(IN) My grandpa’s battle for vegetarianism
- [Hindustan Times - opinion]
When a Bengali stops eating fish it becomes news. My dadu
(grandfather) decided to be a vegetarian in our suburban Calcutta home
in early 1970s and the whole neighbourhood and all our relatives were
shocked. Most of his well-wishers were worried about his chances of
survival without high-protein diet in his late sixties. The fact that
majority of the Indians are hale and hearty on vegetarian diet is
never enough justification for Bengalis. The vegetarians of "cow belt"
and "curd belt" are always ridiculed by the Bengalis.
My dadu opted for vegetarianism not due to any change of heart or
faith but simple personal health. Like all bhadralok Bengalis he was
on a regular machh-bhat diet and was suffering from myriad digestive
disorders. When neither homeopathic nor allopathic system of medicine
could cure him completely he started experimenting with his diet. As
he gradually switched over to vegetarian diet, it made wonders to his
Trouble started, when rejuvenated, he started championing the cause of
vegetarianism and started lecturing all and sundry. He even raised
doubts about the benefits of fish-based diet. Now that was pure
blasphemy for Bengalis who swear by fish that lies at the roots of
Vegetarianism is a global fad now, after getting western endorsement
to a century-old Indian concept now even many Bengalis pay lip service
to the cause of vegetarianism. But fifteen years back when dadu died
he was a disillusioned man, no Bengali true to his fish took him
Nandini Dutta can be reached at nadutta@...
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