The 3 Discourse communities I chose are culture, religion, and vegetarian. The 3 discourse communities are closely linked. The tension between the communities become apparent when seen in the context of a particular country. For this essay I’ll choose India as an example. There are 780 languages spoken in the country and just as many cultures. The major religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The problem rises when these cultures interact. There are varying beliefs when it comes to marriage, family, festivals, diet, cuisine, clothing, history, etc…
One problem I would like to focus on is the diet. Here are some cold hard facts- In 2007, UN FAO statistics indicated that Indians had the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world. Surveys cited by FAO and USDA estimate 40% of the Indian population as being vegetarian. These surveys indicate that even Indians who do eat meat, do so infrequently, with less than 30% consuming it regularly- The reasons are mainly cultural. The recent growth in India’s organized retail has also been hit by some controversy, because some vegetarians are demanding meatless supermarkets.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I like my meat! This particular discourse community has affected me personally. My whole family turned vegetarian a couple of years ago(for religious reasons, more on this later), and since then I couldn’t cook or eat meat at home. This was also the time I began my fitness journey, which required me to eat large amounts of meat.
This particular, seemingly trivial diet choice has caused a lot of tension between communities in my country. Mini wars have been fought over either the banning or legalization of meat. More and more states are thinking about banning meat. In India, being a predominantly Hindu community, even the meat eaters don’t consume beef, and for those who do, its becomingly increasingly difficult to find beef (the cow is worshipped in India) since many states have started banning the particular meat. Also, people talking about, let alone eating meat, particularly beef are looked down on almost the same way a cannibal would be in America.
Now, the reason for the rampant vegetarianism in India is not for health like it is in many other countries. Instead the reason is religion. Indian scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita subtly imply diet restrictions. Many interpret this as an abstinence from meat. My religious guru tried to convince me to give up meat, and I even did for a while, but I soon went back to eating meat and dropped out of the religious class because they “look down” on meat eaters.
In the end, in no way is vegetarianism a bad life choice, but forcing it on other people and cultures is when it becomes a problem. The same goes with religion and culture in general.