Diwali, the festival of lights symbolizes ‘triumph over evil’, ‘freedom’ and light’. This year, Diwali falls on the 14th of November and, November is also World Vegan Month! A coincidence, yes. But why is it important that we acknowledge that?
Let’s Deconstruct Diwali
We’ve all heard of the legend of ‘the celebration of the Triumph of Good over Evil‘. While different communities may have slightly different versions of the legend, here are the two widely acknowledged reasons for the Festival of Lights:
Leaving aside names and idols, it’s the day a much-revered and worshipped king – an embodiment of benevolence – won a battle against the demons and their king and returned to his people and kingdom after 14 years. People lit up their homes to celebrate the triumph, his return and the good days to come.
In Southern India, the day has another special significance. It’s the day a much-worshipped deity, Krishna annihilated a tyrannical king, Naraka, and freed the inhabitants that were imprisoned by the king. A tale with a different story, yet one that celebrates freedom and light in the lives of people.
If ridding people of tyranny and enslavement is celebrated for the human race, why can’t we conceive the same for animals and welcome such a change?
Veganism believes in a world that is free of Speciesism, one that has an equal status for humans and animals. In essence, it stands for ‘freedom’, love’ and light’ for the animal kingdom.
Our consumption of animal-derived products leads them to live their lives as mere living products whose purpose is only to serve human consumption. Just like us, they are sentient beings. Don’t they deserve the same freedom that we so cherish and have been celebrating year after year for over 2500 years through a historical legend – myth or real – and for 73 years as a nation free of colonization?
Can we be the hope that animals need to free them of bondage? Will a day come when Diwali will also be India’s Vegan Day? The answer lies in one and only one question we can ask ourselves: Do we have the willpower in us to triumph over our need to control and enslave?
A Vegan Diwali Celebration – A New Beginning
The good news is, we all have the power to make a difference this Diwali. And you don’t have to be a Vegan this very moment. You can take the first step towards exploration. Here are three simple ways:
Reflect: What small change can you make to positively impact an animal life?
Talk: Have a conversation with friends and family about why they celebrate Diwali and start a dialogue about Veganism.
After all, we are all celebrating the festival of lights to signify the Triumph of Good over Evil, isn’t it? We’ll leave you with this apt quote from Mother Theresa:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”