The dictionary meaning for assertive is self-confident, self-assured, confident, firm as also forceful, forward, pushy and aggressive.
We do not want to sound forceful or pushy. Without meaning to be offensive, I have always wanted to ask this question, why is it that we always shy away from revealing our eating choices. We need to acknowledge with pride on our right to be a vegetarian. Let us not hesitate to acknowledge the choices we have made. These are conscious choices and hence we need to assert our right to be a vegetarian and vegucate people. We want to promote a compassionate lifestyle and recognize the right of every being on this earth to live. This includes the poor hapless animals which have no voice of their own. And for us to do this we need to be very vocal without being rude of course. Whether it is in the airlines or at a pre reserved meal at a restaurant we can exercise our choice and also see we get what we have ordered. In fact when I travel around the world now, I find there are more number of vegetarian restaurants now than before. This is a very healthy sign that the world is waking up to people’s choices and not the other way around. When Mahatma Gandhiji first made his journey to the west, he found that people ate whatever was there as they had to eat something in order to survive. And this could very often mean going against one’s own principles and accepting something that goes against the dharma of the individual. Food was then linked to survival.
But today thanks to awareness campaigns, people are no longer associating vegetarianism with any one particular religion and are able to accept that it is a way of life of people who have decided to promote vegetarianism as a cause and they respect these choices. Organizations like PETA have really created a remarkable appreciation for the rights of animals and because of this people have changed their lifestyles completely. We have a long way to go. We have to keep up the momentum. People may not be subscribing to veganism or vegetarianism due to ignorance. We have to highlight the cruelty done to animals at the slaughter houses, the inhuman conditions at the abattoirs, the fear felt by the poor animals, the depletion of resources due to the meat industry and the effects it can have on global warming and so on. We can impress upon the policy makers in the government and private agencies to give vegetarians more choices, encourage vegan and vegetarian restaurants by patronizing and publicizing them. These are our rights. Let us assert ourselves and see that our numbers swell in the coming years. It is not difficult if we are committed.
Last Christmas, Kenya Vegetarian Club organized a vegetarian lunch for officials in our county at Kisumu Yacht Club and they enjoyed it thoroughly. Sometimes we feel our friends will feel offended if we do not provide them what they want. This, in my opinion, is wrong. Our friends enjoy if we serve them vegetarian dishes with love and warmth and explain the reasons for the world to become vegetarian in a scientific and calm manner. This is the way we can help our planet earth. So three cheers for the assertive vegetarian!!!!