International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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37th IVU World Vegetarian Congress
Goa, India, September 10-16, 2006
Healthy Lifestyle - Vegetarian Way!


A few words from Jashu Shah, Congress organiser:

The question is several times posed to me that "India being vegetarian, is a World Vegetarian Congress there necessary?"

In 1957 it was for the first time that the IVU came out to India and had the Congress. It was necessary at that time because one has to open out to the world. Now it has become necessary because the world is shrinking and people have become global. There is lot of interaction between the people and a whole generation has been changed. There is a big slot in the culture by TV and Radio - and because of the globalisation more interaction is taking place.

Traditionally at least 35% of Indians are strict vegetarians; another 35% take eggs/fish or chicken once a month or once a week. The majority of food contents in India is also vegetarian, there are one or two dishes made which are not vegetarian.

Because of the globalisation the younger generation is sitting on the fence. They do not know which way to look, and are turning non-vegetarians because of the international contact, and because of the onslaught of Venky's chicken and other food joints which are starting in India. The people are travelling and the globe is shrinking. The younger generation is turning to non-vegetarian.

The problem in the Western countries is to convince the people to become vegetarian. But our problem is otherwise. We have to convince the people not to become non-vegetarians. This only can be done by organizing Congresses, seminars etc., inviting people from the USA, UK, Europe and Far East to talk to the younger generation of the Indian people. Why those who are non-vegetarians have turned to vegetarianism - and when an outsider speaks it is more effective. Although we are traditionally vegetarians, we need to convince the people who are turning to non-vegetarians. And when a person who is convinced himself speaks, he is capable of convincing others. And that is why the Congress is more necessary in India than anywhere else.

India consists of a large community of people with different cultures and different aspects. I therefore strongly tell Indians that if the people from the Western world who were non-vegetarians have become vegetarians, that itself proves that the vegetarian food is better than the non-vegetarian food. You should come here to convince the people. Even when there is no World Vegetarian Congress some people should come here and deliver lectures.

This is for the time being. Let us work for the Congress. Let us pray for the success of the Congress by all getting together and telling the people what is good.

Jashu Shah, Mumbai

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