India, the 'vegetarian' country that loves meat (if it's not beef)
Only 20% of the population does not consume meat, eggs and fish. The idea of "vegetarian societies" widespread in the seventeenth century. The vegetarian recipes for which India is famous are a symbol of the influence of the high caste, deemed "pure". The "food schizophrenia" of those who want to show themselves "cosmopolitan": vegetarians in private, carnivores in public.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For a vegetarian country, India has a curious percentage of citizens who love animal food products: only 20% of the population does not consume meat, eggs and fish. The Indian researchers Balmurli Natrajan and Suraj Jacob, with a study recently published in the journal Economic and Political Weekly (Epw), dispel the myth of Indian vegetarianism.
The idea that India is a vegetarian country is rooted because of generalizations that have been circulating since the seventeenth century in France and the United Kingdom, when they were called "vegetarian societies". Any vegetarian would say that India is a "culinary paradise" for the variety of recipes, but in reality the typical vegetarian dishes of the various regions of India have little to do with the diet of those who live there, and they are rather revealing influence of certain communities and castes. For example, Tamil Nadu is famous for a dish made of rice and black lentils, although the state of South India is the one with the lowest number of vegetarians: the recipes fame is reflected by the importance of the brahmanis, high caste of Hindu priests . In fact, the vegetarian regime is a sign of ritual purity and belongs to high castes. For this reason, the lower castes are more inclined to adopt the diet of the upper castes according to their importance in the region.
The situation has become more intricate recently, since the same high castes want to show themselves at the same time as a wealthy, urban and cosmopolitan social class - a class, in short, in which meat is generally consumed. The result is "schizophrenic" eating behaviors, as the French daily Le Monde defines them: according to the two experts, it is possible that Indians are vegetarians at home but not in public, with friends and colleagues.
What is a fact is that often in India meat is consumed in secret, especially if it is beef. Since the Hindu nationalist premier Narendra Modi came to power, attacks by "cow vigilantes" have multiplied on consumers of beef, for the majority the Muslims. Last May, the Modi government tried to impose the ban on beef, which was then suspended by the Supreme Court in July.