Now a days there is huge uproar against rising prices of pulses and failure of government to curb it. The cunsumption of chicken is proving cheaper than that of pulses. Though sounds funny, it is a reality. Also issues like beef ban and related religious sentiments in some parts of society are shaping food habits of the people. On the backdrop of all these ' being vegetarian or non vegetarian' seems to be less important.
If we think of evolution of a mankind as a whole , any prejudice that particular section of the society being vegetarian or non vegetarian proves wrong. In his early days of evolution and before invention of agriculture (paleolithic and mesolithic age) man was dependent upon hunting as well as gathering the natural products for survival. In further development man stabilised. With development of various religions and related philosophies some sections did away with consumption of meat e.g. Jain, Brahmins and more. But if we consider todays globalized world these beliefs are also fading away and consumption patterns are shaped by taste, availibility, affodability.
In food pyramid producers are at the bottom and carnivorous are at higher level. Hence the energy required for production of per kg of grains etc is less than per kg of meat. Also the non vegetarian food is chief source of proteins and fats only where as various kind of vegetarian food is essential for satisfying the nutritional requirements of human being. Hence non vegetarian food can be considered as addition and not substitution to the vegetarian food. Also non govermental organisations like PETA are making an attempt to minimize/stop killing the animal for food. Such kind of genuine attempts are questioning the ethical issues involved in the process.
Madhya Pradesh government was planning to introduce eggs as source of protein in government run Mid Day Meal Programme. But it failed after the debate of vegetarian vs non-vegetarian. I think with proper modifications it would have been a good step to minimize the under nourishment in the school children where India is performing very poor at global level.
The agriculture and related food processing industry is flourishing nowadays. Also India is performing great in fishing, poultry sector. The considerable no of people get access to their bread and butter through these works. Various food products (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) are part of Indias import and Export and contributing to India's fast growing economy. Thus these production and consumption of food items not only india but over the world takes place on the basis of demand mostly and not of a particular section.
Considering the issues involved dictating the food habits of the people will not be tolerated in the democratic country like India and no governing authority shoild try to do the same. on the other hand consumers should keep in mind the good and bad effects of particular food habit and should act accordingly. Finally food should be seen as a need for survival. And no taboo should be attached to it on the basis of consumption pattern .
-Shivraj Shahaji Dongare