The first Vegetarian Society that we know of was established in 1889
in the Punjab, but it was not immediately reported in England. There was
apparently an earlier society in Bombay but we have no specific details
of that (see below).
1890 or 91 Mohandas K. Gandhi joined the committee of the London
Vegetarian Society and contributed many Indian perspectives to their weekly
journal The Vegetarian. The
full collection of his articles is available.
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1892,
For a long time past several zealous friends - both Indian and European
- have been using their influence for the establishment and promotion
of Vegetarian principles, and the formation of organisations to carry
on this work. Some of these friends combined a few years ago to form
a society, but the support accorded was inadequate, and the society
did not long continue in existence. The spirit which animated these
friends, was, however, unquenched; and as time has passed along, new
sympathisers have been enlisted, the number of willing workers and supporters
has increased, and now another effort has been made in Bombay, and we
hear from Mr. D. D. Jassawalla that the "Natural Living Vegetarian
Society" has been borught into existence. It combines in its founders
both Indians and Europeans, and is open to receive all who will join
it without distinction of race. The friend to whose unfluence the former
effort was due is Mr. Byramji D. Panday, who is the treasurer of this
new society, the president being Mr. D. Gostling, and the hon. secretary
Mr. Jassawalla. The society's formation has been noticed in some of
the Indian papers, and in one is an article "by an occasional reporter,"
which is apparently intended to poke fun at the new Vegetarian Society
by announcing a meeting to start " A Beefsteak and Mutton Chop
Society" for Bombay. The chairman of the meeting is represented
as proposing "that the society shall be called 'The Society of
Unatural Livers' in order to be distinguished from the 'Natural Life
Vegetarian Society' recently started".
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September
India. - We have received a note from Mr. Bacha Ram Chatterjee, who
writes from Quetta, Beluchistan, and says: "I am glad to inform
you that a Vegetarian Society has lately been established at this, the
local Arya Samaj, and this society has about seventy Vegetarian members
on the rolls. Lectures are being delivered fortnightly, on the advantages
of Vegetable diet. The educated Indians are taking interest in such
movement." We heartily wish the new society success.
The following item was sent by the Soyfoods Center:
Source: The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review (Manchester,
England). 1908. Aug. p. 201. The section titled "Parsee Vegetarian
Society (Bombay)" states: "This Society has been recently
formed in Bombay to consist exclusively of Parsees. The members will
abstain from fish, flesh, fowl, and eggs, and from all alcoholic drinks
and narcotic drugs, as opium, tobacco, etc. The founders aim to bring
again the Golden Age referred to in their ancient teachings. Meetings
open to outsiders will be held frequently, and the following subjects
will be discussed: Religion, humanitarianism, psychology, ethics, medicine,
physiology, scientific economy, etc., etc. The hon. Secretary is Jamshedji
Dhanjibhai Shroff, 54, Cawasji, Patel Street Fort, Bombay."
'Parsee' (or Parsi) is an ethic group in western India, originally from
Persia and following the Zoroastrian religion, that society was mentioned
again in the early 20th century. A 'Bombay Natural Living Society' was
- 1923 - The first Indian involvement with IVU was at the 1923 Congress
in Stockholm, Sweden, the following extracts are from the reports of
... After extending a hearty welcome to all, he called upon the Hon.
Congress Secretary, Madame Lombard (Stockholm), to read the Roll Call
of the Delegates. Each rose as his or her name was called. The following
is a full list : .... India - M. Dayal, M.A., Oxon ...
We give the full list of papers in alphabetical order :- ... Dr. D.
R. Har Dayal on " Vegetarianism in India," ...
Delegates normally represented a member society, but we were not
told which society Dr. Dayal represented. There was no mention of India
in the reports of the subsequent Congresses in the 1920s or 30s.
- 1947 - From the reports of the 1947 IVU Congress, held in Stonehouse,
... Messages of good wishes to the Congress were also received from
the Bombay Humanitarian League, ...
Dr. P. D. KAPUR (Hon. Secretary of the India Society for the Protection
of Animals) and Mr. HENRY POLAK (at one time associated with Mahatma
Gandhi, in South Africa) also addressed the gathering. [this refers
to a post-congress meeting in London]
- 1950 - From reports of the 1950 IVU Congress, held in the Netherlands:
... and in Dr. and Mrs. Edal Behram, India had two worthy delegates.
Brief speeches were made by delegates from the countries represented
... Dr. Edal Behram (India), ...
Farewell Dinner.... Dr. Edal Behram (India), ... also spoke, ...
- 1954 - the IVU Executive Committee received a request to hold
a World Vegetarian Congress in India in 1957, but it was decided 'must
be held in Europe out of loyalty to the nations who had built the IVU.'
- all Congresses had been in Europe up to then. The plans for a 50th
anniversary Congress in Germany in1958 eventually fell through and the
offer from India was accepted.
- 1955 - Extracts from the minutes of the Business Meeting at the
1955 IVU Congress, held in Paris, France:
Present: Honorary Officials and Official Representatives of National
Societies including ... India, ...
... The following additional Vice Presidents were elected:- (present
Vice-Presidents being re-elected en bloc): Mr.J. N. Mankar (India);
Mrs Nehna Vakil (India); ... Mrs
Rukmini Devi Arundale (India); Mr Magenlal Shah (India); ...
