Vegetarianism in Gujarat is under threat. The high growth rate and prosperity in western Indian state of Gujarat has drawn migrant workers and entrepreneurs from other parts of India. They bring with them their different traditions, which are at odds with the vegetarian ethos of the state.
Gujarat is in the north western part of India and has been a bastion of vegetarianism for over two millennia. The benevolent nature and teachings of Buddhism and Jainism, and Hinduism to lesser extent have shaped the culture and nature of this coastal nation, leading them to shun the consumption of flesh.
The great Mughal Emperor Akbar became a vegetarian in Ahmadabad, after spending time in Gujarat. He is even believed to have suspended the slaughter of animals for six months at the request of the Jain community.
It would be a fallacy to say there are no meat eaters in Gujarat, but the over-all eating habits of the nation are vegetarian. Even housing societies, mostly Jain dominated, won’t allow meat eating on their premises and even cities like Ahmedabad were reluctant to allow non-vegetarian eateries.
Foreign educated Gujaratis are bringing their western lifestyles to Gujarat and the influx from of workers from other parts of India. The Bengalis, Odiyas, Sikhs, and other foreigners are changing the culinary landscape of this predominantly vegetarian nation. They bring with them their Mughal inspired cooking habits, which is chiefly meat based.
Gujaratis have also become pretentious and hypocritical in their consumption of meat. Meat eating Gujaratis have no problem chomping on a mutton burger in restaurant, but will not cook and eat meat home, which is idiotic in the extreme.
Many western food franchises such as Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and Subway still offer vegetarian food. However, new entrants into the untapped meat eating market will no doubt see number of non-vegetarian outlets sky rocket.
If there ever was a place, a country suitable for vegetarians and vegans to retire, Gujarat would be that place. So, grab your spot of this benevolent vegetarian paradise while you still have the chance. Vegetarian and vegan foreigners will be welcomed with open arms by an under siege populous.
In the future Gujarat may abandon its noble and humane traditions, and join the rest of the human race in being consumers’ processed animal corpses, also known as flesh. They will be moving backwards, while the rest of the world moves forward.
Gujaratis eating meat won’t mind the prices on their menus,but down the line they will certainly mind the medical bills.