International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


Sri Prakasa Welcomes Congress
Governor of Bombay

It is a matter of very great joy and satisfaction to a person like myself that the 15th World Vegetarian Congress is coming to India, and that it will hold its sessions in no less than six cities in the country including Banaras which is my home-town; Madras where I served as Governor for nearly five years; as also Bombay where I now am. I offer to the delegates of the various countries that are coming to the Congress, my most hearty welcome, and hope that their visit to my country will be pleasant and successful, and that the Congress itself will be able to take practical decisions which it would be possible for us to implement in the limitations of life in which we have to function.

The problem of vegetarianism is a difficult and complicated one. It, to my mind, does not only mean that human beings should try to avoid the slaughter of animals for food. It really stands for a very special attitude of active sympathy for and understanding of the whole of the animal world. A person may be a vegetarian, that is, one who does not himself take any food that consists of fish, fowl or meat, but he can be directly or indirectly, a very cruel man. There many be others who are non-vegetarians - persons whose daily food consists of meat of all sorts - but who really are very kind-hearted, and try to do all that is possible for the well-being of men and animals.

As things are, it may perhaps seem to be more or less impossible for the whole world of human. beings to become vegetarian ; and so animals will perhaps have to be slaughtered for food for a large majority of them. Many persons also feel that for medical and other researches, animals have to be used. If that is so, it would be good for vegetarians in Congress assembled, not to neglect that problem entirely, but to see to it that if animals have to be slaughtered or utilized for scientific investigation, they are slaughtered or operated upon with the infliction of the least amount of pain. Indifference to this question might lend to the perpetuating of a great deal of avoidable cruelty to the dumb creation that goes on today practically unchecked. I think this is a legitimate subject for the consideration of the Vegetarian Congress. There are large numbers of persons in our country who are quite satisfied with the fact that they are not personally responsible for any evil. Very often, such people are inclined to adopt an attitude of self-righteousness which really helps no one, and which actually results in the continuation of much improper treatment of animals, because these persons would take no active interest in eradicating the evil and are only satisfied by the fact that they themselves are not concerned with any wrong-doing. A Vegetarian Congress should, to my mind, boldly tell such people that they are not really vegetarians when they are not preventing avoidable cruelty to animals. I have ventured to write all this, because I myself feel strongly about it, and I know a great deal of wrong is being done in our land simply because people who are otherwise good and pious, are themselves indifferent to it.

I once more heartily welcome the holding of the Vegetarian Congress in our country, and send my warmest good wishes for the success of the functions, and all happiness to those who are engaged so earnestly in a great and noble cause.