This move is clearly not for the animals, it is for people and their hunger for power.



Being vegan can sometimes be a load. And I don’t mean that you miss cheese or chicken. You really don’t. The problem is that like any other label, it comes with its own assumptions and people quickly typecast you into either a turn-the-other-cheek “kind-hearted” person or a loud-mouthed, salad-eating fanatic who is out to brainwash unsuspecting people and proselytise them.

The truth is one is neither.

Being vegan has nothing to do with kindness. It is plain and simple — animals are sentient beings just like humans and vegans avoid anything that abuses animals just as people would avoid anything that abuses people. That’s hardly kindness. That’s the bare minimum. If you choose not to beat someone up, it doesn’t mean you are a kind-hearted person. It means you are a regular person.

And then everybody asks me if I am happy with Yogi Adityanath‘s decision to shut illegal meat shops and the Shiv Sena‘s forced shutting of outlets and meat shops during navratri. I should be because that’s what I want to do, right? Proselytise the nation? Well, no. I am against these actions.

Like many vegans, I was once a non-vegan — not something I’m proud of, but we all have our journey. I went through a process of understanding and arriving at what I considered was right. I weighed my options. I took the time to research and read about how animal agriculture contributes to over 51 per cent of carbon emissions and how cruel the dairy industry is.

At the heart of veganism is the thought that no group is greater than or superior to the other. (Credit: Reuters photo)

I made my choice after knowing and believing. Nothing was imposed on me.

Everybody has the right to make up their own mind and go through that process of change.

I do talk about veganism and its importance but I also believe that real change cannot come unless there is an internal change. Imposing a decision definitely counts for nothing. People will simply resent it and become even more wary of veganism if vegans were to align themselves with despotic moves.

Not for the animals

The second and most important reason why I oppose the shutting down of illegal meat shops is because it has a strong communal angle to it. As a vegan, I believe in the acceptance and celebration of differences, whether they are differences in species, sexuality, religion, caste, race or abilities. That is the essence of veganism.

This move is clearly not for the animals, it is for people and their hunger for power. While some people may say the end goal is what is important, I think the end is as important as the means. Unless decisions are made for the right reasons, they cannot bring lasting change. And when the goal is to establish Hindu hegemony, then that will be the only outcome. Not the liberation of animals. These animals will continue to be slaughtered elsewhere or abused and tortured for milk on the pretext of “Gai hamari maata hai” (the cow is our mother).

As a vegan, I have a massive issue with sidelining and discriminating against a certain segment of our population. A lot of people would raise the issue of Jallikattu and say that asking for the ban on Jallikattu was discriminatory to certain cultures. I don’t think so. Bull fighting was banned by the Supreme Court across the country and no particular group was singled out. But here, clearly the Muslims are being singled out.

If this government really cared even a bit about farm animals or the environment, it wouldn’t be celebrating becoming the largest producer of milk. It would be working to spread awareness, perhaps take measures like imposing taxes on non-veg food to protect the environment and encourage healthy, cruelty-free practices and make changes within the government first.

At the heart of veganism is the thought that no group is greater than or superior to the other. Here, the objective is very different and at loggerheads with what veganism stands for.