Vegan Musicians on Veganism: Arjun Iyer (Eatshootleave, Gumbal, Barty’s Path)

Arjun Iyer

Age: 29

Bands: Eatshootleave (folk/punk rock), Gumbal (space/alternative rock), Barty’s Path (World Music/Orchestral solo project)

When, how and why did you go vegan? 

I’d always felt guilty whenever I’d consumed eggs and dairy having seen Earthlings a few years ago. And yet I’d be the first one to call people out on any form of animal cruelty. One day, last May, I decided I’d have to stop  being a hypocrite and went vegan overnight.

Do you have any nonhuman companions? 

arjuniyerMy sisters (both vegans) and I have adopted/rescued two stray cats back in my house in Navi Mumbai. I live alone in Khar in a tiny studio apartment and run an erratic work schedule, so I don’t have any companions IN the place, but I have adopted a few strays on the street, two of whom (Galileo and Jean-Pierre) I brought along from my previous rented place.

What do you think is the way forward for veganism in India? 

Veganism, as a concept, is still extremely new in the country. With all our regional cuisines being rich in milk or ghee or curd, it’s unfathomable to the common man, along with the misinformation that people receive since childhood about milk being healthy. With the whole ‘cows are sacred’ notion, people even believe that dairy cows in India are treated very well, dismissing videos from western countries as being limited to their land. Video outreaches can go a long way in dispelling that myth, as will talking about it and spreading awareness. It has seen a sudden spurt in interest, though, with newspaper articles on the subject and new restaurants devoting sections on their menu to vegan dishes, and all of this bodes really well for the future of animal liberation awareness in India.

Physical and mental changes you’ve noticed since going vegan? 

Physically, I haven’t noticed much, because of all the vegan junk food I consume, living alone (my first 7-8 months of veganism were spent in a flat without a kitchen). Mentally, I feel free and unburdened of the guilt that used to prick me everytime I’d dig into a dish an animal had to suffer for. I do realize though, that the fight isn’t over and it still hurts me to see the casual violence we inflict upon them without a second thought.

What kind of food do you like and dislike?

arjuniyer1I really love homemade food (especially my mum’s south Indian stuff) and now that I have a kitchen, I experiment with a whole bunch of cuisines. I love cooking! The only cuisine that really doesn’t go well with my system is Chinese food. I’ve pretty much gotten over them.

Tell me about your most memorable meal and restaurants you like to visit.

The Khow Suey at Eat Thai is absolutely amazing! They have a whole bunch of vegan dishes, all delicious. Some other great places (apart from the yum tiny local places that are easily veganisable) I’d recommend are Lemon Leaf, The Yoga House and Smokehouse Deli (which has a dedicated vegan section). Oh, and if you’re in Goa, Bean Me Up is an all vegan restaurant with a great selection of dishes.

Check out Arjun’s bands: Eatshootleave | Gumbal | Barty’s Path

LIST: 13 Indian Musicians You Didn’t Know Were Vegan


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