- ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry
- ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳು, ಶುದ್ಧ ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರ, ಪರಿಸರ, ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ವೀಗನಿಸಂ ಎಂಬ ತತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸರಳ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ ನಾನು.
ನನ್ನ ಇತರ ಆಸಕ್ತಿಗಳೆಂದರೆ ನೀತಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ನೀತಿಸಂಹಿತೆಗಳು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ಆವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳು, ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆ, ಭಾಷಾನೀತಿಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ.
I am a simple Kannadiga following veganism, that cares about animal rights, pure vegetarianism, environment and health.
My other interest include ethics, public healthcare, public policies, innovation, science & technology, Kannada language and linguistic policies.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Scenario: A person visiting home of an acquaintance
Shivarama: Host, head of the house
Lakshmi: Wife of Shivarama, housewife
Its evening 5pm. Shivarama will be sitting in his house portico and reading a newspaper. Lakshmi will be busy in some work inside the house. That’s when Suresha arrives.
Shivarama: Oh! Suresha! Long time no see, come on in.
Suresha: Hi there, hope you all are doing fine. I just thought of stopping by for some chitchat, nothing specific1
Shivarama: Good, come on in, make yourself comfortable.
1 In Indian culture it is not uncommon that a person visits someone’s home without appointment or prior notification, though things are slowly changing in urban areas these days.
Lakshmi also comes to the portico from inside the house.
Lakshmi: Let me get something for you to drink; would you like Tea or Coffee?
Suresha: Nah! Some kind of juice will do.
Shivarama (exclaims): Oh ok ok! It’s too hot outside, isn’t it?
Suresha simply smiles… Lakshmi goes inside the house.
Shivarama and Suresha will be casually talking. Shortly Lakshmi brings Lime Juice, Chakkuli2 and Mysore Pak3 on to the table, Suresha eats the Chakkuli and drinks the Lime Juice, but Mysore Pak on the plate remains untouched, this draws Lakshmi’s attention.
2 Chakkuli: Called Murukku in Tamil, it’s a fried snack: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murukku
3 Mysore pak: A sweet dish of Karnataka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysore_pak
Lakshmi (objects and insists): You haven’t tried Mysore Pak at all, why? It’s homemade and made with good ghee too.
Suresha: It’s ok; I don’t consume anything made using ghee.
Lakshmi gets confused; before she could say anything Shivarama intervenes.
Shivarama: He he, are you dieting?
Suresha: In a way you can say I am dieting, but not in the way you think. I am a pure vegetarian I don’t consume any animal products; including milk and all dairy products (butter, ghee, curd). Even honey comes in this category.
Shivarama: Oh! May I ask the reason behind this? Which caste you belong to? Or do you have any allergy?
Suresha: This is not influenced by any caste; I have voluntarily chosen this non-violent lifestyle due to my love and concern towards all living beings. Also, this is the right step from health and environment perspectives.
Lakshmi: Ah! I haven’t come across this kind of concept before. Milk is good for health, isn’t it?
Suresha: Milk is good, provided its one’s own mother’s milk, not from a totally different species like cow. From the health perspective, experts have scientifically proven that there is nothing better than balanced pure vegetarian diet.
Lakshmi: But cow’s milk is also not bad, isn’t it?
Suresha: Along with healthy things in them, Animal origin products have harmful things also. This fact is not just about meat, but also about milk and dairy products.
Lakshmi (shrugs): I am not able to understand. From generations we all have been consuming milk-butter-curd-ghee, nothing happened because of that.
Suresha: I am not saying it is an extreme toxic which will kill you instantly. In many cases it might even give a perception of being healthy. But pure vegetarian diet is superior; looking from the long term perspective, that is better for our body, that’s all I am saying. If you wish, I can provide more details.
Lakshmi looks perplexed, her face fills with disbelief and she keeps quiet, goes to thinking mode.
Shivarama: You talked about nonviolence, but we only extract milk from cows, right? We don’t kill cows, we look after them well, we even worship them.
Suresha: Please don’t get me wrong, but you are innocently looking at things only from a narrow perspective. The fact is that only killing is not cruel act; man tortures these innocent animals in numerous ways and today this cruelty has crossed all boundaries; even the religious practices have lost meaning. You might think that you are looking after them well, but unknowingly you might be in the path of violence in several ways.
Several thoughts, questions, feeling like disbelief-anger-curiosity flow inside the minds of Shivarama and Lakshmi and they show up on their face, few moments of silence spreads. They don’t like what Suresha is saying, but they don’t want to offend the guest either.
