The term vegan was coined in 1944 by an animal rights activist named Donald Watson. He was also the founder of “The Vegan Society”, one of the first organisations that pioneered the vegan movement globally. What started as a committee of just six members grew into a global movement as we know it today.

The Vegan Society defines veganism as:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal and cruelty-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

However, the idea or lifestyle of veganism has been around for thousands of years. The origin of the practice has its roots in ancient Indian and Mediterranean cultures. However, India is where the practice evolved into more of a lifestyle than a diet.

The early texts of the Bhagavad Gita, which has its origins in the 2nd CE, mentions discourses on a vegan lifestyle.

“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that’s consciousness.”

Buddhism and Jainism, which have their origins in India, have propagated the vegan lifestyle for centuries. The word Ahimsa which means peace and non-violence is a Sanskrit word that has formed the philosophy of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

References to the vegan lifestyle are found in the ancient Tamil text Kural, where the poet Thiruvalluvar, relays the importance of the benefits of the vegan diet. The core philosophies imbibed in this text form the core of the modern vegan movement today.

The definition and the linguistics of veganism might have their roots in the west, but the core principles have their roots in the Indian subcontinent. Here the philosophy evolved from a diet to a lifestyle and found its way into other disciplines such as Yoga and Kalaripayattu.

India might have its history and culture of veganism and a plant-based diet, but our country has a rich history with meat and meat recipes too. Some of these dishes have rich histories, and rich cultural values too.

For example, the Galouti Kebab. This street food delicacy found its origins in the court of Nawab Asad Ud Doula. The Nawab at that time had lost all of his teeth, and could not bite into meat. That is when his cook came up with the Galouti Kebab- a mutton kebab that would melt in the king’s mouth. The dish was an instant hit, and soon became one of the most popular dishes in Lucknow. It is still a very popular street delicacy in Lucknow today.

Similarly, dishes like the chicken keema samosa, chicken seekh kebab and tunday kebab have all had rich origins and have found their way into Indian culture, as both street food and as common household snacks.

Today, over 20% of India’s population is vegetarian. Our staple dishes which include rice, dal and various curries are inherently plant-based foods. In India, adapting to a vegan lifestyle is not hard. It is just about making the simple choice to swap a few ingredients in our daily meals.

As for meat-based food, this is where our plant based meat comes in. Our range of products which include kebabs and samosas are made keeping authentic flavours in mind. By choosing Sudo, you are making a conscious choice to get back to the roots of a cruelty-free lifestyle and you will also enjoy the meaty flavours that you crave.

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