Clichés around the world. Are all Indians vegetarians?

We only eat green vegetables with herbs, spices and dairy products“, says Gaurav Jain. He is Indian, lives in a large modern apartment in New Delhi, and he is strictly lacto-vegetarian, like the rest of his family. A millennial dietary practice specific to his religious community, in the name of respect for any form of life.

“My mother doesn’t eat any vegetables that grow underground, like onions, ginger, or carrots, because they’re full of insects that will die when you harvest them.”

Gaurav Jain

at franceinfo

“She also doesn’t eat food from the night before, because bacteria are growing in it.“, says this director of marketing in a large clothing factory.

This practice is however an exception because beyond the clichés, the vast majority of Indians are not vegetarians.

Christians, Muslims and even the majority of Hindus are now carnivores. According to several studies, about three quarters of Indians eat fish or meat. This is the case of Yash Gupta, a Hindu seated in the Muslim district of Nizamudin in New Delhi, where the meat and grill restaurants are lined up.

He just enjoyed a chicken and spiced rice dish called biryani: “My family is completely vegetarian, but I’ve been eating meat since I was 17.” explains Yash Gupta.

“Meat is forbidden at home, so I have to go out to get some. I eat everything, even beef. I consider that we either eat all the animals or we don’t eat any of them.”

An exceptional freedom, however: the Hindu nationalist government in power strongly promotes vegetarianism and the protection of the sacred cow. And it regularly toughens the laws that punish the slaughter of these cattle.

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