NEW DELHI :
The official Twitter handle of Kerala Tourism, with over 1.9 million followers, invited ire from a section of netizens for their post about a beef dish eaten in Kerala. Called Beef Ularthiyathu, the popular dish image was tweeted by the official state tourism handle on 15 January which also happened to be Makar Sankranti, a Hindu festival of harvest. The tweet started garnering negative comments from users who accused the tourism board of hurting religious sentiments. The post has been retweeted 3, 400 times and received over 12, 800 likes so far.
Kerala Tourism's Twitter handle wrote, "Tender chunks of beef, slow-roasted with aromatic spices, coconut pieces, and curry leaves. A recipe for the most classic dish, Beef Ularthiyathu, the stuff of legends, from the land of spices, Kerala." The meat dish is popular in the Central Travancore region of Kerala and is regarded as a special delicacy in the region.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) national spokesperson Vinod Bansal on Twitter said, "Is this tweet meant for promoting tourism or promoting beef? Isn't it hurting sentiments of crores of cow worshippers? Is this tweet generated from the pious land of Shankaracharya?"
Bansal also tagged Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, chief minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan and state’s tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran in his tweet and asked the three to "advise Kerala Tourism".
While a majority of users expressed their reservation about the tweet, some users suggested that the dish post could have been avoided. “I understand people do eat beef in Kerala but what’s the need to glorify something which hurts the sentiments of one community," a user tweeted.
Social media has enabled many initiatives of value. However, the lead downfall of this empowerment is that every petty criticism is also given exaggerated weightage said said Jigar Zatakia, founder and CEO of digital marketing firm FirstEconomy.
"We need to focus on the wonders of the social media age like community-led movements like #KeralaFloods and #MeTooIndia. Taking the time to troll the cultural practices from another region is an unwanted abuse of this power. On social media the principle has to be, 'My freedom ends, where yours begins'," he added.