'Non-vegetarian' is the biggest casteist scam that has ever been pulled on Indians

The Last Caveman
The Last CavemanJan 19, 2018 | 14:24

'Non-vegetarian' is the biggest casteist scam that has ever been pulled on Indians

Assume that you are a 30-year-old woman from Delhi, with a degree in Economics and a passion for art and Hollywood movies.

What if everyone starts describing you as “a non-minor non-man from non-Mumbai, with a degree in non-Engineering and a passion for non-sports and non-Bollywood movies”?

If you think there is nothing wrong with that description you are probably somebody who finds nothing wrong with the phrase “non-vegetarian”.


If you think there is nothing wrong with the phrase “non-vegetarian”, congratulations: you are living the greatest con, that too a discriminatory and casteist one, that was ever pulled on Indian society.

For starters, “non-vegetarian” is not even a real phrase. It is like referring to the south as a “non-North” or the night as “non-day” or a work-day as “non-weekend”.

At the time of drafting this article, Wikipedia does not even have an entry for the phrase “non-vegetarian”.


“Non-vegetarian” is a totally manufactured fake word-play; and in the Indian context it becomes a weapon-grade fake wordplay.

The deliberate negation that is put to use here is so sublime that it qualifies to be a masterpiece. In one swoop, in one innocuous sounding three-letter-prefix, a boatload of negativity is attributed to the mere notion of eating meat. It incepts the idea that “vegetarian” is “normal” while meat (“non-vegetarian”) is “abnormal”. By extension, vegetarian is deemed “pure” and meat “impure”.

To all the meat-eaters out there: THIS IS SPARTA!

There are a lot of people out there who have chosen to be vegetarians, for reasons that range from lifestyle-related to ethical or environmental. They are happy to eat at any restaurant or home, with others who eat meat, as long as they get their greenery to munch on. This is not a declaration of war against this lot because really all they are guilty of is making a poor life-choice – like supporting Arsenal, for example. It is not a crime.


Then there is the whole “pure-vegetarian” crew, the large class of predominantly upper-caste Indians who are in love with “purity”. They would eat out only in “pure-vegetarian” joints or would demand that “non-vegetarians” use separate cutlery and crockery so that their “purity” does not get contaminated, as they did recently at IIT Bombay. When the students and faculty at one of India’s premier institutes for science and technology appear to believe that there is some tangible element of “impurity” in “non-vegetarians”, an “impurity” that is powerful enough to withstand modern detergents and dishwashers and to somehow contaminate their vegetarian “purity”, one begins to realise how deep-seated this prejudice and discrimination is.

In fact, “purity” is big business too. This packaged puttu-powder, branded “Brahmins” (of course!) makes two “promises” on its packaging: “a vegetarian promise” and “a purity promise”.


This is laughable in so many ways.

For starters, “puttu” powder has pretty much just one ingredient and that is rice flour. Why does that even require a “vegetarian promise”? Is there a “non-vegetarian” rice-flour that the rest of the world is not aware of? Or maybe that was what Columbus actually set out to discover in the first place when he waded into what later turned out to be the US of A.


The linkage they try to establish is pretty obvious:

Brahmins are vegetarians.

Vegetarians are “pure”.

Ergo, Brahmins' puttu-powder is “pure” (unlike other brands which are probably made by all kinds of people and therefore not “pure”).

If you are one of these “purity” obsessed vegetarians in 2018, there is news for you:

You are not “pure”, in fact you are the farthest from it thanks to the prejudice and discrimination that infests your mind even in the 21st century.

(With apologies to the Bard) “Here’s the smell of bigotry still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten your casteist mind.”

To all the meat-eaters out there: THIS IS SPARTA!

There is “food” and there is “vegetarian food”.

Strike off your friend-list, anyone who tries asking if you are “non-veg”.

Swear on your Beef Ularthiyathu, you will give up this bigoted phrase.

Enough of putting up with the tyranny of the few while choosing a restaurant to eat out. Tell them to make do with the “non-meat” items on the menu; their “purity” be damned.

Swear on your Tunde Kababs, Ilish Machher Jhol, Coorg Pandi Curry and Beef Ularthiyathu – to stop once and for all using that fabricated, artificially negated phrase (“non-vegetarian”) invented and perpetuated by bigots.

If you are still reading, you are The Resistance.

“The Last Caveman”

A non-Gujarati, non-millennial.

Non-PhD in entire non-political science.

Huge fan of non-Arsenal and non-bhindi.

Last updated: April 29, 2018 | 13:29
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