Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bad Parenting: Vegetarian Bullying

Where do we get our prejudices?  How do we form our biases against certain kinds of people?  How does discrimination perpetuate through generations? 

The answer lies in bad parenting.

The parents indoctrinate their kids with habits, ideals, values and most importantly prejudices.   I argue in Indian values are actually habits I and Indian values are actually habits II that Indians equate habits with values.  What this means is that Indians give precedence to dietary habits, like not eating meat or not drinking alcohol over other values such as honesty or integrity, or not taking bribes. 


When my kid was around two and half, she was shunned by the group of kids in the apartment.   The kids refused to play with her and boycotted her.  One of the older kids told everyone else to stop playing with my kid because she ‘eats chicken’.   My kid was too young to understand what’s going on.  She kept crying each time they rejected her.  She went back into the group not knowing why they refuse to play with her.  They would ask her to go away, and when she didn’t, the kids just moved to a different location to continue playing.  

It was a traumatic experience for a two year old to be refused and boycotted.  And this happened in an apartment complex in the cosmopolitan Bangalore where most parents are working in IT industry.  [How the parents get to know which kids in the apartment are meat eaters is in itself a very interesting story – to be told later.]

Now, my kid has grown up, and is five and half.  She recently told us she didn’t want to go to school anymore.  The reason being that few kids kept calling her ‘dirty girl’ because she eats egg.   This happened despite the fact that we do not put egg or meat in her lunch box to avoid her alienation.

So, where do these kids get these high morals, these virtuous ethics, and these esteemed values, of calling a non-vegetarian kid a ‘dirty girl’?  Where do they get the moral strength, the courage and conviction to boycott a non-vegetarian who eats ‘chicken’?

The answer is very simple: from their parents.

The parents, in their overzealous efforts to keep their kids vegetarian, so that they don’t get seduced by non-vegetarianism, so that they don’t get influenced by their non-vegetarian friends, tend to teach their kids a variant called militant vegetarianism – where all veg foods are considered good, all meat products are bad, and all those people who eat veg are good, and all those people who eat meat are bad.   

Naturally, the innocent kids, believe their parents as is their wont, and come out of their homes to simply carry out the teachings they learnt at home.  These kids boycott a girl who eats egg, and call her a ‘dirty girl’. 

I continue to maintain that most of the ills in our country are directly attributable to bad parenting.  Whether it is about Hindus detesting Muslims, upper castes looking down upon lower castes, men ill-treating women, the root cause is in bad parenting. 

The parents bequeath and bestow their kids with all their prejudices and biases.

And the yuppie vegetarian Indians are creating a new breed of bullies to perpetuate the discrimination of non-vegetarians.  These Indians ride the high horse of morality because Indian caste system treats vegetarianism as pure while meat eating as impure.  Armed with these Indian casteist philosophies these yuppie Indians indoctrinate their kids to become the next generation of discriminating Indians, and wonder why we continue to have so many ills in this country.

Related Articles: ‘Meat eaters are bad people’, Rejection of Rationality V: Vegetarianism, Are Humans vegetarians or meat-eaters?, What’s the problem with Indians?, Indian values are actually habits I, Indian values are actually habits II, Bad Parenting- Insensitivity and Indecency


  1. Ethics apart, UN thinks eating a predominantly vegetarian diet is the answer to attaining global sustainability. Veganism is growing fast and you will find yourself alienated if you don't follow suit. And yes, I teach my kid to be a vegetarian and showed him how meat is actually prepared and he puked all over after seeing it.

    1. i showed my son how cow milking is done, and he puked all over after seeing it. But i don't teach my son to hate milk drinkers.

    2. Who said I teach my kid to hate meat eaters?

      BTW on milk, humans are the only species on this goddamn earth which drinks other species milk and that too into adulthood. Gross!

    3. Global meat production is one of the main reasons why a lot of people in third world go without food.

    4. I agree with anon@12:02. Meat eaters are also a reason for global warming.

      And anon@2:05 - did you show the mechanized milking in west? Did you show him how milk is purified?

    5. Orbital cycles  vary slowly over tens of thousands of years and at present are in an overall cooling trend which would be expected to lead towards an ice age ,.,.,

      Global Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling -

      2012 Data Confirms Earth In Cooling Trend--

  2. I bully vegetarians the way vegetarians bully you and I am not a non-vegetarian :)

  3. Sujai,

    Impolite/unruly behavior of few people notwithstanding, I think you're basing your opinion on some bad experiences. (this by no means implies that I'm belittling the trauma of your child).