Suresha: My intent is not to criticize you or to question your love, affection and concern towards cows, please don’t get me wrong. This is a sensitive and deep topic. There are much more material available in internet on this, even I have written a detailed article on this. Its in my blog, have a look at it if interested:
Cow, Our Slave God
Now the tension loosens.
Suresha: My nonviolent lifestyle is not limited to food, I also don’t use leather-silk-wool.
Shivarama: Is it so? but how come you are wearing a leather shoes?
Suresha: It’s synthetic, not leather.
Shivarama: Hmm, interesting.
Lakshmi: You talked about environment, what has drinking milk to do with environment?
Suresha: To tell you briefly, vast amounts of land-water is misused for raising cattle, deforestation happens, lot of grains are produced just to feed them. If all these resources are utilized to grow pure vegetarian diet for us, then environmental impact is much lesser and we will also be healthier.
Shivarama pauses for a while, new logic flashes through his mind…
Shivarama: But plants also have life, right? So, is there no pain and cruelty there?
Suresha: Good question, but there need not be ‘pain’ where there is ‘life’. ‘Pain’ is a tool given to us by nature for self protection. Just think about it: when your hand touches fire, what prompts you to take your hand back? Pain, isn’t it? Since plants are immobile, nature didn’t provide a nervous system to them. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have any sensitivity, but it’s just that they don’t have pain or it’s negligible.
Shivarama: But when we walk around lots of small creatures, insects etc. get killed or suffer, what do you say about that?
Suresha: If we kill them due to selfish reasons or for fun, then definitely it is cruelty. However, in most circumstances we do so in self defense. Also, as I already mentioned, it is possible that some of such creatures have lesser pain sensation, though we cannot generalize this.
Suresha pauses for a moment…
Suresha: Also, I am not claiming that my lifestyle does not involve ANY cruelty. Life keeps throwing complex, conflicting challenges and I keep facing moments where my selfishness wins over well being of other living beings. But basically, my mindset keeps motivating towards non-violence, that’s all. Most importantly, I think I have come out of the vicious cycle of causing bigger pain and suffering with the excuse of unavoidable smaller levels of cruelty.
Lakshmi: hmm, it’s a unique lifestyle, I haven’t come across anyone like you so far.
Suresha: Actually, there are many like me and the number is increasing. This concept is called ‘Veganism’; people who follow this are ‘Vegans’. Every Vegan keeps pushing their life towards more and more non-violence, throughout their life, wherever possible. Even Mahatma Gandhi has tried to uphold principle of Veganism during his days, do you know?
Shivarama: What you say seems logical, but somehow mind doesn’t agree. However, I am amazed to see your will power; but it’s definitely not my cup of tea.
Suresha: Many times we believe that we cannot change, but we do feel guilty also, to escape from this mind comes up with its own logic. Also, it is not easy to change customs that are evolved from hundreds of years, it is not wise to change without proper study too.
Suresha pauses for a moment…
Suresha: Don’t think this is a difficult process and you need to go through hardships. The concept of nonviolence is in most people’s mind, if you think deeper new things will strike your mind, then automatically you will feel connected to all living beings around, and the change will look natural. Most importantly, it will give you a great sense of relief and joy.
Lakshmi: Is everyone in your home like this?
Suresha: At present, only I am vegan, rest hasn’t quit milk.
Shivarama and Lakshmi feel relieved to hear this!
Suresha: We often discuss about these things. It’s not that conceptually they don’t agree with me, most of them agree and respect my views. But they don’t strongly feel that leaving such products is solution; also, they don’t think they can quit either.
Shivarama: May I ask when did you become a Vegan and how?
Suresha: I started walking on this path around 11 years ago, back in 2000; prior to that I was a regular vegetarian, consuming milk and dairy products. I will tell that story some other time, I am getting slightly late now, need to get going.
Shivarama: Oh, is it so? I will surely search in internet to know more about this. Looking at the way our conversation went, I guess you already had similar conversations with numerous other people and you might have got bored; sorry for bothering you, we just got curious and went on asking questions, that’s all – don’t get us wrong.
Suresha: Hey, no problem at all. In fact, it is me who should thank you for showing curiosity and listening to me patiently. When you browse through internet to read about this, if possible please also read a short introduction I wrote about Veganism:
Shivarama: Sure, we will meet again; will talk about your own experiences then!
Suresha: Ok, see you later, bye.
*** THE END ***