Mihir Shah is a custom jewelry designer and gemstone wholesaler from Chicago. He was born into a vegetarian (Indian Jain) family. Although non-violence is one of the main precepts of Jainism, like other vegetarians, Jains are generally either unaware of or unwilling to concede the cruelty inherent in dairy farming. Milk and milk products, therefore, remain a significant part of the Jain diet.
About 4 years ago, Mihir became aware of the cruel reality of animal agriculture, including the dairy industry. He adopted a vegan lifestyle and has been working ceaselessly since to spread awareness among his family and friends. A few years ago, he joined DARWIN, a community meetup group that engages in local animal rights activism. He has also been invaluable as a volunteer at several Free from Harm tabling events and in helping build our network of support.
Mihir says, “I strongly believe it is every individual’s personal responsibility to spread awareness and take every step possible to make this world a peaceful planet. Joining Free from Harm has given my life purpose. It allows me to express my compassion towards all beings.”
Following are some questions we had for Mihir and his responses.
What do you get out of volunteering for FFH? I enjoy interacting with people and educating them with the realities in life. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to practice and spread awareness to look beyond oneself.
What has been one of your greatest challenges over these past four years in turning vegan, either with the work that you do or in another area of your life, and how did you overcome it? I feel proud to be vegan. It feels like walking the path of truth is a lonely and difficult one, but being persistent and optimistic can change things around. Resistance is faced with most change and this challenge is what I want to overcome with people.
What do you think the future holds for the animals and the world of vegan living?The future looks extremely bright as more and more people start to think about others, besides themselves. Every sentient being needs to be respected. “Treat others like the way you want to be treated.”
In terms of advocacy, what is your next step? What do you think you are not doing now that you want to start doing in the future? I would like to educate and promote the concept of compassion to all children, as they would be a great influence on the society. Education and studies should also include the power of love and compassion to all beings.