Blog by our Viva! Activist and trainee journalist, in India, HJ Srikanth
Veganism is growing into a worldwide movement of compassion towards our fellow earthlings. The movement is still growing far and wide. Even the UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet. In India, it’s at a much slower pace because of the belief that dairy products aren’t cruel, but lately things have changed as what happens behind the screen is coming to light. India being one of the leading exporter of leather is one clear evidence of the cruelty behind the dairy industry. In Chennai, the vegan movement is budding up too, with growing numbers of vegans.
(Courtesy : Paul Pop)
Vegans are campaigning and creating awareness among the public about the plight of the animals, and urging them to go vegan, for the sake of animals and also for their own health. One of the vegans in Chennai, Preethi Raghav, says: “It takes nothing away from us to be compassionate to animals, but it takes away their life if we aren’t!”
Another vegan, Shankar Narayan, says: “Veganism is justice for all and exploitation of none. It is a journey, not a destination.”
Another vegan activist, Annie, says: “In today’s world, ‘veganism’ is often a misunderstood term; being vegan is often thought as just confined to plant-based diet! The most common misconception about a vegan is that vegans think they are superior! Many consider ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ as a bad word! But the truth is, veganism is all about love and compassion. Vegans aren’t superior to any life on this planet, and we firmly believe that, that’s why we chose to be vegans.”
Another vegan, Maya, says: “Having a plant-based diet and being non-violent can be considered as being a vegan as long as you don’t cause any intentional harm to animals, but if you have a plant-based diet and wear fur, then you are not a vegan, you are a speciesist! The real meaning of being a vegan is to extend love and compassion to all lives. It’s a movement, a growing movement of love and compassion, where there should never be any room for hatred. Vegans aren’t perfect but vegans are just trying to reduce their impact on this planet.”
“There are various alternatives to dairy products, its not that we can’t afford them, but we are just too reluctant to even try. And speaking about protein theory, there are various protein rich foods even in a vegan diet, we need not depend on meat for protein, and also the animals need not die just to please our taste buds.” says Saayaa, another vegan activist.
Bangalore based vegan group Vegania, run by teen vegan activist Abhay Ranganis one of the major groups in India that promote veganism in big cities including Chennai through awareness campaigns and leafleting. Abhay is a member of The High Intellect Society (THIS) and regularly lectures about veganism and animal rights in various places.
(Video Courtesy : Abhay Rangan)
Vegans in Chennai mostly use vegetarian restaurants, trying to choose vegan options from the menu. Some avoid going to any restaurants other than the vegan one’s. Otherwise they are content with the food that they cook for themselves.
VeganeR was the first vegan restaurant to have been started in Chennai. But now more vegan restaurants and vegan bakeries are coming up much to the rejoice of the vegans in the city. Cafe Kripa is another well-rated vegan restaurant.
The vegan movement is gradually gaining momentum in the city.