Guest post by KRISHNANUNNI HARI
This essay emerged as a response to the following question that was raised during a Q&A session that I had run on social media:
“How does one tackle people who amalgamate veganism with upper caste vegetarianism?”
The immediate answer to this is that veganism avoids all animal products and all forms of animal ab/use, and hence cannot be amalgamated with vegetarianism and its caste baggage.
Such an answer, however, ignores crucial cultural issues that determine how Animal Rights (AR) and veganism are perceived, co-opted or taken forward in Indian society.
Vegetarians, contrary to what Right wing Hindutva will have us believe, comprise less than 40% of the country’s population. Jains, most Sikhs and Brahmins and some rich urban forward castes make up the vegetarians in India1. Vegetarianism in India is connected to social power and caste hegemony, unlike its counterpart in the West, where it is an ethical lifestyle and a social justice movement.
Continue reading Exploring Possibilities for Critical Alliances Between Animal Rights and Bahujan Politics: Krishnanunni Hari
This is from a long time back.
I was eight or nine, a child obsessed with day-dreaming and playing alone with the tiny grass-flowers that grew abundantly in our yard. Memories of those times are coloured a brilliant green because that was the colour that overwhelmed all the seasons of the year. Our home at Muthukulam in Kerala comes back to the mind’s eye in greens of all shades, browns, rich reds, bright blues, silver of the ponds,canals, and the lake, the bright yellow of the mangoes and jackfruit, and innumerable flower- and fruit-hues. Continue reading A Memory from the 1970s
Guest Post by Dr ARUN R, ASHRAF MOHAMMED, SEJAL PARIKH
The Madhya Pradesh government’s recent decision to continue avoiding eggs in children’s mid-day meal schemes sparked off heated debates in newspapers, social media and the television. There are several facets to the inclusion of eggs in mid-day meal schemes. This article examines those, and sheds light on facts and perspectives ignored by most parties involved in these debates.
Opponents of the government decision have rightly pointed out the resistance to certain food options for the midday meals scheme in schools is largely due to caste oppression and class privilege. In India, diet has indeed been used, historically and now, as a tool in oppressing dis-privileged caste and minority-religion groups. These groups comprise a huge chunk of India’s impoverished people who must get all the government support possible for meeting their dietary and other needs. Interestingly, governments which oppose eggs on the basis that they are not vegetarian do not have any problem with dairy, when dairy also involves the killing of spent cows and male calves (apart from the forced impregnation of cows every year). While we must acknowledge and oppose these forms of bigotry steadfastly, the way we do it should be such that we don’t uphold one good cause at the expense of another. Continue reading The Egg Debate – Missing the Bean in the Room? Dr Arun R, Ashraf Mohammed and Sejal Parikh