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Mahatma Gandhi

Wikipedia link Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) also known under the honorific of Mahatma ("Great Soul") Gandhi, was one of the major figures in the Indian independence movement, a pioneer of non-violent civil disobedience, and the first leader of independent India. He was strongly influenced by Jainism in his youth, and the principle of ahimsa or nonviolence to all beings, neccesitates Vegetarianism as a natural consequence.

The following quotations from Gandhi are from external link International Vegetarian Union - History of Vegetarianism - Mohandas K. Gandhi . See that page also for details of Gandhi's vegetarianism and online texts on the subject


I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world - if we are superior to it.
- Mahatma Gandhi, his Mission and Message
I hold today the same opinion as I held then. To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
- An Autobiography, the Story of My Experiments
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- attributed to Gandhi in 'The Extended Circle, a dictionary of humane thought' 1985 by Jon Wynne-Tyson, supposedly from ' The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism' but apparently not in that text. The phrase can be derived from Howard Williams 'The Ethics of Diet - a Catena' 1882 . Williams was a friend of Gandhi, and is mentioned in Gandhi's autobiography, so it is certain that Gandhi would have read the book. In the section on Schopenhauer, p.287, Williams quotes Dr. David Strauss (Die Alte und die Neue Glaube) "The manner in which a nation, in the aggregate, treats the other species, is one chief measure of its real civilisation."
I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth.
- quoted in Words of Gandhi
I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence.
- unknown origin
"Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good."
- unknown origin

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 12 November 2008, last modified 10 November 2009