It is that time of the year when ‘detox’ seems to be on everyone’s mind. Guilt-ridden and over-burdened with the boxes of mithais, late dinners and other atyachars on our stomach, we seek redemption. And that comes in another gift-wrapped box of starving and over-exercising, or at least that’s what fashion magazines and kitty party gossip seem to suggest. The timing couldn’t get worse; this is also when winter sets in.
Winter leads to a natural rise in our appetite and that’s exactly why so many nutrient-rich (perceived as “high calorie” by the uninitiated) foods are celebrated this season. The good old gajar ka halwa, immortalised by Hindi cinema, gajak, makki ki roti-sarson ka saag, bajra rotis with white butter and til-gul, the list is really endless.
When we lower our calorie intake during winter with the whole detox drama, we force our body to dull its metabolic rate. It does so by slowing down your thyroid hormone and subsequently weakening the appetite.
Now we all know that strong digestion and a good appetite are signs of a healthy body and a cheerful mind. So when nature has already gifted you winter and an associated rise in appetite as an anti-ageing tool, don’t axe it by starving yourself. Know that if there is a time in the year when you can indulge and get away, it is this. There is a reason to eat these foods in winter—they keep the joints lubricated, metabolism high and help keep up with the increased appetite.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
But there is no winter as such in Mumbai, where you are from.
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