|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Gandhi's Greatest Personal Tragedy
Mahatma Gandhi's namesake, Maneka Gandhi, today leads the 'Notmilk' movement in India. Dr. Gandhi began the modern-day animal rights movement in India, and once served in the Indian govenment as the Minister of Animal Welfare. Her rescue work has resulted in liberating thousands of abused animals after uncovering accounts of animal torture and abuse in 590 so-called research facilities. Today, she is India's single most powerful anti-dairy voice, and her 'Notmilk' movement is growing. In 1891, 22-year-old Mohandas Gandhi passed the bar exam and earned his law degree. His passive activism was developed 23 years later while helping his countrymen attain rights under an apartheid policy applied to Indians living in South Africa. In 1914, Gandhi returned to India with a lung disease, pleurisy. His doctors advised that he drink cow's milk, but India's spiritual leader-to-be refused. The same advice was offered to Gandhi in 1918 after he developed a serious case of dysentery accompanied by high fever. Although Gandhi had made a lifelong vow to never drink cow's milk, the illness nearly took his life, and he made a compromise by drinking goat's milk. In his autobiography, Gandhi admitted that his habit of drinking goat's milk "has been the tragedy of my life." At age 71, Gandhi reflected upon his NOTMILK philosophy by writing the following (p. 381) in his autobiography: "I had long realized that milk was not necessary for supporting the body, but it was not easy to give it up. While the necessity for avoiding milk in the interests of self-restraint was growing upon me, I happened to come across some literature from Calcutta, describing the tortures to which cows and buffaloes were subjected by their keepers. This had a wonderful effect on me." At 21 years of age, Gandhi vacationed at the farm of fellow vegetarian, Leo Tolstoy. At Tolstoy Farm, Gandhi came to understand that milk from cows was not the perfect food for humans. On page 382 of his autobiography, Gandhi wrote: "It was during this time that we had the discussion about milk. Mr. Kallenbach said, 'We constantly talk about the harmful effects of milk. Why then do not we give it up? It is certainly not necessary.' I was agreeably surprised at the suggestion, which I warmly welcomed, and both of us pledged ourselves to abjure milk there and then." For the final meal of his life on January 30, 1948, shortly before he was assassinated, Mohatma Gandhi dined on cooked vegetables, oranges, and goat's milk.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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