Vegan Terminology and concept were coined by teacher Donald Watson and then future-wife Dorothy Morgan in 1944 in the UK. It is the practice of abstaining from all types of animal exploitation and cruelty including human beings. The strict vegans do not use any type of animal products like meat, mild dairy products, or any animal-derived substance products as much as possible and reject the commodity status of animals. Before that vegetarians used to eat animal products till then but veganism was begun with the idea of not using any animal products and being kind to all living things. The middle etaria was removed from the term vegetarian to begin veganism. Vishuddha Shakahar is the Nepalese translation terminology used by Nepalese vegans. After that much practice has been added to the movement. The Environmental Vegans are very much concerned about industrial animal farming which is said to be the biggest environmental deteriorator. Industrial Farming consumes pollutes too much water and air too.
The dietary associations of many countries have not preferred vegan food, especially to breastfeeding mother and children yet but vegan researchers and dieticians say it is a matter of food management rather. The right amount of nutritious vegan food is complete nutrition it will not lack the necessary nutrition body needs. The availability of food or fruits may be challenging in many places. The Sportsperson, pregnant and children surely need many servings of nutritious food in a day. For example, the sportsperson would need more than six thousand calories and as many as 6 servings a day similarly the pregnant mother also needs the double amount of food in comparison to the ordinary state.
Is it a western concept? Many people say it is a western concept, Is that true? If we see major food and life practice of Nepal, the majority of meal is vegan or nearly vegan. Though they never were conscious of consuming and abstaining from food they were eating. For example, a majority of typical Nepalese Home or people usually eat dal, bhat, roti, dhido, aato, makai, bhatmas, chiura, tarkari, achar and water which is vegan. There are nonveg and dairy eating families of people also that is another case, though. Similarly, many people in India, Thailand, Indonesia etc. have told the majority food of the family is vegan though they may not be strict and religiously vegan yet.
Many religious especially Brahmin by caste in India and Nepal were supposed to eat the sattwik food which is vegan or almost vegan, some may still add dairy products in sattwik food though. They did not eat rajasik containing meat and dairy and tamasik containing alcohol like food and beverages. The certain religious groups ate only sattwik food which was almost vegan food. Many religious practitioners and meditators ate only vegan. The majority of Buddhist Monks eat one cooked meal before noon in the day eat only fruit and salad at evening. Many people have practiced eating one sattwik meal which is usually vegan in a day. Some of the tantrik practioners of Nepal practiced eating certain meal which was not only vegan but fruitarian and some believed to even breatharian.
When did veganism begin in Nepal? Nepal has been always said to be Devbhumi i.e. land of God. It is the center of spiritual and religious activities, meditation and tantra practice too. Lord Buddha’s first sheela among the Panchasheela is ahimsa i.e. Nonviolence. Not only physical but mental ahimasa is also very necessary. Why is there so much animal sacrifice to gods and goddesses? The practitioners of tantra says one can only sacrifice the living being to God or superpower if only they can revive the dead one. The practice of sacrificing the animal for just the test of bud and in the name of the liberation of animal is wrong practice. That level of practice is very high level of practice indeed. Supreme Master Ching Hai’s arrival in 1st May 2000 was vegan awareness creating entry in Nepal. Rock Star Brian Adams’ arrival in 2011 and show in Dasarath Stadium created another new wave on veganism when many people came to know that he was a vegan. That surely created interest among many Nepalese in veganism. It is expected another wave of veganism in Nepal will be created after the Himalayan Vegan Festival 2022 which is going to be happened in 15 to 17 September in Kathmandu and 18 to 20 in Bhutan. The two-time Mount Everest summiteer, Photographer, sportsperson Kuntal Joisher has come Nepal many times and created awareness how the veganism can save the environment and mother earth. Currently he is in Nepal. He is an avid ethical vegan who proved all that vegan cannot climb Mount Everest.
Why veganism? For Health, Compassion, Ahimsa, anti-cruelty, environment, sustaining world. For me personally, the environment is very dear and field of subject from my childhood. As the ICMOD like organizations are working to save the Himalayas. Himalayas is water reserve tank for nearly 2 billion people, the global warming and other harmful activities that abolishes the ice or Himalayas will be great crisis to not only human beings but all the living things. Industrialization and machines create global warming faster. So, permaculture, organic traditional farming may save the environment and the world longer. We need to promote permaculture for good health of living beings and mother earth itself.
How can one begin? One can easily be vegan and be healthy and compassionate. The Earth health and mental health for peace is very necessary as the men have created too much arms and ammunition that can destroy our home earth easily at once. It is really very sad and threatening thing of this developed era. Can veganism contribute for peace? It is said that the food affects the thought or the peace begins from food plate so veganism will definitely contribute for peace. For peace, peace creating food is necessary and compassion will definitely save the world.
Finally, What is HVF 2022? Himalayan vegan Festival is event organized World Vegan Organization Nepal with the guidance and support of World Vegan Organization. It is dedicated solely to introducing, educating, and promoting a plant-based lifestyle and its benefits to the general public by hosting over 100 international, regional and local delegates, celebrities and speakers from more than 32 countries. The title itself says it is very important to create conservation awareness in this area because the glaciers of the Himalayas ruins, the living things depended on it and about 2 billion people will be affected a lot not only that the sea level will create other problems by drowning many surfaces as well. The Himalayan Vegan Festival 2022 aims to share the skill and knowledge to prepare vegan meal at home at nominal cost.
Editor : Mr. Yubraj Maski, the former teacher, independent filmmaker is the member of World Vegan Organization Nepal, Core Team Member of Himalayan Vegan Festival 2022 organizing team.