In a country where most of the population is Vegetarian, is it possible to be a Vegan?
As a Vegan in India, the short answer is yes, but the long answer is it has more to it.
Yes, it is possible to be a Vegan in India. Is it easy? It depends. India is a country where cows milk is considered sacred and with milk even holding medicinal values in Ayurveda, the thing about being Vegan in India is that you have to be careful about everything.
Considering food, most of the Indian dishes are Vegan by nature but when being prepared animal products are being added to it. When at an Indian restaurant, you have to make sure that no ghee, butter or any other animal product was added to the dish. When in other restaurants just ask the waiter to not add any meat, eggs or dairy to your food. Be sure to mention it coz 95% of the population doesn’t even know what the term Vegan means.
And regarding the soaps and other stuff, I am too lazy to go around the city looking for shops that sell Vegan stuff, so I order them from Amazon. Dear Earth, Soulflower, Natures Gate, Genesis are just a few brands I use.
When it comes to clothing its simple, you don’t wear anything made of leather, wool, silk, fur or anything derived from an animal. You don’t have to worry about looks tho, equally good or better looking faux alternatives are available, you just have to search for them.
Another problem arises when eating at a friend’s/relative’s house. You can tell them you can’t eat meat and they understand, but when you tell them you don’t eat dairy, get ready for all the weird looks and questions from them. But at some places you can’t do anything but wonder if something has animal products in it and either not eat them or be forcibly pushed down your throat by the people around you.
To sum it all up, in this day and age, its so much easier to be a Vegan in India but still not as comfortable as a meat eater. Its all up to you to choose which you value more? ethics or comfort. If you value ethics over comfort, you will survive.