Traditions are important to our history and our past, and many will become a huge part of the future, but sometimes a tradition needs to be challenged. Through his development of a vegan rice leather, the launching a brand with just that one product, and growing a school project into a career, Asif Ali Gohar challenges traditions every day.
From the time he began his high school project he was thinking outside of the box and challenging the status quo. No one had ever done what he had, either making a leather like material from rice nor making a business from a high school assignment. He jumped ahead and became a successful entrepreneur while others where planning what was next for their life. This brave move has changed not only his life but the lives of those around him, and has created new options for vegans everywhere.
Moving forward he has grown this business to supply a vegan friendly alternative to leather for many uses. It’s used in pet supplies to make leashes and harnesses, in fashion for clothing and accessories, offers an alternative to leather in automobiles and other products as well. He is bringing challenges to the tradition of using animal hides for clothing, making school assignments part of a building block for the future, and using technology in new ways that challenge how materials have been traditionally made.
That said, in his personal life he maintains many traditions that he grew up with. He cares for his family and ensures they are cared for, maintains holiday traditions, and takes an interest in the projects other students are making now. He says the key is to know what traditions are worth breaking and challenging and which should be upheld.
“Traditions that make everyone feel joy, happiness, and confident, those are traditions that are worth holding on too. Traditions that make people feel less than, unhappy, or that are harmful are those that should be challenged”. In this he includes the tradition of using animals for food and clothing, for wasting any part of their sacrifice, and limiting the choices for those who decide to avoid animal products. By providing his vegan leather alternative, he is offering vegans a new way to address their worries and to improve their lifestyle without requiring them to go without leather products.
Challenging traditions is the only way that society can grow, and this one step can change lives around the world. Traditions are meant to be protective, joyful, and encouraging, and challenging those that are not can make the world better one step at a time. Asif Ali Gohar encourages people to keep challenging the traditions that are harmful or holding people back, and take chances that can have great rewards.
There are many traditions in the world. But if you trace each of these traditions back to its origin, you will see that it is only an external manifestation or expression of the internal experience of a person or a group of people. When people try to organize this experience and make it accessible to more people, it becomes a system and then a tradition, and tradition sometimes becomes a religion and sometimes many other things.