Lucknow kabab lovers make no bones in slamming ‘food politics’
Closure of illegal slaughterhouses was the main table-talk at Tunday Kababi, arguably Lucknow’s most famous seller of galauti kababs, days after abattoirs were shutdown in Allahabad and Varanasi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to close down all illegal slaughterhouses if it came to power in the state during its assembly election campaign.
The saffron party seems to be acting on its promise, with a number of abattoirs across Uttar Pradesh being subjected to raids and shutdowns. It secured a landslide victory in the February-March assembly elections.
Police have also started a crackdown on shops selling buffalo meat in the Muslim-dominated areas of Rasoolpur, Buxipur, Tiwaripur and Jafra Bazar in Gorakhpur, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s hometown.
Foodies in the City of Nawabs believe politics should be kept away from food and a few others claimed that the government’s move may lead to a hike in the prices of meat.
“It seems to be a tough time for non-vegetarians. Why mix politics with food? It should be handled separately,” Riyaz Ahmed, who was out on lunch with friends at Tunday Kababi in Old Nazirabad, said.
“It is an overdose of politics now. There is politics in caste, religion, development, crime, and now on food. We cannot take it anymore,” Ahmed, a businessman, added.
Others sitting at the eatery, where hundreds of people jostle through the crowds on the cramped streets of the Old City to savour its melt-in-the-mouth kababs everyday, supported his views.
“Politics cannot compel one to change one’s food habits. It is purely impossible. If not beef then mutton, but living without meat is next to impossible, especially for the foodies in the state capital,” Mohammed Miraaz Siddiqui said.
Siddiqui, however, agreed that banning cow slaughter was a good move.
Prashant Sharma, another foodie, said the drive was fine but at the same time the government should provide an alternate livelihood for butchers and ensure that meat prices did not go up.
Mohamed Usman, whose grandfather established Tunday Kababi in 1905 and who is now the owner, said the closure of slaughterhouses might affect the most preferred beef kababs.
“These kababs are the cheapest and are largely preferred by those who cannot afford mutton kababs. On regular days, around 80kg of meat, including mutton and beef, is consumed at the Old Nazirabad outlet,” Usman said.
He buys meat from local traders who may also face the axe in the state capital as the municipal corporation is planning to launch a drive next week.
People said they did not know what the situation is going to be but it would certainly “kill” a famous saying: “If you want to have ‘samosas’, it is better to have kababs”.
Samosas are the cheapest snack in Lucknow and kababs are equally cheaper.