Don’t be persuaded by bogus reasons
Maneka Gandhi (A Proud Vegetarian, Animal Rights Activist and Member of Parliament, India)
The Pioneer, Thursday, July 24, 2008
Everyone’s life is strewn with incidents wherein they have a chance to become bigger than themselves, to be nobler and kinder and happier. Some people don’t recognize these opportunities but they return again and again, so you still have time to open your eyes. However, some people go in the opposite direction-they take the chance that life gives them and they abuse it and strangle it till the little luck they have squeezes itself out the window and runs for its life. They then intellectualize their decisions and blame their loss of munificence on someone else.
Take for example someone who has the good fortune to be born into a vegetarian family. Why they would lapse into a carnivorous diet and pick up disease, obesity, bad odour, and bad karma is beyond my understanding. But people do. Every now and then, I see people from proud vegetarian families eating meat. When confronted, they do look terribly sheepish and come up with such weird excuses that I thought I would list them for you. These are the reasons spouted by ex-vegetarians for breaking the faith:
“I belong to the privileged Brahmin class. I need to do something to show my solidarity with the downtrodden Dalits. So I consume meat.” (Then why not live in the same place and manner the way they do? Or even better, invite them to share your own privileges. But that would be asking too much of our fashionable leftist.)
“We don’t want to look old-fashioned. We need to keep up with the times. It’s far more sophisticated to eat shrimp and steak than vegetables and dal.” (Even if the rest of the world is going the other way.)
“My college friends say I am a nuisance at picnics and that I shouldn’t be such a fanatic.” (So you should suffer cold ecoli-ridden chicken sandwiches just to go along with the gang. Giving up your beliefs to suit others’ convenience is pathetic. If they don’t value you, change your friends, not your food.)
“Eating meat makes me seem more normal and fit.” (The same argument is given by smokers and drinkers.)
Many other argue that they cannot get protein so easily from any other sources and they need to put on weight. They must know that soyabean and dal are the highest sources of protein and all the world’s biggest and most powerful animals like elephants, rhinos, giraffes, bulls and horses are vegetarians.
“Poor people grow goats and if we stop eating meat those poor will be deprived of their livelihood.” (So you are actually eating meat as a social service? Give up your car and ride in a tanga to support the poor tangawallahs, and wear hand-spun material to support the poor weavers and eat in earthenware to support the poor potters.)
Others approve going non-vegetarian by citing arguments that it’s traditional in their family or society and hence there cannot be anything bad about it. In that case, would those people approve of dowry, corruption and casteism simply because these social malaise are rampant.
“My wife/husband eats meat and I cannot cook separately because it’s too exhausting.” (Why not just lump everything together – soup, main course, dessert because it’s too exhausting to make them separately? And why not share clothes to reduce washing and ironing. Put the whole family in one room to reduce cleaning area. All the more reason to cook vegetarian because it’s what both people can eat. Should your partner want meat, let him/her go hunt for it.)
“I eat meat when someone offers it to me. I don’t want to impose my class/caste views on other people.” (So then you would go anywhere you were taken, watch anything you were shown, read anything you were given. That’s just what this world needs- mindless robots).
“It’s more important for me to be someone that is more respectful and more considerate rather than just concentrating on dietary preferences.” (And killing animals and destroying the environment is the way to demonstrate respect and consideration?)
“I travel a lot. We must show respect to other people’s cultures by eating what they eat. I don’t want to appear uncultured.” (So no doubt you wear a kilt in Scotland, a kimono in Japan and a burqua in Dubai. You also learn the native language of every place you visit and adopt the local religion. A true world citizen.)
“Newspaper and magazine reports show that vegetarians will have strokes if they don’t get Vitamin 12 which one can have by consuming meat.” ( There is much more in soyabean but you rather want to be unaware of that.)
Do you recognize yourself?