Mumbai cyclist to journey across India to promote the cause of veganism

Updated: Oct 28, 2017, 10:36 IST | Shunashir Sen

An article he had read a little over two years ago changed Rohit Ingle's life forever. It espoused the cause of veganism so persuasively that Ingle says he was convinced overnight to give up eating meat

An article he had read a little over two years ago changed Rohit Ingle's life forever. It espoused the cause of veganism so persuasively that Ingle says he was convinced overnight to give up eating meat. "I can't remember where I read the article," he confesses. "But it had a very simple line - if you are an animal lover, you can't eat them. If you love someone, how can you be the cause of their misery?" he adds.

Rohit Ingle while flagging off his journey from Ahimsa Fest this week. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Rohit Ingle while flagging off his journey from Ahimsa Fest this week. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

That message is what he now hopes to spread across the country, riding a cycle. Ingle embarked on his epic journey - and it can only be described as that - from Bandra on Thursday, a week ahead of World Vegan Day on November 1. The plan is to cover 19,000 km over one year, stopping not just at different state capitals, but especially in the hinterland. "Hardly anyone in India knows about veganism," he says, adding, "I'll pitch my tent at places like highway dhabas. There, I can interact with the customers and tell them more about what I am doing, hopefully inspiring some of them [to take up veganism] in the process."

Does he feel any apprehension? "Yes, I am nervous, I won't lie about that. But I am motivated by my cause. There are also people who will be there to welcome me at Ahmedabad and Surat initially, and that will hopefully give me further encouragement. So, as the journey goes by, I am sure this feeling will go away."

But, Ingle adds, he's not quite sure about how he will sustain himself financially to get through an entire year. "I have raised `60,000 [of his `3.5-lakh target] through crowdfunding. I have also received money from The Pollination Project, an organisation based in the US that has sponsored me for $1,000. So, I have around `1.3 lakh and can easily start my journey for at least three to four months."

After that, he hopes to keep going till November 2018, inspiring as many people as possible along the way. "See, the message is very simple - if you want to eat meat or wear animal products, an animal that doesn't want to die is definitely going to be killed. So, you have to keep that in mind."

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