Thursday November 14, 2019

Turin’s Mayor pledges to turn it into the First ‘Vegetarian City’ in Italy

Turin is one such city of Italy that serves great traditional meat like bollito misto, stew made of beef, sausages and other sorts of poultry

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  • Chiara Appendino, the mayor of Turin, is on a quest to turn Turin as the first vegetarian city of Italy
  • After a long span of 23 years of only left wing politicians turning mayors, Chiara Appendino won the mayor elections with 55% of total votes in June 2016
  • Established in 2009, the Five Star Movement was started by comedian-activist Beppe Grillot which promotes vegetarianism

Italy is a country which is rich in culture and offers the best of fashion- the Milan Fashion Week, heritage- the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and of course cuisine. Not only has Italy given the world its favourite pizza and olives, but also various dishes like lasagna, pasta and riso. With a country that offers some of the best cuisines in the world, it is next to impossible to imagine Italy turning vegetarian.

Turin is one such city of Italy that serves great traditional meat like bollito misto, stew made of beef, sausages and other sorts of poultry. It is a popular destination among Italians during winters due to its vicinity to the Alps.

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Mayor Chiara Appendino. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Chiara Appendino. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

But Chiara Appendino, the mayor of Turin, is on a quest to turn Turin as the first vegetarian city of Italy. Turin now has more than thirty restaurants that serve vegan food. As an initiative to “protect the environment, health, and animals”, Appendino encourages vegetarianism and vegan diets in her manifesto, reported independent.co.uk.

After a long span of 23 years of only left wing politicians turning mayors, Chiara Appendino won the mayor elections with 55% of total votes in June 2016.

Not only has Ms. Appendino working towards vegetarianism, but various movements have been carried out to promote the same. Established in 2009, the Five Star Movement was started by comedian-activist Beppe Grillot which promotes vegetarianism. This movement was started as an initiative against corruption and for the planet’s environmental issues, but it also has an ambiguous take on immigrants. It is reported that the Five Star Movement would include educating schools students on animal welfare.

Demonstration in support of vegetarianism. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Demonstration in support of vegetarianism.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Apart from Italy, there are many countries and faiths that work on extreme vegetarianism. All religions have stringent commitments to their values about dealing with violence and non-violence. Same goes for vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism.

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  • Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma, for example, is a faith that constitutes the maximum number of vegetarians in the world. Brahmins, who are usually temple priests in and out of India, are strict vegetarians. Not only does Hinduism promote vegetarianism and have vegan food as ‘prasaad’ but is also strictly against beef eating.
  •  While Buddhism is another faith that preaches the concept of ahimsa, Gautam Buddha asked his disciples to accept any food that gets offered to them. It is conflicting to know that Dalai Lama is himself a non-vegetarian. Buddhist schools of thought indeed teach vegetarianism, but Buddha’s act of consuming meat is debatable even today. Traditions interpret that Buddha died of eating pork, while some believe he ate a poisonous mushroom.
  • Another faith that practices vegetarianism is Jainism. With its inception 6,000 years ago, Jains believe that every creature in this world is here to help another. They believe in non-harmed peaceful coexistence and consider all living beings sacred. It must also be noted that Jains also wear masks to avoid killing the smallest of insects and walk carefully as to never kill an insect lying on their way.

– prepared by Chetna Karnani of NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali