I keep hearing frequent phrases like “I am craving chicken curry.” or “I am craving for chicken momos.” They have become part of my college life as they are an integral and inseparable part of all my non-vegetarian friends. I have become quite used to it. A similar situation arose one day when a very good friend of mine was craving for a chicken dish. The incredulity of not being able to understand the psyche of the non vegetarians goaded me to question aloud about the entire concept of keeping a non vegetarian diet just because its ‘finger licking delicious’!! Everything is forgotten about the killing of the animal, in the blissful moment of chewing that fleshy chicken meat. Being a vegetarian myself, I just cannot settle down with the fact that just because some animal’s meat is tasty, one kills it, cooks it (because we aren’t made for having raw flesh), and consumes it. I agree with the vehement protests of the non-vegetarians who read this article say that the vegetarians also kill and uproot plants to eat. I will give you two options – one, kill a chicken; two, kill an elephant. Which will be more painful? This can be illustrated beautifully in context of ‘Shooting an Elephant’ by George Orwell. Now, I correlate the “chicken” to the plants and the “elephant” to the meat eaten by the non-vegetarians. If we have an option of surviving by inflicting less pain, then why do non veggies demean veggie food as ‘ghas-phoos’ (grass) and opt for satiating their taste buds by inflicting greater pain?
I also agree with the argument that all the non-veggies cannot turn into veggies as the established ecological will be disturbed. For example, the fish will start multiplying. The argument I am putting forward does not say that everybody should turn veggies. The coastal populace lives on fish. A lot of countries cannot produce agricultural products due to infertile land and all the food items are dependant religiously on the bird and animal kingdom. They can’t possibly turn into vegetarians! All I am trying to say is that when there is an option of turning veggie and there is every possibility of surviving without non-vegetarian food (apart from the addiction tendency often claimed as an excuse), it should be taken. Even if it is difficult to completely leave non-vegetarian food, the parents should at least not pass it on to their children.
I am sure all the non vegetarian readers must be opposing me vehemently. And indeed, I do not intend to infuriate them or pacify them. I am simply asking them to think about the entire issue applying it to their own lives and about the food which they guilelessly enjoy. It is often said that one should eat ‘saatvic’ food so as to avoid aggression. The non-vegetarian diet is definitely not saatvic. Even in the vegetarian diet, onion, ginger and garlic are not included in the saatvic diet. The aggressiveness and the restlessness in the Middle East and the west can definitely be reasoned back to this factor being a proportion of all the factors contributing to the restlessness to achieve. All of them are going somewhere but none knows where they are headed.
In fact, the organization PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) can surely be roped in this regard. In China, people eat live cobras. It is considered a delicacy. However, it is barbaric. Even more disgusting examples can easily be sighted. What is important here is the conscience. Even if some custom exists in one’s tradition, which came into being because once upon a time when it was necessary to have non vegetarian food to survive, it is just another conditioning on the individual from childhood and nothing else. We can change it. We have the power to change it provided the will to do so exists. It is not easy. However, neither is alcohol addiction easy to get rid of. There has to be a start, a step. It can start from you. Do mull over it. My purpose will be served even if the non-veggie lovers start thinking on this.
[image by LiveU4]