An Indian cultural organization was forced to take ‘beef curry and parota’ — a popular food item in the South Indian state of Kerala — from its menu at an exhibition organized by the Indian consulate in Frankfurt.
The incident took place over the weekend at ‘Indien Fest’, an event aimed at giving local Germans a glimpse into Indian culture.
“While preparing for the Indien Fest, all Indian organisations were explicitly asked to present the common delicacies of each state with only restriction being for alcohol. As per these instructions, Kerala Samajam Frankfurt had prepared the menu based on the common food interests of Kerala and its people,” explained Kerala Samajam Frankfurt, a cultural organization of people belonging to Kerala and working in Frankfurt, Germany.
The organization put up an invite to its stall on social media, which was picked up by ‘Indian cultural activists’, who were outraged that ‘beef and parotta’ was one of the items being served at the stall.
The ‘cultural activists’ put pressure on the Indian government, which in turn channeled the complaint to the Consulate. The consulate, in turn, asked the organization if it can take beef off the menu.
“When some people with vested interests raised objection and threatened to make ruckus during the event, CGI Frankfurt kindly requested us to revise our menu so that the event could be held without any incidents,” Malayali Samajam Frankfurt said on its Facebook page.
Like in the North East, beef is an extremely popular item of food in Kerala. Only a small minority, about 15% of the state’s population, avoid beef, which can be found in nearly all the non-vegetarian restaurants in the state.
People of all religions and political parties — including Hindus and BJP supporters — consume the meat as it is the most affordable and least likely to be tampered with hormones and antibiotics.
However, many people who were outraged on social media seemed to be unaware about the popularity of beef items in Kerala.
“Hindus in kerala dont eat beef…if they want to eat beef in Frankfurt by all means…but dont call it Kerala culture and fool people in Frankfurt,” protested Vandana S on Twitter.
According to reports, many of those associated with organizing stall No.13 boycotted the exhibition to protest the move to withdraw beef from the menu, even though the statement from the executive committee of the Samajam did not make any such claims.
According to an interview of someone managing the counter at the stall by local TV channel DW, the stall was handed over to someone else at the last moment.
“Originally, we were supposed to represent Kerala state. But we could not have beef here. So we have just asked somebody else to run the show for us..,” the person shown in the video said.
Reports in Malayalam media also indicated that many of the organizers protested the move to withdraw beef curry from the stall and even held up placards to indicate their frustration.
The move has also led to a lot of outrage among Malayalis on social media, with most protesting the ‘cultural imposition’ by government officials.