A recently-released survey conducted by the Registrar General of India (RGI) in 2014 busts so many myths about the vegetarian and non-vegetarian divide in the country. A big surprise lies in the fact that the land of butter chicken is predominantly vegetarian.
There are 66.75 per cent of vegetarians in Punjab according to RGI’s survey, with marginally more women who have taken to vegetarianism (68 per cent) than men (65.5 per cent). Also surprising is that none of the South Indian states figure in the list of vegetarian states, which include Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. In fact, Telengana tops the list of non-vegetarian states in the country with 98.7 per cent of the state being diehard meat and fish eaters. Karnataka has the highest population of vegetarians across South India at a paltry 21.1 per cent.
Besides these two figures, the survey also suggests that the number of non-vegetarians in India have dropped to 71 per cent in 2014 from 75 per cent in 2004. Although there’s fine line that defines vegetarianism. Mahatma Gandhi believed that those who consumed milk or lacto-vegetarians weren’t vegetarians in the real sense of the term since milk falls under the category of animal protein. The most disconcerting aspect of the survey though is that a large section of North East India including Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim have not been included in it, but here’s a look at how the rest of India eats
Here’s map of the Indian states, with the division of vegetarian and non-vegetarian population by percentage, according to the RGI report. (Click on each of the drop pins to see the actual, state-wise percentage.)