Tuesday, October 14, 2008
After cigarettes, alcohol and water, the minister for health and other bans has now banned eating out. (No, not the Bajrang Dal, even though the last name suspiciously sounds like a food item.) Eating, henceforth will be banned in all government establishments or public spaces. A national policy on consumption of food in public places will be implemented soon. "See", he argued, "if you cannot drink water in public, it does not make sense to have food either. Having food without water can cause a lot of ailments."
This had been an ongoing discussion, he said. People eat out in all parts of India paying good money for food that they would otherwise have had for free at home. It is wasteful expenditure. They really ought to learn to make their own food. When pointed out that many people do not carry dabbas or do not know to cook or live in places where there are no kitchens like PG and hotels, he said that having a kitchen is a must. How could anybody not have a kitchen? What if you suddenly want warm water in the night? You cannot get it outside now, so every place must have a kitchen. One reporter who did not wish to be identified conceded that the minister was seen scribbling furiously in his notebook after this exchange.
He said that while farmers were dying in various places in the country unrelated to the economic crisis, you could simply not have people eat in public. You want to eat, eat at home. The sight of the McDonald advertisement with a titillating burger can really influence a hungry youngsters mind into junk food. Banning junk food was not a solution, he said, banning all food was. It is tough to classify junk food as junk. These lobbies have too much influence. The only way is to ban all food consumption in public. He stated that also under contemlation was if, the paper used to wrap burgers would now need to be printed with grisly images of artery blockages.
If you logically see, from the water ban, the food ban has to follow. You cannot ever have food without water. Is there smoke without cigarettes? Also, food has to be cooked in water. So banning food follows banning water. As it is these food places are a health hazard, even without eating the food. All those food courts in malls, they encourage people to smoke after a good meal. They should all be banned.
It has already banned gratuitous eating scenes from movies. Everybody knows that a Shah Rukh Khan does not eat Vada Pav from a hawker. Amitabh has stomach problems. All this has to do with food, he reminded. When pointed out that they play their characters in movies, he shot back, "Show me a single person who sees movies for their characters. Everybody knows it is SRK and AB. Besides, it is also a waste of food in the countless takes and retakes."
(This one para from Nitin modified slightly) Dr Ramadoss stated that calling attention to fighting malnutrition, infant mortality, infectious diseases through the improvement of the national health care system is playing into the hands of the tobacco, alcohol, bottled water and packaged food and restaurant lobbies. He hinted that these lobbies are very powerful and had so shaped the UN's millennium development goals (MDGs) so as to distract attention from India's real health risks: cigarettes, alcohol, food and water.