by Shashwati Talukdar
Chik Chik House in the village of Beggowal, Punjab
Most people we met in our travels were vegetarians, which surprised us, in Sikh majority Punjab. The final word on meat eating among Sikhs is not fixed, and we didn’t really know enough to parse these dietary preferences.
The ‘Chik Chik House’ was the only butcher shop we saw during our stay in Punjab. Maybe it was the novelty of seeing a butcher shop, or maybe it was the iconography of chicken portraits with the picture of a young woman, and a play on the words ‘chick’, spelt as ‘chik,’ the Hindi word for blinds, or the warm glow the place was emanating in the gathering inky darkness of the countryside. Whatever the reason, we were drawn to the Ghotra family meat shop - enough to take a picture.
Turns out that Punjab is largely vegetarian, being number three on the states with the highest percentage of vegetarians.
Mapping dietary preferences
Dietary preferences in India have an ugly vigilante side to them.
Given the political baggage of meat eating, there is this interesting correlation with how vegetarian states vote to consider:
India has five states that could be considered vegetarian (defined as having at least half their population as vegetarian). These states are Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Remarkably, four out of these five have BJP chief ministers and the fifth, Punjab, has the BJP ruling the state as a junior partner in coalition with the Akali Dal.
(Go here for the first post in the series)