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Tea Leaves

India highlights dark side of vegetarianism

Cow protection campaign by vigilante ideologues threatens safety of beef eaters

Growing up as a Hindu in 1980s India, my culinary life unfolded against the backdrop of the question mark that punctuates all Indian diets: vegetarian or nonvegetarian?

The answer to this question situates respondents along several axes: caste, conservatism and religion. Vegetarians are likely to be identified as traditional, upper caste Hindus, while non-vegetarian could mean Muslim. In the Indian dietary syllogism, not all Hindus are vegetarian, but all Muslims are nonvegetarian, so nonvegetarian Indians are likely Muslim.

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