Veganism In India
by Payal Shah on Sep 14, 2021
Scientists have been writing about the unwanted nature of meat and milk for decades, but it’s only recently that veganism has gained global attention. Even though India is a country with a long history of vegetarianism, the demand for cruelty-free food has been steadily growing. People are choosing to stay vegan and refrain from animal products.
History of Veganism in India
The history of veganism in India can be associated with the inception of Buddhism and Jainism. The followers of these two religions avoid meat, dairy, and other animal products such as silk, leather, animal-tested cosmetics to date. Mahatma Gandhi, a staunch supporter of ahimsa or non-violence, also abstained from the use of milk after learning about “phooka,” or cow-blowing, a horrible practice in which air is forced into a cow’s vagina to promote milk production.
However, the modern-day concept of veganism can be looped back to Donald Watson. Watson, along with other members of his groups, actively led the vegan movement despite opposition. The modern vegan concept is comparatively new in India and is being adopted by some people.
Why are People Adopting Veganism?
Access to the internet and social media platforms has led to an increase in the awareness about animal cruelty practiced in the dairy and meat industries. This awareness is one of the reasons for the quick adoption of the vegan cause. Also, celebrities that follow veganism have proven to play a crucial role in the fast adoption of veganism in India. The vegan diet has been made to look more aesthetically appealing by platforms such as Instagram, busting the myth of it being all grass and twigs.
The awareness about animal cruelty and the importance of sustainability has further created demand in restaurants and supermarkets that cater to vegans’ needs. An increase in fully vegan restaurants has been observed in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.
Why is Veganism Gaining Popularity?
No other diet has proven to impact human health positively than the plant-based. A lot of celebrities such as Sunil Chettri, captain of Indian Football team, and Virat Kholi, captain of Indian Cricket team, has further promoted its adaptation among the Indian populace.
Challenges Faced by Veganism in India
In some parts of the country, fish and meat are a staple diet. A typical vegetarian Indian family consumes milk and dairy products daily, making them an inseparable part of their meals. Many families still have cattle and therefore are not aware of animal cruelty that happens in dairy farms. All these reasons collectively make it a challenge for veganism to influence people in India.
Veganism is comparatively a new concept for Indians, and it will take a lot of time to bust myths around it. Though India is a nation with many vegetarians, becoming vegan is not precisely acceptable for the communities. The youngsters or the people who know about dairy industries’ cruelty are voluntarily choosing to opt for this diet. So, being vegan may not be too prevalent in the country, but it has started to make a way in people’s minds.