Food delivery company Zomato has provided food for thought for the entire country. By effectively silencing the religious bigotry of one of its customers, who had cancelled an order because a ‘non-Hindu’ executive was assigned to deliver it, the firm has won the hearts of millions of people. At a time when food and faith combine to polarise society and deepen the friction, the startup has displayed courage and conviction to stand up to the hate-filled demand of its customer Amit Shukla from Jabalpur who did not want a Muslim executive to deliver the food and uninstalled the app as a mark of protest. However, the company stood its ground and refused to budge even if it meant losing the business and customer loyalty. This is a commendable demonstration of commitment to core principles of diversity and equality. Its rejoinder tweet “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion” captures the essence of the message needed to counter the growing intolerance and hatred towards minorities. Company founder Deepinder Goyal deserves appreciation for upholding the idea of India. Such an act is a courageous rejection of a toxic culture of discrimination centred on food and also of communal divide. By standing behind the delivery boy, Goyal has upheld a key principle of good management — building an inclusive company.
It is also about upholding the core human values and the basic principles of the Constitution that bar discrimination of any kind. Dismissing this as a minor incident not worthy of attention would mean ignoring the larger dimension of the problem. The startup was forced to issue a fitting reminder after the customer demanded that the company change the agent delivering his food because he objected to accepting the meal from a Muslim man during a month considered to be auspicious in the Hindu calendar. Such a brazen display of bigotry comes at a time when the nation no longer appears to care for people who get lynched on the suspicion of eating beef. Liberating food choices from the clutches of dogmatism holds key to the battle to protect the edifice of a democratic, inclusive India. No one has the right to communalise food or the business of catering food. The freedom to choose or reject food is vested in the citizen. A real brand is one that represents a set of values, emphasising on diversity and inclusive ideas, the very foundation on which our nation is built. Standing up for one’s principles is not necessarily detrimental to business. In fact, morality does matter in business.