Mr. Donald Watson was the person who created the term Vegan or non diary vegetarian. He also founded Vegan Society in UK on November 1st 1944. Today, vegans constitute 0.2% to 1.3% of US population and between 0.25% and 0.4% of UK population. Observing November 1st annually as the World Vegan day reveals its popularity and significance in the contemporary world.
Although Veganism has originated in West, most of the Indians who are traditionally vegetarians or lacto vegetarians are turning themselves to Vegans. Vegan population in India is approximately 300-400 and the figures are ascending owing to the recent surge in fitness and health awareness among Indian population.
The Indian Vegan Society started by Madhya Pradesh based chartered accountant Manish Jain is one of the popular vegan communities in India. He became a vegan in the year 2003 owing to his deep feeling for all living organisms. He is running and maintaining a website-www.indianvegan.com-for propagating Veganism through the web world. “Web world has a wider reach and it is an apt medium for spreading Vegan philosophy as number of people accessing it is increasing day by day” he said. “Apart from online activities, our society conduct poster exhibition, distribution of CDs and leaflets for getting more people into it” he added.
When asked whether it is expensive to become a Vegan, 22 year old Niranjan.S.Amarnath, a Madras University student and also a strict Vegan says that, “Not at all! Vegan food is cheaper and of course healthier. Similarly all sorts of Vegan accessories like non leather shoes, bags and wallets are very cheaper which are made from denim, canvas and rexin. An avid animal rights campaigner and an active member of PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), he declares that: “The best part is that I contribute less towards world hunger, pollution and animal suffering and it make me really happy and proud”.
“At places where you don’t get coffee or tea without milk then people around you might raise their eye brows since it looks baffling to some” says 38 year old Mohan Santhanam when asked to point out any difficulties in being a Vegan. “Vegans need to be an ‘ingredient reader’; as the products we use need to be free from milk solids like butter and other substances like gelatin. So, we must read the ‘ingredients’ carefully” Niranjan says.
“Poorly planned diet invites health problems” warns Manish Jain. “One has to be very careful about the intake of proper diet and especially vitamin B12 as a supplement because usually Vegans are deprived of vitamin B12” he also opined.
Next time when you walk into a restaurant and hear someone asking for tea without milk or in a foot wear shop anyone prefers rexin shoes to leather ones, remember he or she may be leading a life free from cruelty and above all, merging their lives with transcendental universal soul. “we have no right or need to use animal products” Manish Jain firmly puts in. This passionate Vegan strongly believes that if we take care of nature, nature in turn protect us”.
In this era of global warming and atmospheric pollution, this life style is worth considering for those who aspire to create a difference to the world we live in and set an inspiring example to billions of other world citizens.