World’s first vegetarian train flags off hopes and doubts in India: Letter From The Bureau

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Published May 5, 2022, 4:00 PM

Synopsis: The Straits Times' foreign editor Bhagyashree Garekar chats with ST’s correspondents in the Asia-Pacific, the US and Europe every month.

They talk about life as it goes on, amid the screaming headlines and bubbling crises.

In this episode, she chats with ST's India correspondent Debarshi Dasgupta. 

In December 2021, passengers boarded the Shri Ramayana Express, a special train that covers pilgrimage destinations associated with Hindu god Lord Ram over 17 nights. They were on what was billed as the "world's first train" to get a vegetarian certification. Everything served to them during the journey was vegetarian, so the pilgrims had nothing to fret about when it came to food.

Highlights (click/tap above):

01:20 World’s first vegetarian-certified food served on train in India; about the vegetarian food safety regulator Sattvik Council of India, a private initiative of entrepreneur Abhishek Biswas

04:21 Sattvik council - the meaning behind Sattvik and its diet

06:52 Demand for certified vegetarian food in India and also, around the world

14:26 Common misconception that majority of Indian population are vegetarians

16:11 When choice of being a vegetarian becomes a political issue

Produced by: Bhagyashree Garekar (, Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim and Fa'izah Sani

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim & Fa'izah Sani

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