Posts Tagged ‘indian vegans


Vegan Musicians On Veganism: Shibam Talukdar (Knight)

Shibam Talukdar

Age: 25

Band: Knight (guitar, vocals)

When, how and why did you go vegan?

I went vegan in July, 2017. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was around that time that I quit all non-vegan products. I quit meat first and then gradually decreased the consumption of dairy products till I finally quit them. Giving up meat was not difficult for me. Since childhood, I have seen animals getting butchered in meat shops and I had always felt guilty about eating animals. However, conditioning overpowered any sense of guilt I had and I continued eating meat until one day when I thought that I had had enough and I was not going to have animals killed for my food. When I started reading articles and watching documentaries on veganism, I got to know of the cruel dairy/egg/leather/silk/honey/wool industry practices and I decided that it was time quit all non-vegan products for good.

IMG_2368I went vegan because I felt that it was unjust to exploit, abuse, enslave and murder animals for our interest. I believe that an individual should be accountable to themselves for their actions and choices. Harming sentient beings for our enjoyment is not only unfair, it’s unnecessary. The environmental impact of animal agriculture also added to the many reasons why I turned vegan.

Do you have any nonhuman companions?

No, I don’t.

Do you help animals in any way?

I am not associated with any NGO or animal rescue body, but I try to help animals at an individual level. If I see any animal in trouble, I try to get them out of it.

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

When I was very new to veganism, I did not have any idea about how massive the Indian vegan community was. I got to know of the scale of the vegan movement in India when I joined the ‘Vegans in India’ group on Facebook.

It is true that a majority of Indians are non-vegans. It’s ridiculous that people associate eating animals/dairy products with Indian culture, but sadly that is how it is in most parts of this country. There are also vegetarians who feel morally superior to non-vegetarians, and when you show them what goes on in dairy industries, they make an exhibition of their utter indifference, unaccountability and stupidity.

It’s my belief that most Indians don’t even think that animal exploitation, abuse and murder are serious issues. Most of them go on to make a mockery of themselves by giving ludicrous statements justifying their eating habits with no logical basis whatsoever.

However, from what I have been seeing, veganism is on the rise in India and more people are becoming aware of the vegan lifestyle. Thanks to the many sensitization movements going on in different parts of this county, people are getting educated on veganism and hopefully they will make the right choice at the earliest.

SHIBAM TALUKDARPhysical and mental changes you’ve noticed since going vegan?

I think I am at peace with my conscience now that I’m vegan, and I have much more clarity in thinking and of the general philosophy of life than I used to. Physically, I feel more agile and active than before.

What kind of food do you like and dislike?

I am a sucker for healthy food. I like trying different cuisines and experimenting with my food. Of late, I have developed a distaste for junk food and processed foods and although I do make exceptions from time to time, I try to eat what’s good for my body.

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

I have had many memorable meals and it’s hard to choose the most memorable from amongst them. I would like to visit Carrots (Bangalore), The Vegan Oven (Ludhiana), Bodhi Greens (Dharamshala), Jumping Beans (Bangalore), Vegan Burger Kitchen (Mumbai), Ahimsa – The Vegan Café (Shirdi), etc.



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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