    I hardly see people making much fuss about dietary habits these days. I for one am vegetarian whereas most of my friends are non-veg. Together we always go to hotels/restaurants where both are served, and I'm happy to eat what I like and they go about with their preferences on the same table.

    Not denying the fact that some people hold on to outmoded habits, indulge in moral policing etc. But honestly I feel you're making a larger point and extrapolating the results of a small sample to a larger population.

    Of course, you're free to disagree from your own experience, but I stand by my opinion that India is fast changing for better in this particular aspect. :)

    1. Madhav: I recommend reading the other related articles listed at the bottom of the article:
      1. ‘Meat eaters are bad people’: Indian text books preach meat-eating as bad
      2. Rejection of Rationality V: Vegetarianism: Here I argue that Indian vegetarianism is not same as the New Age vegetarianism.
      3. Are Humans vegetarians or meat-eaters?: I make the case that Humans are omnivorous.
      4. What’s the problem with Indians?: Many Indians like to impose their habits onto others.
      5. Indian values are actually habits I, Indian values are actually habits II,
      6. Bad Parenting- Insensitivity and Indecency

  4. The commenters should realize something - this article is not about virtues of vegetarianism - it is about parenting - teaching your kids certain values by which they discriminate other kids. Please focus on the subject.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Unlike the rising hindu militants, by its very definition, "militant vegetarians" pose no great threat, cos' they by very definition don't kill animals (obviously humans included)

    3. Funny. Mr. Rajesh Suseelan, I guess you might want to rethink about three of your premises.
      1 Anons are Indians.
      2 Anons are vegetarians.
      3 Humans are not animals.

  5. lets go green by eatin non-vegahh!!!

  6. Sujai,

    Speaking of prejudices, I can accurately guess who these people who hate meat-eaters are. "Tamil Bharmins" I may be wrong, but that is my prejudice, my pre-conceived notion. This is not something my parents taught me but something I just picked along the way.

    As such, your child's or your own sound pretty unusual - not something I heard of before. I am pretty sure these meat-eater-haters never ate chicken before. It is their loss.

    And please dont tell my parents that I eat hamburgers at McDonalds ...;


  7. The question I have is not whether vegetarianism is good or meat eating is good, but the kind of values we are teaching our kids. Is it not much better to tell the kids 'we don't eat meat, but others do' than telling them that 'other kids who eat meat are dirty girls'.

  8. to all those so-called think-tankers from so so-called veggies fyi... check out

  9. Hi Sujai,
    I like your blog even though I disagree on some comments.

    Discriminating or having prejuidice because of ones food habits, caste/community,birth,colour, religion, political views etc is very bad and shouldn't be encouraged. Coming to the topic vegetarianism (I have read your blogs on vegetarianism), Yes many indians go too far by not eating in Non-Veg hotels, Non Veg Friends houses etc by mentioning purity and other religious reasons

    Many Indians are Vegetarians (which includes me :-) ) or Non-Veggies who exclude certain type of Non-Veg food(like Non-Halal meat, Beef/Pork) due to religious reasons and not due to scientific temper, rational thinking, food security etc

    Many Vegetarians have misconceptions that Non-Vegetarians are not clean, agressive/Macho/Wild, Not-Intelligent, immoral etc and develop prejudices

    Similarly I have seen many Non-Vegetarians also stereotyping/prejudiced against Vegetarians and make fun of them (Ghaas Poos etc) and consider them soft spoken, Mild & Not-brave enough, May not be healthy etc.
    The famouse Body builder of Andhra, Rammurthy is a Vegetarian

    I have met many Non-Vegetarians who are well mannered, soft spoken, mild, smart/intelligent, Keep their house clean and Vegetarians who are aggressive, Not intelligent, stupid, not clean etc. As you mentioned many peacefull countries in this world are non vegetarian

    I dont think there is a correlation between Non-Veg/Veg Food and ones behaviour/intelligence (correct me). What one needs is a healthy balanced diet (either Veg or Non-Veg with good proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins) from child hood and maintain good health over time

    Coming to discriminating Non-Vegetarians in housing I dont think its a big issue compared to discrimination against lower castes, Muslims etc. East (Orissa/Bengal), Kerala and North-East are mostly Non-Veg. In parts of AP, TN, Karnataka, MH, gujarat etc , I have seen many Veggie's refusing to rent houses (even flats where the owner and tenant dont stay nearby). We all need to develop tolerance towards others who are different than us in Food, biliefs, religion and indulge in good parenting with emphasis on values such as honesty or integrity



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