New Delhi : Exporters of bananas, carrots and cucumbers from India have threatened to empty all their produce outside Parliament if the Islamic world imposes a ban on the vegetables and the fruit, following a diktat from a cleric. The unnamed Sheikh said these three vegetables resembled the male sex organ and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex”. As a way out, he suggested if the women wanted to eat a carrot, banana or cucumber, a male member of the family should cut them into small pieces and serve them.
More than half of India’s banana production comes from south India. Farmers in Kerala and Tamilnadu are particularly upset since they have had a bumpet harvest of bananas this year. “We will fight this battle together. We will no longer fight over Mullaperiyar. If our bananas are not exported, our livelihoods are in danger. We will ask Vaiko to go on an indefinite fast over this issue,” Murugan, a farmer in Theni district said.
The BJP has decided to fight this fundamentalist diktat and has accused the Congress of keeping quiet, with an eye on the minority vote ahead of the UP elections. “We will disrupt Parliament over this issue tomorrow. We were wondering now that the FDI issue is on the backburner, what else to do. Now even if the Speaker tells us to `baith jayiye’ one hundred times, we will not sit. We are not a banana republic. We demand that bananas, carrots and cucumbers should be declared an endangered species of vegetables,” a BJP leader said.
In an editorial in the Saamna, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray spewed venom on the cleric, accusing him of dividing vegetables and fruits in the name of religion. “This brand of communalism won’t work in India. Let him come to Mumbai and say this. Laat maar ke bahaar kar doonga. Pakistan bhej doonga. I demand that banana, carrot and cucumber be made part of the mid-day meal scheme in every government school in the country. And Kasab and Afzal Guru should be hanged immediately,” he wrote.
The cleric’s observations have raised a furore in the virtual world as well. Several remix versions of Kolaveri have been uploaded on Youtube, replacing kolaveri with Kela-veri.
Meanwhile, farmers who grow ladyfinger and french beans have heaved a sigh of relief that the cleric did not target those vegetables. A member of the marketyard guessed it must be because size does matter.