Jainism is one of the ancient religions in the world and sermonizes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. About 5 million people in India practice it. Palitana, in Gujarat, has been anointed as the World’s first ‘Vegetarian City’ after its government prohibited animal butchery back in 2014. The ban pursues protests from around 200 Jain monks who all pushed on hunger strike to show they’d prefer their own death over permitting the persistent slaughter and consumption of animals in the area. It is notified that there are around four to five million people in India who observe the Jainism religion and are opposing animal cruelty.
The mountainous town is home to one of Jain’s holiest sites, and many residents don’t desire any kind of killing happening in the place. Recently, 200 Jain monks started a hunger strike, endangering to fast until death until the town was declared an entirely vegetarian zone.” Meat has always been easily available in this city, but it’s against the teaching of our religion,” voices Sadhar Sagar, a Jain believer. “We always wanted a complete ban on non-vegetarian food in this holy site.”
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, hold living souls. Thus, Jain’s observe a strictly vegetarian diet.“Each of these souls is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion. The essence of Jainism is a concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself. It’s a victory for vegetarians, but bad for business for others. Fishermen such as Nishit Mehru have had to stop working entirely”, BBC’s website states.
How Palitana has achieved the title?
In 2014, the government prohibited animal slaughter in the region and since then, not even a single animal has been killed. The ban was imposed when around 200 Jain monks opposed through a hunger strike to show to the authorities that they would prefer to die rather than permitting animals to be butchered and consumed. The monks urged all the 250 butcher shops of the region to be closed and the government did the same. Thus, the city became a meat-free zone. Regardless, dairy products like milk, ghee, butter, etc. are still consumed by people.
The issue also highlights the significance of the town in Jainism. It is home to hundreds of temples and is the major pilgrimage site of Jains. It is believed that the redeemer, Lord Adinatha walked the hills and the place persists to be significant for the disciples since then. It is important to note that Palitana also holds a history of being the only mountain with over 900 temples in the whole world. In all, Palitana is considered the world’s largest temple complex and is highly revered by the Jain community.