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India: An Open Letter to Mr. Modi Chief Minister of Gujarat

by Shabnam Hashmi, 30 August 2012

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Mr Modi,
I should say that after reading your statement reproduced below I was both outraged and amused.
“Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. And secondly, Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty conscious than health conscious — that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they’ll have a fight. She’ll tell her mother, ‘I won’t drink milk. I’ll get fat’.”
The Indian Express, August 30, 2012, front page Ahmedabad addition.

The following conclusions can be drawn from your statement:
Vegetarian food causes malnourishment.
You could have also been malnourished since you claim to be a vegetarian.
Your not being malnourished could be an indication of alternate diets.
Milk makes people fat.
Mothers should be asked not to breast fed as the children might become obese.
Your concept of beauty is highly patriarchal and conservative which relates beauty to being slim.
You presently belong to the middle-upper middle class (not going into the past) are also beauty conscious, which anyway is an established fact from the extensive wardrobe of designer Kurtas that you possess. I wonder how much your designers charge you? Each Kurta costing probably tens of thousands of rupees enough of feed many homeless on the streets of Ahmedabad or the thousands of families thrown away to Piplaj by your pet River Front project. Anyway that’s another topic so I will move to the next point.
You are totally ignorant about the statistics of your No 1 state- about percentage of middle class.
You are also ignorant about nutrition and health.
Your support teams, which I hear are hired at exorbitant costs, do not provide you relevant information and do not prepare you well before an interview.
Now your PR teams will have to do crises management to save your image. Sorry I have forgotten the name of the firm which has been hired for PPP. (Personification of Personal Projection) but that is also not relevant so let’s move further to the last conclusion.
You are putting the blame of the problem on the victim- but that is your old strategy.
You have to seriously worry now for the Jain following and it is my last and inauspicious 13th point.
I just want to bring to your notice, although you are more tech savvy than I am, that Google is the best friend for the ignorant. I am pasting below some facts from Google search, might be helpful for future interviews.

Shabnam Hashmi
An equal citizen of a democratic country
August 30, 2012

Article 15 in The Constitution Of India 1949
15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them

Health benefits of milk include good bone health, smooth skin, strong immune system, prevention of illnesses such as hypertension, dental decay, dehydration, respiratory problems, obesity, osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer. The beneficial health nutrients obtained from milk are mandatory for human body and help in prevention of chronic ailments.
The nutritional value of milk have always influenced people all over the world to include it in diet. Addition of milk in your daily diet can also help in achieving a well-balanced diet. Milk is an ideal source of nutrients such as vitamin A & B,calcium, carbohydrate, phosphorous, magnesium, protein, zinc and riboflavin. The Teagasc Dairy Products Research Centre at Moorepark, Fermoy has reported recent research on the utility of milk in neutralizing cholesterol content in the body.
Many animals do provide us with this vital health substance, but cow’s milk is considered the best wholesome supplement for children as well as adults. Milk of other animals buffalo, goat, sheep, camel, reindeer and yak. Milk of horse and donkey is also consumed by humans, though this is rare.

The health benefits of milk can be achieved from milk directly or its products such as cheese, butter, curd, clarified butter or ghee, dairy whitener, ice cream, cottage cheese or paneer, flavored milk, milk sweets etc. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has clearly mentioned in its Dietary Guidelines to include milk and milk products in the diet.

Deficiency Symptoms: Milk deficiency can cause severe anemia, osteoporosis and other related illnesses. Milk consumption is very essential to maintain good health and doing normal activities. It is the best source of calcium for all age groups.

[. . .]

An Open Letter to Mr Narendra Modi
from Shabnam Hashmi
(30 August 2012)