International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India



(Joint Honorary Secretary)

It has been the eternal quest of India to embody Ahimsa based on unity of and reverence for life in any form as a reality in thought, expression and action on all spheres of life, whether social, political, economical, or ethical. It was this vision of India coming down from eternity which inspired its Incarnations, Apostles, Sages, and Seers including Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavir, Lord Zarathustra, and others, to preach and practise this gospel. Subsequently, however, the undesirable perversions from these ancient noble principles and practices of the highly spiritual India during the last century, brought about, mainly by its growing contacts with western countries, the perverted system of education based on western ideals, and the western mode of life and its civilization, made the people of this country forget the philosophy and preachings of its great apostles of Ahimsa. Man's over-ingenuity resulting from materialistic considerations prompted him to exploit and destroy nature to fulfill his carnal and selfish ends. Mankind almost seemed to forget the principle that "Life - to give and not to take" is a sacred trust in human hands ever to be preserved with watchful care. Among the ignorant, many barbarous customs and modes of life accompanied with destruction of sub-human creatures were rampant, while the educated class, being filled with western notions and ideals of destructive civilization, rose to condemn what was best in ancient Indian culture and thoughtlessly fell a prey to western modes of life based on materialism, selfishness, exploitation, and disregard for the rights of other beings, both human and sub-human. Killing for fashion, food, sports, science, and in the name of religious customs enormously increased. This state of things demanded immediate action to restate the truth and teachings of Ahimsa by regular propaganda and practical measures to defend the rights of lower animals.

It was at such times that the late Dayalankar Seth Lallubhai Jhaveri, inspired by the veteran humanitarian, the late Sri Labshankar Laxmidas, who had been on a tour in European countries to study the vegetarian and animal welfare movement, started "The Bombay Humanitarian Fund" in 1910 which was subsequently converted into a constitutional body under the name "The Bombay Humanitarian League" with the under mentioned objects:

  1. To adopt means for protecting animals as well as birds and fish from all kinds of cruelty.
  2. To educate public opinion regarding the advantages of vegetarian diet from the points of view of health, economy, and mercy.
  3. To appeal to the authorities as well as to the people to discontinue cruel fashions and ceremonies.
  4. To take up strictly non-political questions of human welfare.

Spade Works:
In popularizing any movement, more so with regard to a cultural movement like the humanitarian one, it is only through educative spade work that its aims and objects can be popularized. The early part, therefore, of the life of this League was devoted to educating public opinion in favour of the humanitarian ideals for which it stands. Luckily, right from the inception of the League, it could secure co-operation from humanitarian and vegetarian organizations of Europe and America, such as the Order of the Golden Age (now dissolved), the Vegetarian Society of Manchester, the London Vegetarian Society, the American Humane Education Association, and many others which added great strength to the propaganda activities of the League. The Order of the Golden Age conferred the honour of patronage on the late Seth Lallubhai D. Jhaveri, Father and Founder of the Bombay Humanitarian League. With the increased contacts with such associations, the activities of the League began to assume an international character. The League has had the honour to be invited and represented at many international humanitarian and vegetarian conferences and thus a bridge of brotherhood among the Eastern and Western humanitarians has been built up which has made it possible for the League to extend an invitation to the International Vegetarian Union to hold the 15th Session of the World Vegetarian Congress in India.

Main Activities:
The main activities of the League towards the achievement of its aims and objects may be classified as under:

  1. Educative propaganda section;
  2. Literature and publications
  3. Propagation of vegetarian diet from spiritual, scientific, and economic points of view;
  4. Prevention of killing in the name of food, fashion, sports, and science;
  5. Legislative measures for protection of animals from slaughter and all forms of cruelties;
  6. Improvement of Goshalas and Panjrapoles to ensure better treatment and care of animals consigned to their care;
  7. Animal rescue section
  8. Humane education section, including propaganda in schools and colleges, and Prize Essay Competition schemes;
  9. Human and Animal relief measures during times of natural calamities;
  10. Anti-vivisection propaganda and distribution of herbal specifics, preventive and protective, of small-pox, etc.; and
  11. International co-ordination of the activities of humanitarian organizations in India.

Under all these sections the League has a history of achievements which may briefly be stated as hereunder:

  1. Animal sacrifice in the name of religion has considerably been reduced and a comprehensive legislation is recommended by the committee for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - appointed by the Govt. of India;
  2. Millions of people have become vegetarians;
  3. Laws for prohibition of slaughter of cows have been passed in most of the States;
  4. Millions of men and animals were given substantial relief during the natural calamities in Bihar, Orissa, the Punjab, Gujarat, Saurashtra, Maharashtra, and Karnataka;
  5. Millions of people were educated in favour of Ahimsa, non-violence, through continuous propaganda with the help of a dozen propagandists and district Organizers maintained by the League.
  6. About 2,000 students took part in about 175 Prize Essay competitions announced so far, and studied the question of vegetarianism, cruelties in the name of animal sacrifices and other pretexts, welfare of animals and such other problems, related to the aims and objects of the League; and
  7. About 100,000 animals were actually rescued and given permanent protection in asylums or private homes.

Popular Support
Apart from a large number of ordinary members and casual supporters, the League has secured patronage from nearly 400 leading humanitarians, from amongst the royal family members, merchants, and industrialists, from various sections of the people in India and abroad. This has built up a small reserve fund invested in the building known as "Daya Mandir" (Mercy Chambers) situated at 127, Mumbadevi Road, the income of which is used for humanitarian objects.

The annual expenditure of the League varies from Rs. 75,000/- to Rs. 200,000/- according to exigencies for which it has mainly to depend on voluntary donations. The League is fortunate in having among its supporters such humanitarians from overseas as the late Miss Georgina Kendal of Plaza, New York who, apart from helping the League annually during her life-time, bequeathed a legacy of 5,000 Dollars, the interest of which is used for the award of Kendal Humanity Medals to those who save human lives at personal risk, prize essay schemes, and such other humanitarian objects for which she worked throughout her life. We are grateful to all those societies and individuals in countries abroad for their co-operation and support.

The League is a constitutional charitable and secular association duly registered under the Charitable Societies Act of 1860 and Bombay Trusts Act. The donors of Rs. 251/- or upwards are exempted from income-tax on their donations. While gratefully acknowledging the generous support from all those who feel for the defenceless, dumb animals.