... Humanitarian Societies: It was agreed to admit local groups and
Societies with humanitarian ideals or with the object of furthering
vegetarianism provided the control is vested in vegetarians. ... [this
appears to have been for the benefit of the Bombay Humanitarian League]
In Indian and Other
Religions - A Historical Survey subnitted to the Congress by J.
- 15th IVU World Vegetarian
Congress, Delhi/Bombay/Madras, India
India - J. N. Mankar
The Bombay Humanitarian
League - A Pioneer Humanitarian Association, its why and what; by
J. N. Mankar (Joint Honorary Secretary)
- 1958 - Jayantilal
N. Mankar (right) appointed as Regional Secretary for
India and the East
- The Vegetarian World Forum, July 1958, carried a complete list
of IVU " Affiliated Societies - and others in association with
the I.V.U." These included:
- Bombay Humanitarian League, Mr. J. N. Mankar,
149, Shroff Bazar, Bombay 2, India
- India Vegetarian Society, Dr. Lal, 106-389 P Road, Pampur, U.P., India
- Vegetarian Club, Amrit Lal Jindaf, 116 Sundar Nagar, New Delhi, India.
- 1960 - at the 16th IVU World Vegetarian Congress, held in Germany,
the President and Past President had both died since the last one, and
the Deputy President was unable to attend. The Congress invited Rukmini
Devi Arundale to take the chair. She had been a Vice-President since
1955 and remained such until her death in 1986.
- the Bombay Humanitarian League, and Vegetarian Club of India
were recorded as a members of IVU, and the Indian Vegetarian Congress
joined during the Congress.
The Rajkumar of Vizianagram
was elected to the IVU Executive Committee during the 1960 Congress,
and remained until 1967, possibly 1969 (records are missing)
'Report from India' (J, N, Mankar)
and 'An Eastern Message' (T. L. Vaswani) - from The British Vegetarian
A Message from India
- talk by Rukmini Devi Arundale at the Congress
- 1963 - Regional
Secretary's Report, from J. N. Mankar, mentions the formation
of the Bombay Vegetarian Society
Affiliation of the Bombay Vegetarian Society was welcomed and approved
- 1964 - All India Animal Welfare Association; Vegetarian Club
- 1967 - 19th IVU World
Vegetarian Congress, Delhi/Bombay/Madras, India - organised
by Jay Mankar
- 1973 - the list of participants at the IVU Congress in Sweden
shows: Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale, Mr Surendra Mehta, Mr J. N. Mankar,
from a group of 14 Indians.
- 24th IVU World Vegetarian
Congress, Delhi/Bombay/Calcutta/Madras, India
Jay Mankar died, aged 82, shortly before the Congress which
he had largely organised. During the Congress Surendra
Mehta (of the Indian Vegetarian Congress) and Dr.
M. M. Bhamghara were appointed as joint Regional Secretaries
for India and the East.
- 1979 - Right: Surendra Mehta with Jay Dinshah of the
American Vegan Society during the 1979 IVU Congress in England.
The IVU Membership records for 1979, for the India and The East Regions:
All India Animal Welfare Association, Bombay
Bombay Humanitarian League
Bombay Vegetarian Society
Hinsa Virodhak Sngh, Ahmedbad, India
Indian Vegetarian Congress, Calcutta
Indian Vegetarian Society, Bangalore
North Indian Vegetarian Union, Jullundur, Punjab
Academy of Nandhari Culture
- 1982 - North India Vegetarian Union
- 1983 - Vegetarian Society (Reverence for Life), Mumbai
- 1986 - Surendra Mehta elected as the first non-european Deputy
President of IVU
Shah appointed as Regional Secretary for India and the East.
Jashu had been elected to the IVU Council in 1982, and remained as Regional
Secretary until 2006. The photo right is Jashu at the IVU
Congress in Edinburgh, 2002:
- 1990 - Surendra Mehta elected as President of IVU, the only
President ever to come from outside of Europe or North America, He was
re-elected for the statutory three terms, until 1996.
- 1993 - 30th IVU World
Vegetarian Congress, Madras, India
- during the Congress, Diana Ratnagar of Beauty Without Cruelty
(India) was elected to the IVU Council. She remained on the Council
- 1994 IVU Membership records for 1994 show the following
member societies in India:
Indian Vegetarian Congress
Bombay Humanitarian League
Veg.Soc.(Rev.for Life) Bombay
Beauty Without Cruelty (India)
- 1996 - Hiren
Kara, Mumbai, elected to the IVU Council and became Assistant
General Secretary until 1999 when he became Secretary until 2000.
- 1997 - Asian
Regional Congress, Mahabaleshwar, India
- 2001 -
Asian Vegetarian Union Congress - Goa, India
- 2004 - Mr. D. M. Popat, Mumbai, co-opted to the IVU
Council as Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 2006 Congress
Vegan Society founded by Shankar Narayan
- 37th IVU World Vegetarian
Congress, Goa, India
(right) elected to the IVU Council and appointed as Regional
Coordinator for South & West Asia and India
- 2007 - 11th International
Vegan Festival planned for Murdeshwar, Karnataka in September,
organised by Shankar
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