India is known for its vast diversity, with people from different cultures all living together in peace and harmony.
In a multi-religious society like India, citizens from all walks of life and religion enjoy an equal amount of freedom, as they get the space to live their life the way they want.
We have people who are hardcore non-vegetarians, pure vegetarians, vegans, people who only eat fish and people who only eat specific food, all living together with no one raising question about other person’s choice.
One such group is the Jain community who are pure-vegetarians, as they not only abstain from having meat but also don’t eat vegetables that grow underground, for example, vegetables like onion and garlic.
While we all know they don’t eat onion or garlic, have you ever wondered why is it so?
Jainism has roots in non-violence where people not only abstain from killing animals but also cover their mouths with a cloth so as to avoid harming even an insect by accident.
For them, vegetables like onions and garlic come under the ‘tamasic’ category which means they have the quality of darkness.
Vegetables in “tamasic” category grow underground which is home to many organisms many of which are not visible to the naked eye.
Applying same logic as to avoid harming organisms that live in the soil, Jains avoid eating onions and garlic so as not to hurt these living beings even by accident.
While onion and garlic are being avoided by a majority of people in the Jain community, there are few Jain families that even avoid multi seed fruits and vegetables like guava, cauliflower, and brinjal as they might have worms inside and can be harmed by consumption.