I am a Chartered Accountant by Profession in Professional Practice. Since my Child
2. So, are you a Vegan by any chance?
I am Vegetarian by Birth and continues to be Vegetarian. I am from Jain Family. I am not Vegan till date, future I don’t know.
3. Okay, can we talk in detail about your VegDegree journey, it was a long journey?
It is said that need is the mother of all inventions. For me it was not Invention but Definitely a Need. My son is passionate about Kitchen i.e. Food preparation and wanted to go for Degree in Hotel Management, we started searching for the same locally to all over world and being Jain wanted Jain or maximum Vegetarian learning only and was not ready for Non-Veg. And to my surprise there was not a single institute which was teaching Veg only in the whole world. Ultimately, we found that Learning to prepare non-vegetarian food is compulsory in Hotel Management Degree Course.
When I started thinking on it, I found that very few were aware about this fact and those who were aware about this either left the passion or joined and accepted the fact of learning Non-Veg. But nobody tried to fight it out, when I thought somebody should have fought for it earlier, a thought came to my mind, I should become that somebody, I should take up this issue for future passionate students.
I started working on it almost 7 years ago, initially nobody was in a mood to listen to me. They said this is impossible considering international demand of Non-veg. I had argued on all counts with so many people from top to bottom. But the fact is, nobody criticized the Demand, and after every discussion everybody supported the cause. Simultaneously I was listening to the views of all, studying on that preparing my arguments. All along I was presenting myself as Vegetarian to avoid controversy and to get larger support base.* Even Vegan people supported me on my arguments that unless Vegetarian Degree comes, Vegan is not going to come.*
All through the campaign, I was asking for my right of education and with discussions from all angels, clarifying them that I am not against anybody and simultaneously convincing them with logic how most of the Indians are Vegetarian based on their basic food habits, most of the Non-vegetarians in India are occasional Non-Vegetarians. To Non-Vegetarians I was convincing them that in India taste of Non-veg is due to Masala which is Vegetarian. As I was not going against Non-Vegetarians and was asking for my rights, even the Hardcore Non-Vegetarians supported me.
Slowly, slowly, I started getting positive response from people in Individual capacity, I met leaders of all religions, panth, but response was only lip service. Nobody gave me response on organisational level. I was firm, quite confident about the rightness of the cause. So, every negative was creating positive energy for me to work more.
I started writing through letters, around 8,000 letters were written to Respected Prime Minister, to Ministers, to Member of Parliament and other leaders, distributed around 10,000 post-cards requesting people to send them to PM and Tourism minister, lakhs of emails, so many WhatsApp messages, News in Newspapers across India, online campaign was also started on Change.org on which I got support from all over the world.
Started getting the response from Ministers and MP, almost 100 MP’s must have supported me. They wrote to the Prime Minister and Tourism Minister to consider the Demand.
Prominent among them are respected Dy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Shri P.J. Kurien, Ministers Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Santoshkumar Gangwar, Shri Satya Pal Singh, Smt Maneka Gandhi, and so on. The support was from all parties, all religions, Communities. This issue was raised in both the houses of Parliament.
4. So how was it taken finally? What was the result?
Ultimately, after a lot of efforts the option was given due to pressure from PMO office and efforts of some officials of Tourism Ministry dramatically, the students who have taken admission for present mixed course were asked whether they want option & 40 students from 2 IHM opted for that and without publicity from the Govt, in 2nd year 135 students have taken admission in 6 IHM and 156 students have taken admission in the third year i.e. Academic Year 2018-19. With continuous follow up this year NCHMCT ( National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology ) have come out with Notification declaring availability of option in 63 IHM and all the students who will be asking for the option will get that. Even Ministry of Human Resource Development have written letter to AICTE and UGC for creating awareness about the availability of option of learning Vegetarian only.
5. So I am curious, how about your son’s study then and his role during those 7 years of struggle
When I started the campaign, he has joined IHM Rizvi from Mumbai. He faced the issue of Non-veg there also, He was telling us that the
6. But many sons and daughters will be reaping the fruits. What do you think are the benefits to the young generation & our Economy?
The Vegetarian students are not only losing the Opportunity to learn
Many Renowned chains of Hotel, airline companies and passenger cruises operating internationally serve pure Vegetarian food during stay and travel, can provide it with authenticity, which you cannot get currently.
If the only Veg learning option is created in every Hotel Management Institute there will be competition and more and more children with passion and intelligence will come to this industry and overall standard of this industry will go up. This will in a way will be “Skill Development” and in turn opportunity for “Job Creation”. It can also be connected with “Swatch Bharat” and “Healthy India”, and can be made part of Tourism of India.
7. What are your long term expectations from the VegDegree as a mainstream option in IHM?
This industry (Food) is World’s No 1 Business and Service Industry. The majority of Vegetarian business community at large is away from this industry. If this field is opened for them then lot of investment will come from within India.
Everybody thinks of 5 Star Hotels
There are pilgrimage centers in India where cooking of Non-Veg food is not allowed. These students can start their own restaurants at these places or can work at these places.
8. So after the huge feat of VegDegree, are you still supporting anywhere in the field?
So the fight is still on. For VegDegree, Initially, Tourism Ministry and NCHMCT agreed but now waiting for positive response from HRD, AICTE, and UGC. The Institutions where it started are under NCHMCT which is under Tourism Ministry, Now We are requesting AICTE and UGC which are under HRD, under which Private colleges are sanctioned and UGC under which all Universities are covered.
I am also working on Database about Vegetarians in Census of India. In
9. How the aware citizens can help you
I want all of you to support for the VegDegree by way of Registering your Support on the link provided. Secondly, in every discussion give few minutes for discussions on this issue and create awareness amongst the people about the need of this Degree. Whenever you visit any star hotel for seminars, Conferences ask for separate counters of Veg and Non-Veg with clear demarcation. On personal visits insist on having a look in the kitchen, whether they are making separate arrangements for Vegetarian preparations. Use your contacts in Hotel Industry asking them to have only Veg Chefs and, in the Government, to create an option of learning Veg only in every IHM
10.Do you wish to contribute beyond what you are doing now?
I would like the Vegan lovers to start a movement and convince Government and Hotel Management Institutions to start the courses with Vegan Option which will create the large base.
11. Just a follow-up question, you might have clarity about why people go vegan. Would you ever consider going vegan? What can be stopping you?
Not fully, but I think it is against animals of all sorts and their wishes. I can’t say yes or no today but maybe I go Vegan in future. Stopping may be because of availability of vegan food, concept with others, as sometimes people don’t know what is Vegetarian and Jain food also.
One thing I have noticed, you have to convince people in a softer way to go vegan if not fully but whatever way possible to
11. Thanks a lot. TheLast question from my side then we can close our conversation. Looking at the intent behind your VegDegree, it’s about ethical treatment to the Animals and also Religious one. However, the revelations about the dairy industry clearly back the fact that Dairy leads to Bovine Slaughters. This keeps India as the top producer and exporter of Beef and Leather in World for decades. This is backed by government data and many independent publications
Having provided you with this, My humble question is, will you be open if we connect you with some who can help you to understand Vegan way of live better? So your worry about changes, availability, health myths related to it can be address?
Yes, you can do that.
12. Awesome! will request someone to get in touch with you. If you may allow, we are done here now. How can people reach out to you?
To support log on to: www.tinyurl.com/VegDegree
You can also find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DegreeforVegetariansinHotelManagementCourses
Connect me on Facebook on:
CA Chandrashekhar R Luniya, Pune.
M: +91 98222 57474 Email: VegDegree@gmail.com