International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

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

Srimati Rukmini Devi

A doctor who can be unkind and cruel, who can inflict suffering for "the sake of humanity" is a most untrustworthy person. Imagine that doctor performing his cruel acts of vivisection and then coming to you and saying that you need an operation! The chief ideal of a doctor should be compassion - he is expected to be filled with pity. Yet many Indian doctors, who have read the lives of the Great Teachers, the words of Lord Buddha, of Bhishma, says: "We must not interfere with Science." An Indian may be a strict vegetarian and so orthodox that he does not want to be polluted by the presence of a Harijan in the Temple where he worships, but he will use cod-liver oil. That is just medicine. He will swallow medicines that are the product of cruelty and gained at the cost of terrible tortures, but that does not matter - they are medicines and all is well! He is thinking of himself and of his own comfort - he is not thinking of humaneness, of kindness. If we will all work together, we can become thousands of people and do much to stop these cruelties. We in India must no longer desecrate our country by allowing these things. Let our Ahimsa be noble, great and real and let us start practising these high principles in our every day live.

- Conscience, p. 275, 30 May 1940