India is a country of diversity: so many languages, faiths, cultures, and recipes. And many of these recipes are traditionally plant-based. Ages before the creation of mock meat, people in India already had their own meat substitute with jackfruit.
Thinking of jackfruit, I recall a scene from my childhood. I come from the northern part of India, where the festival of Holi is celebrated with the utmost joy and pomp. Since my family had many vegetarians, we used to cook jackfruit curry (instead of mutton) on this occasion. Friends and relatives visiting us on Holi would say, licking their fingers, that our curry was easily as good as mutton. Jackfruit is immensely popular in the region as a vegan meat substitute and one can enjoy it in various recipes.
Jackfruit has been a unique part of Indian cuisine, and it is now going to contribute to the Indian economy. The northeastern state of Meghalaya has proposed to explore jackfruit’s economic potential. According to The Hindu Business Line, the government of Meghalaya (which means “the abode of clouds”), aims to improve the livelihood of residents with its “Mission Jackfruit” policy. Apart from addressing issues of food security and nutrition, the five-year plan will focus on creating a value chain for jackfruit products and generating job opportunities. The mission seeks to improve the lives of about 82,000 farmers in the state.
This is certainly a praiseworthy move by the state’s government. In addition to its social and economic benefits, the project will make a difference in the lives of countless animals suffering at factory farms. Cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and other animals raised for food endure terrible abuse. Many are crammed into filthy cages so small they can hardly move. They are beaten, mutilated without painkillers, and violently slaughtered.
Every time you sit down to eat you make an important choice. Replacing mutton with jackfruit and other vegetables spares living beings from hellish lives at factory farms. A plant-based lifestyle not only helps farmed animals but is better for your health and the planet.