“One of the first lessons I learnt as a child was to never say no to dogs. Our home was always a shelter for dogs and cats. We would vaccinate them every now and then to make sure they’re fine. My younger sister and I always played with them in the evenings. However, we were brought up as non-vegetarians and we didn’t extend the same love we had for dogs to others that became delicious Sunday lunches. We were so used to it that for a long time, I didn’t think about it.
Cut to 2005, my mom and I were having lunch in the hostel dining area and an old man in his mid-80s, accompanied by two security guards, sat next to us and initiated a casual conversation. He told us that they don’t allow meat nor do they cook or serve it in college. The man seemed humble and to our surprise, we later found out that he was G Pulla Reddy – founder of the engineering college I was studying in, Narayanamma Women’s College, Hyderabad. I was one of his favourites and used to call him thata (grandpa). Every Sunday, I would accompany him to his home and to his huge 300-acre organic farm. He taught me various farming practices and animal growing. When he found out that I’m a non-vegetarian, he asked me “How can you love some animals and eat the others?” That hit me instantly and made a lot of sense. I was so influenced that I became a vegetarian overnight. Soon, I started to watch a lot of videos on PETA’s website about the cruelty involved in the meat industry.
When I started working, I spent my weekends volunteering for Blue Cross Hyderabad (BCH). In 2011, I left my well-paid job and met Amala Akkineni, the founder of BCH and asked her to give a full-time role. My heart was set on being an activist ever since I witnessed several dogs being killed by the municipality right in front of my eyes. I was only a child then. But I decided that when I grew up, I would fight for them. During my conversations with Amala, I understood more about veganism and turned vegan! At Bluecross, I took up various roles including those of a Humane Education Officer, Communications Officer and an Animal Welfare Officer. I addressed over 200,000 children during animal welfare and rights awareness programs in a period of 5 years. I moved out of Hyderabad to settle in a village.
In that district, the concept of animal welfare didn’t exist. My sister and I, along with a friend, felt that there was a need for an NGO there, and started Compassionate Society For Animals (CSA) on 1st June 2018. I also started pursuing LLB to bring justice to the crimes against animals and the environment.
As of now, CSA is a very small NGO that works for animal rights through legal advocacy, vegan advocacy, rescuing injured or abused animals, litigation etc. Apart from being an animal rights activist, I am an environmentalist too. I‘ve been leading a very minimalistic, zero-waste, vegan life since the past 8 years. I also decided to lead a child-free life for the sake of our planet. Many people don’t take this well but it’s important to point out that a majority of the people in Animal Welfare or rights advocacy are non-vegan, meaning they consume meat and/or dairy that causes a lot of cruelty to animals. It is rough but it is a righteous path. It has helped me overcome many health problems too! If not for anybody else, do it for the sake of your health and environment. On the occasion of World Vegan Day, I would like to share that starting now, I will follow the path of Raw Veganism.”
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