Eating non-vegetarian food in India is gradually becoming one more thing that polarises people and pushes them into opposing camps. There is no reason for it to be this way.
I had a long discussion with one of my friends about being a non-vegetarian. Although he loves eating non-vegetarian food, he still hides it from everybody. Not only he, many of my other friends also hid this practice from people, especially from their families, because they would be offended, and would never accept it.
In India, consumption of non-veg is often considered a ‘religious sin’. When I was a child, I remember my mother told me one day not to disclose to anyone that we are non-vegetarians as almost everyone in our locality was vegetarian. Due to the fear of what the people in the locality would say, we didn’t ever bring raw meat to our house for cooking, or order something from outside. I have known people to lie about their being non-vegetarian to get a house on rent, as it becomes hard for them if they are non-vegetarians. I have even seen boards outside ‘To-let’ houses: “Only Vegetarians”.
Meat would have been one of the first food sources in every human group around the world. There is no historical evidence of any ancient human tribe or community that ever survived or thrived on a wholly vegetarian diet. From a health perspective too, eating non-vegetarian food is not completely a bad thing; in fact, for some, it may turn out to be life saving!
One kind of diet cannot be suitable for everybody, and non-vegetarian food works for the majority of living beings on this planet. Nature works this way, and human beings are also a part of the food chain. Why should we feel guilty for being living things that evolved to be predatory omnivores, and eating accordingly?
But my argument is not really about what is better – being a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. This is not about the fundamentals of the food cycle or the protein supplement of the food.
What I want to talk about is one’s personal choice.
Being vegetarian or non-vegetarian is just a lifestyle choice. We should not judge people on their choice of food. To adopt a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian lifestyle is a very personal and instinctive thing.
I have seen people going vegetarian/non-vegetarian just because their new families (after marriage) want them to. You should be the one deciding what you like to eat. It is lousy to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Food is one of the best things of life and one should never compromise on what he/she likes to eat.
No matter how much you respect and love your family, you shouldn’t limit yourself on what and what not to eat. One can at least take this decision of his life on his own.
Parents should also give their kids the freedom to decide what they choose in life. When children start living away from home, you can never control what they eat, so it’s better to give them an environment to truthfully declare their choices rather doing it behind your back.
We should never bring religion amidst what we choose to eat. Religion is not about blindly ensuing the directions given by the preachers. It is rather giving us the way to know what is right and what is wrong and deciding it by ourselves. Our religious beliefs should not guide us to the simple, basic choice of what to eat.
Nowadays we read about many incidents where people have been killed for allegedly eating beef. We should accept each other the way we are rather than forcing our views. One thing people must understand is that hating a certain type of food is different from hating the person that consumes that food.
We have much bigger things to worry about. So we need to use our energy in the right things rather than worrying about what’s on other’s plate.
India is already divided into so many castes, religions, cultures, regions, traditions and what not. These diversification are so deeply en-rooted that we don’t even mind killing a man. Let’s not create another bifurcation of ‘Vegetarians’ & ‘Non-vegetarians’. I don’t think we need another division. Do we?
First published here.
Image via Pixabay
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