Saturday, November 17, 2012

‘Meat eaters are bad people’

[In this article, the terms ‘meat-eaters’ and ‘non-vegetarians’ are used synonymously.  They are defined as the ones who eat mutton, chicken, fish, pork, beef, etc, at least once in a week or a month.] 


In India, there has always been long standing prejudice against meat-eaters.  The prejudice against meat-eaters emanates from India’s caste system, which is more deep rooted than any other identity, including, religion, language or region.   The dietary habits of Indians are strictly along the lines of a caste in each region.  Each caste in a region eats certain diet and it is common to everyone in that caste group in that region.  However, the same caste in a different region could have a different diet. 

For hundreds of years, people did not move out of the place they were born, and therefore the dietary habits were strictly honored along with caste system.  However, with the recent rapid urbanization of India, many people tend to live next door to complete strangers.  This trend has diluted this prejudice against meat-eaters to a great extent, but has not completely removed it.

There are many apartments in cities and towns which are not rented out to meat eaters.  The house owners ask if you eat meat, and if you say ‘yes’, they refuse to lend it to you.  There are some vegetarians who do not eat next to a person eating meat.  This trend is not only prevalent in Indian villages, where the school children of upper caste refused to eat with classmates of lower caste, but is also seen in cities. 

As a general trend, meat eaters are looked down upon by vegetarians.  When my kid was growing up in an apartment complex in Bangalore, the other kids, who were primarily vegetarian, refused to play with my daughter because they were told by their parents that she eats meat and therefore should be avoided. 

Some of the neighbors who visit my house for our kid’s birthday refuse to eat anything at our home because our plates must have had served meat at some point of time.  There are some vegetarians who refuse to eat at a restaurant which serves meat.  That’s why we need the term ‘pure’ vegetarian restaurant. 

While it is vegetarian’s prerogative on where he wants to dine and with whom he wants to dine, it goes without saying that such dining practices are deeply rooted in Indian caste system, which actually went overboard to elaborately prescribe various rules on who you can dine with and what utensils you can dine in and so on. 

The vegetarian parents, in order to impose their dietary habits onto their kids, tend to indoctrinate their kids with prejudices against meat-eaters.   In order to protect their kids from getting attracted to meat, they tell many negative things about meat-eating, including imagined negative things about meat-eaters.

That’s why it does not come as a surprise when a Class 6th school text book says the following about meat-eaters [emphasis mine]:

Observe some of the following characteristics among the non-vegetarians.  These are generally true of them.  They easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes. Discuss these in the class.

This has created ‘shock’ amongst some circles.  I find that surprising.  Because many vegetarians continue to harbor these prejudices, and as we speak are indoctrinating their kids with these prejudices. 

When I use to have lunch with one of my vegetarian co-workers, he would constantly tell me that meat eating has many negative effects on one’s personality – like it will make you more violent, more sex craving, that it makes you a morally bad person.  And he used to say – ‘you are what you eat’.   I don’t know what it meant, but I used to quickly respond that ‘yes, while I am a goat, you are just a brinjal’.  According to him, there are some toxins that are released into your body when you eat meat and they cause these negative effects. 

It would be simplistic to ignore these ideas as opinions of a fringe group.  They seem to come from many sections of society making them far more widespread than previously imagined.  THE HINDU writes [emphasis mine]:  

Advocating ‘clean/pure food’ and stating that they believe in the ancient Indian philosophy which says that you are what you eat and your food shapes the way you think and consequently impact your behaviour, Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said: “We serve only vegetarian food to the inmates as we believe that non-vegetarian food does have a negative impact on the psyche of the individual.”

Seconding the belief that non-vegetarian food produces two very strong negative reactions “anger/fear”, socio-spiritual educational institution Brahma Kumaris national co-ordinator B.K. Sushant said: “We believe that killing an animal releases toxic hormones and that gets into human beings, which further creates a negative impact on his moral, mental and physical well being.”

There are millions of people in India who follow a strict vegetarian diet.  That is not a problem.  The problem is that they carry a prejudice against meat eaters, thinking of them as ‘bad people’.  Now, that is a real big problem.  

And it looks like these opinions are universal, because I find the similar opinions coming from my neighbors.  They happen to be working in MNCs as top engineers, managers and vice-presidents.  But they claim that most of the people in the world are evil (outside India) because they happen to be meat eaters.  Some of these neighbors who traveled to Germany, USA and Japan gave detailed account of how these society's dietary habits make them ‘bad people’.  They went on to describe entire history of the world based on their dietary habits, which included description of many wars.  They tell me that the only reason why India was not a participant in WWII is because our country was mostly dominated by vegetarians.  They also bemoaned that now the country is in the hand of non-vegetarians, and therefore we are bound to become ‘bad and evil’ just like other countries.

It completely escaped them how deeply flawed their arguments were.  Adolf Hitler was vegetarian and yet he was responsible for death of nearly 50 million people in WWII which includes nearly 20 million Russians and 6 million Jews.  And some of the most peaceful societies on the planet continue to be meat-eating.

The argument in this 6th class textbook starts with extremely wrong notions of science and history.  And yet, these thoughts seem to resonate with many fundamentalist vegetarians who repeat these lies as if they were truths.  For example, take a look at this introduction from the same book [emphasis mine]:

When the world was created, God gave no flesh food to mankind.  He had given mankind fruits, nuts, and grains and vegetables.  But some people began to eat flesh and sin increased.  God destroyed the world by a flood, Noah and his family were saved.  Then He allowed people to eat meat for the first time with a condition man will not live very long.  

