International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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18th World Vegetarian Congress 1965
Swanwick, England


Dr. Jivraj N. Mehta, High Commissioner for India,
at the opening of the International Vegetarian Union
on 28th August, 1965, at Swanwick

Mr. President and Fellow Vegetarians,

It gives me great pleasure to be here this afternoon at the opening of the 18th World Congress of the International Vegetarian Union. As a believer in vegetarianism myself, it always gives me great satisfaction to see its cause furthered in this manner. The spirit of vegetarianism automatically eschews killing for one's food; and such spirit should likewise eschew the spirit of violence from one's mind and deeds. We, however, live in a world of today where, unfortunately, there is much violence and killing in the air. If we are able to eliminate violence from at least one aspect of our life, it will be something to be proud of as it ensures the sanctity of living mechanism.

This is the moral argument for vegetarianism. On a more practical plane, we have to see if vegetarian diet can supply all the nutrition which the human body requires for the maintenance of -health, as well as the energy needed for carrying out our various functions, some of them involving strenuous physical exertion. It is universally accepted that the maintenance of good health is of supreme importance for the development of the mind as well as of the body. I can say with full affirmation that the vegetarian diet amply fulfils both these functions. I will not try to give you a whole series of arguments here to prove the truth of this assertion. I see that you have a very full programme for the coming week, in which all these questions will be discussed in great detail. I will only say that a diet of cereals with oils and fats, milk and milk products such as Yoghurt, cheese, etc., and with the addition of green and other vegetables, fruits and nuts will meet the nutritional requirement of the human body. It is essential that our diet should contain an adequate quantity of proteins and of fats of animal origin in the form of certain amino-acids which are important constituents of proteins and of certain fatty acids, besides carbohydrates, salts and vitamins, etc., so necessary to growth and for the maintenance of human vitality as well as for the source of human energy. The proportion of such items in the food can be varied to suit individual requirements. The place of eggs in a vegetarian diet has always been a source of some controversy. We all know that there are unfertilised eggs which have no living cell in them and will, there-fore, not hatch. Since the moral argument for vegetarianism is based on the sanctity of living mechanism, I personally feel that a vegetarian can take such eggs which contain no living cell in them with a clear conscience in the same way as one indulged onself in sucking milk at the mother's breast during the early months of one's life and drinking cow's or other milk throughout one's span of existence. The food value of a vegetarian diet would no doubt be appreciably enhanced by such addition, and, incidentally, the last vestiges of arguments as to insufficiency of a vegetarian diet would also be wiped out.

In conclusion I would like to thank you for inviting me here on the occasion of opening of this Congress this afternoon and wish you all success in your deliberations.