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Chicken and Eggs Should be Classified as Vegetarian Food, Says Indian Minister

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also claimed that if you feed a chicken ayurvedic food, it will produce ayurvedic eggs, which will be a great source of protein for vegetarians.
Pallavi Pundir
Jakarta, ID
india ayurvada chicken and eggs vegetarian
Photo on the left via Unsplash and on the right via Wikimedia Commons

Recent surveys have shown that the majority of Indians are meat-eaters, but, as a recent report shows, vegetarianism could be fighting to expand its definition in the country. Earlier this week, Sanjay Raut—a Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP—urged the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of the Indian Parliament to consider classifying chicken and eggs as vegetarian food items. Raut, who was speaking on the subject of ayurveda (an ancient Indian system of medicine), reportedly “took everyone by surprise” and demanded a decision from the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) on whether chicken is vegetarian and non-vegetarian.


On Monday, Raut brought up this burning issue as other Rajya Sabha members spoke about higher funding to encourage traditional medicines to benefit the country. He reportedly spoke about his journey to a small village in the Nandurbar region of Maharashtra, where the adivasi people served him food. “When I ask them what was it, they said it was an ayurvedic chicken. They also said that they take care of it in such a way that after (eating) you will get rid of all illnesses,” he said.

He also said that researchers at Chaudhary Charan Singh University, in the north Indian city of Meerut, are working on “ayurvedic eggs”. He quoted the same researchers and added that chicken that is fed ayurvedic food will produce ayurvedic eggs, which will be an apt source of protein for vegetarians. The social media in India, too, had an appropriate response to Raut’s statements this week, asking for mutton and beef to be added to his list of vegetarian items.

To drive further his point, Raut also recalled the hipster trend of turmeric latte or golden milk—an ancient ayurvedic drink made of turmeric and milk—and said that the West was encouraging these foods while Indians were ignoring them. In a country where food is a serious bone of contention—leading to bans and subsequent violent vigilantism and lynchings over beef, for instance—Raut’s arguments could either fuel the ‘India is a vegetarian country’ myth, or, at best, spark yet another hipster trend on some phony health-food cafe menu.

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