Before the flood man lived more than 900 years, and after the flood man lived a little over 200 years.  As sin began to spread, the age was cut down to 120 and then to 70 to 80 years.  So now it is possible for man to live more than 100 years, if they followed some simple health principles carefully and faithfully.

Not only there are gross errors in the above section, even the argument is completely non-scientific. It is an understood fact that meat eating played a vital role in human evolution.  Also, there is no evidence that man lived longer in past.  If ever, it is clear that the trend in the last 10,000 years has been an increase in our life span because of better diet, which includes better availability of meat and vegetables to common man.   Also, the increase in cancer is not entirely based in dietary habits, but is based in our longevity.  In a sardonic snub to human’s quest for immortality, biology dictates that a long living human body is more prone to cancer. 

And if we were to go by statistics, the societies which have longer life spans happen to be meat eaters.  The countries with maximum life expectancy are: Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Iceland, Australia, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.  And they all happen to be predominantly meat eaters.  India, which is the only country in the world with a very big chunk of vegetarians, ranks 139 below Western Sahara and Pakistan.

Being vegetarian remains a personal choice.  Like some people want to eat chocolate and some people don’t.  Those who don’t eat chocolates may believe that chocolate eating increases sexual drive, makes people irrational, drives them to become liars, murders and cheaters.  They may even think that chocolate eating causes cancer, and that it leads to shortening of one’s life.  But that is their personal belief system, like someone believing that their religion is better than others.  However, indoctrinating one’s kids with the same prejudices causes a widespread discrimination of chocolate eaters, and hence needs to be combated.


6th class school textbook: S. Chand’s publication - ‘New Healthway’ by David S Poddar
(Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex, Education, Games and Exercises)

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this. As I have commented earlier, I always learn from your posts.

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  2. It is painful to note that such pseudoscientific information regarding meat eating has gotten into school text books. The 80% or so non-vegetarians in India should vehemently protest to remove such holier than thou teachings. Thanks for bringing it in the open.

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  3. బాగా రాసావు సుజయ్. నేను కూడా శాకాహారుల దగ్గర నుండి నీలాంటి అనుభవాలు ఎదుర్కొన్నాను.

    మళ్ళి ఎవరయినా అలా మాట్లాడితే సమాధానం చెప్పటానికి మంచి వాదనను ఇచ్చావు.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Well,.... now world is making fun at us.

    Few comments in this link caught my eye

    * Because it means that the US hasn't cornered the market on stupidity, or even the market slice of telling lies in school textbooks.

    * But seriously, this "textbook" must have been written by a meat eater - or else how can it be filled with such vicious lies?

    * Think how much better the outcome would have been if Eve had roasted the snake for Adam, instead of settling for the apple.

    * Do you know that Hitler was a vegetarian?

    * According to this Indian textbook I just read, you must have stolen that burrito and now you're lying about how good it tastes.

    * Clearly the Creator omitted meat because he knew Adam and Eve would soon be sinners.

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  6. was coming back to your blog as one of ur fans before. shocked to see your views. You support killing animals and eating them? at last i've found something to disagree with you. but u know what? Go to a slaughter house once and if those scenes dont repulse you...god help us all..i know i know he aint there...:)

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,

      There are a lot of animals that are carnivorous, and prey on other lesser animals for their food. It is Nature's way.

      Having said that, I agree with you that the poultries and farms can do better than what they're doing right now. Slaughterhouses can be greatly improved. We should try and inflict minimum pain on these poor animals.

      P

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    2. Dear Anonymous,

      Almost all Vegetarians (99%) are hypocrites, i hope including you...here are the reason for saying that...

      They argue that non-vegetarians kills and eat animals....but at the same time... they eat honey which was produced by killing many bees during that process, they wear silks cloths/sarees which was a product of killing thousands of cocoon larvas, they buys leather sofa which were made using animal skin, of course same with leather purses, belts, jockets, bags, car seats and so on... ...not only this ....

      the following might less intensive examples...but they do cause animal killing.....now a days..animal fat is used in soaps, makeup, lipstic and bones are used in talcum powder, medicins...

      and the list continues....anyway i don't have anything against vegetarians...its their practice...the only problem is they claim them selfs as animal savers...while blaming non-vegetarians as cruel minded.....

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    3. Yeah, you are right. Count me out of them. I am a diet-vegan and don't consume any animal food including milk and honey.

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  7. Obviously someone has decided for himself that he won't ever be man enough to follow along the lines his morality would dictate him and in a pathetic outburst of hollow phrases tries to talk his way out of being the recless murderer that he is. But even if other meat-eating companions of his will surely applaude him in bringing forth such concise and well-thought-out arguments, his dreams won't stop telling him the truth and point him to the obvious fact: eating meat is unnecessary, an act of murder and makes you an asshole. Always.

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  8. Well, I can see why. Eating meat is one of the most selfish things you can do. You're putting your own tastebuds above everything else. Above the earth, meaning above your future grandchildren! above all the animals, except for the cute furry ones of course (eyeroll) I can imagine why they would say that. Honestly Omnivores are selfish selfish people.

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  9. How do you say Japan is predominantly meat-eating? Any credible source? I thought they were predominantly rice-and-vegetable-eating with a sparse infusion of fish. Anyways, could you give me the source, please?

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    Replies
    1. Searching on Google would help.

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    2. What's Google?

      Delete

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