change username and description over here that I’m decidedly moving away from the letter v/ the word ‘vegan’ in favour of ‘Al-ma’arrist’ – which I coined many months back. Why is he the only philosopher with no ists or ites. I thought to myself someone please call me out if need be, but the page is getting many MENA/SWANA likes. I guess no harm honouring Al-ma’arri.

A Syrian stamp of Al-Ma'arri
A Syrian stamp of Al-Ma’arri

Syrian blind poet Aboululaa El-Maʿarri (in French) was the first recorded vegan – strict vegan and advocate for animal rights, and for social justice.

Reason forbade me many things which,
Instinctively, my nature was attracted to;
And a perpetual loss I feel if, knowing,
I believe a falsehood or deny the truth. — Al-Maʿarri

Maybe veganism is also what Aleppo gave to the world, who knows. 2-4 centuries later, the Cathars did not eat meat, dairy and honey but they ate fish. This made nutritional sense if one doesn’t have seaweed or if one doesn’t know seaweed have all we need for a balanced mind. Kind of odd to have access to fish but not seaweed before ice became man-made (now, not so odd because of the fishing industry). Basically, Cathar Parfait and Parfaites didn’t eat whoever and whatever resulted from sex, and they thought fish was amoeba. I expect modern-day Cathars to know better.

2-4 centuries from now, the so-called vegan movement may have regressed. There are so many reasons for me to quit using ‘vegan’, what comes up with the word ‘vegan’ (besides the misunderstanding and hate (righteous hate towards white veganism), then again it is not misunderstanding, there is a major problem with most of those representing the “movement”), racism is a given in South Africa where there is a white majority… and in Mauritius where some claim not to be racist bc they’re Asian; fatshaming and ableism as well as sexism etc. are a given. Exchange between the two or some intersectional groups popping up are only creating more ally theater. More on that another time.

Let’s go to a POC country, and look at a vegan POC critique of a recent POC film, Dangal (no real spoilers).

Brought to you by Disney. A Dangal poster. Mahavir Singh and his daughters. [From it, I can’t translate anything but Bapu, like everyone else.]

I haven’t watched it. 20 years ago perhaps I would have agreed with her. I don’t know details of his family. I don’t know if ‘affordable protein’ could include Ragi, moringa, etc. I guess it makes the story accessible to the majority – I’ve known Indian vegetarians who have eaten meat for sports, or in hostels. It’s extremely common. The critiqued line is something worth scoffing at. There is no moral difference between vegetarians and pollotarians (chicken-eaters, it seems that is all they eat), none. The vegetarianism is usually about caste and purity. In my case, my dad is allergic to meat and fish, this means we ate massive amounts of dairy and this is bad, especially for female humans.

I leaned that the hard way, ok. This critique is also useless bc Khan has his show, the latest BJP scandal airtime, and many platforms to say that he is vegan yada yada. It doesn’t matter if veganism is neither accessible nor desirable for the peoples. For vegetarians, Ishita Raman Bhalla (veggie character in a the 2nd most popular series in this country, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein) is extremely popular and has always aced sports without having practised before or trained much. Every once in a while, she yells at a doorman or security guard, who remains calm and subservient. There are Indians (Adi) whose practices are much like African Americans, in that their tradition is centered around the waste of the meat industry in India. Similar dynamics has produced this in a POC country and I’m not talking about Siddhis – Afro-Indians. We should thus not claim the moral high ground, just like we don’t with indigenous peoples (Adivasi, in India)

After all this digression, here is the critique that we should all be making or boosting about Dangal: this Hindustan Times article by Dhrubo Jyoti.