Vegetarianism in India

500 million vegetarians in one country – can you imagine it? It is 42% of the total population of India. According to statistics, there are more vegetarians in India than in the whole world combined. However, the statistics of the states of India itself aren’t equal. In the south India, for example, people consume a lot of fish due to their proximity to the seas. Typical vegetarianism here is a rejection of meat, fish and eggs, but not dairy products – means Indians are not vegans usually. On the contrary, people here consider milk as very important to consume daily. However, not every vegetarian in India will refuse wearing leather clothes, shoes and bags because this concept is not famous here.

India called to be a paradise for vegetarians. It is, in fact,really easy to be a vegetarian here: they have so many vegetarian recipes, vegetarian cafes and restaurants are everywhere, but meat and fish products are not being sold in every shop. Even McDonald’s and KFC have many vegetarian options, unlike the same branches in another countries. All the products and even medicines in India have a label – a green circle means a product is vegetarian and a red one means non-vegetarian (some medicines may contain gelatin, for example). Local doctors don’t say to pregnant women and children that eating meat is mandatory. And of course, people don’t ask vegetarians a hundreds of the same questions about it. But if in many countries in the world vegetarianism is something modern while in India it can be said that the opposite happens – being a vegetarian here means being an orthodox and switching to meat can be called modern by some people.

In India religions did and do play a great role in it. Vegetarian non-alcohol weddings are very normal here, how untypical it wouldn’t sound. But, well, historically India could become a vegetarian country, unlike many other countries, due to its climate. Vegetables and fruits were always available here during whole year while in the countries with colder climate people could not survive in the past if not for meat.

However, if you think that vegetarians in your country are too concerned about it and try to impose their opinions, you are mistaken. In India, a vegetarian may not give his/her apartment for a rent to a non-vegetarian; at work, the vegetarian boss may forbid non-vegetarian employees to eat meat in his/her building; at home the same story happens – if one of the family members wants to start eating eggs, for example, he/she can be allowed to do it only outside of home, and that too after a fight. And also Indian vegetarians can refuse to eat from the dishes which have ever had meat on them – for this reason they can deny going to restaurants that have non-vegetarian options at all or to refuse to eat food while visiting someone non-vegetarian at their house. People here can even make their pet cats and dogs to be vegetarians – they believe it will not harm them if they are taught to this from a small age. And no, people in India don’t say that vegetarians do aggressively enforce their lifestyle on others even so.

Fasting in western cultures is, roughly speaking, a vegetarianism for a certain period. However, when Indians fast, it is much stricter. On some fasting days, they may not only eat nothing, but not even drink.

To see some Indian and Continental vegetarian recipes please Click Here.

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