International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

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

Pre-Congress Notices and Reports:

From the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee, held in Paris, France, 1954 May 1-2:

The secretary further stated that he had received an invitation to hold the 1957 Congress in Bombay but that the main IVU Congresses must be held in Europe out of loyalty to the nations who had built the IVU. He had however made tentative plans for a supplementary Congress to be held in Bombay to cater for countries of the Orient. This was receiving the support of Dastor Bode and local arrangements would be handled by the Bombay Humanitarian League which was a member of the IVU. The date to be late 1956 or early 1957. This plan was approved.

A notice from 'The Vegetarian World Forum' Autumn 1954:

IVU Announcement
In order to co-ordinate the work of vegetarian groups in the countries of the Orient and link them with the world vegetarian family the International Vegetarian Union has agreed to sponsor a Vegetarian Congress to be held in Bombay, India, probably February, 1957 [it actually took place in November 1957]. Vegetarian groups and individuals willing to co-operate, especially those in far eastern countries, are invited to write to the Congress Organising Secretary:-
The Bombay Humanitarian League
149 Shroff Bazar
Bombay 2, India

From the minutes of the Business meeting of the 14th World Vegetarian Congress, held in Paris, France, 1955:

Congress for 1958: It was agreed that the next International Congress should be held in Germany.
Indian Congress: the Congress in India in 1957, organised by the Bombay Humanitarian League, was regarded as an additional Congress.

The 1958 German Congress did not go ahead and the Indian Congress became the first World Vegetarian Congress to be held outside Europe, despite the reluctance of the Europeans.

From The Vegetarian (UK VegSoc magazine) Jan/Feb 1957:

World Vegetarian Congress
The 15th World Vegetarian Congress to be held in Bombay, India, has been postponed from the month of February, 1957 to November, 1957, owing to the international conditions. It will be innaugurated by Dr. Rajandra Prasad, the President of the Republic of India.

The Congress is sponsored by the International Vegetarian Union, of 24 Binney Street, London, W.l., and the Bombay Humanitarian League and the All India Animal Welfare Societies. Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale, M.P., has been elected the President of the All India Reception Committee, and Shri. J. N. Mankar, the General Organiser.

The General Organising Committee will include among many others, the President of the International Vegetarian Union - Mrs. Clarence Gasque; the General Secretary - Mr. Harry Harris, F.S.A.A, and Mr. Woodland Kahler, as representatives of the Executive Committee of the International Vegetarian Union.

When the official dates of the Congress come to hand, all friends will be sent full particulars including the cost of both Sea and Airways travel.

From The Vegetarian Mar/Apr 1957:

Greetings from India
On behalf of the Bombay Humanitarian League, which is a pioneer humanitarian organization of India, we offer you and the members of your Society our sincere greetings and good wishes for the New Year and enclose herewith a Calendar for the year 1957, which will always remind us of the Cause and Cure for all the cruelties to animals and human sufferings. The innumerable animals which are subjected to torturous deaths are justified in exclaiming "Why kill for food when nature gives plenty of vegetarian diet." It is now for mankind, which has evidently grown too callous, to hear them and take to natural and humane ways of life, acquire health of body and mind and achieve the noble purpose of human existence.

The Bombay Humanitarian League being convinced right from its inception that main cause of cruelty and killing of animals is rooted in the palate and the stomach of mankind, lays great stress on the food reform movement in the positive form, by exposing the values of vegetarian diet. Though this has greatly helped to check the use of flesh foods, now becoming a part of civilized life of India, yet it has proved too feeble to stop the same effectively. At a time when considerate men and women of the Western countries have become conscious of the dangers of flesh foods and incidental and consequential cruelties, tortures and increasing blood thirstiness of the nations of the World, unfortunately fondness for imitating Western modes of diet and life, resulting in the use of flesh foods is increasing especially among the younger and educated generation. This calls for a strong coalition between humanitarians of the West and the East to free humanity from this misconception of life. We therefore cordially invite our Western friends to join us at the forthcoming World Vegetarian Congress to be held in India from 9th November, 1957, and make it an epoch making event and harbinger of real universal peace and brotherhood of all living creatures.

J. N. MANKAR. Hon. Secretary.
The Bombay Humanitarian League,
149 Shroff Bazar, Bombay, 2.

From The Vegetarian May/Jun 1957:

Our President in India
Mr. W. A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., President of The Vegetarian Society, welcomed at Bombay, when a party was given in his honour at 'I'he Purohit Hotel by Mr. Maganlal Shah (second from right in the front row).

Mr W.A.Sibly, M.A., J.P., in Delhi, with Mr J.N.Mankar [centre] and Mr A.L.Jindal, Secretary of the Delhi Vegetarian Society

Professor Scott Nearing addressing an Indian audience at the Arya Sangha Hall, Bombay, during his visit to India, where he was welcomed by the World Vegetarian Congress Committee.

President's Eastern Tour
We welcome back our widely travelled President, Mr. W.A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., [this refers to The Vegetarian Society President, but he was also Past-President of IVU] who has been touring the far East and was entertained in Bombay and Delhi by organizers of the World Vegetarian Congress in India. He congratulated the humanitarians of India on staging the November Congress in the home of vegetarianism, and regretted that in official Indian circles there is a bias towards a meat diet. He thought this would greatly affect Indian culture and health adversely. He also deprecated the export of monkeys for vivisectional purposes in the West.

Mr. Sibly returns much impressed by the enthusiasm prevailing in India for the cause of vegetarianism and the principle of non-violence.

American Visitors to India
Professor Scott Nearing and Mrs. Nearing were also recent visitors entertained by the Congress organizers and Professor Nearing spoke in Bombay on the ethics and economics of vegetarianism. He stressed the moral necessity to allow all creatures to live their full span of life so that, like human children, they could develop their potentialities.

YOU will be pleased to know that even after the decision to postpone the World Vegetarian Congress from February to November, 1957, enthusiasm for the Congress in India and abroad has not only continued but increased. The All India Reception Committee has been considerably enlarged. Several propaganda meetings in various parts of India are held and encouraging replies are being received from vegetarians and humanitarians of the countries of the world. The response from some of the Asian countries like Burma, Ceylon, Aden, Ethiopia, China and Japan is also very encouraging.

The international as well as domestic situation is improving. The General Elections in India are over, leaving an atmosphere free and receptive for other peaceful activities.

With regard to the programme and venue of the Congress though the details have yet to be finalised, we give the outlines:

The Congress will be inaugurated on 9th November. 1957, by the President of the Republic of India (Dr. Rajendra Prasad) at Bombay where a three days' programme of lectures and cultural activities will be staged. The foreign delegates will then fly to Delhi, Patna, Calcutta and Madras for talks and similar programmes.

From Madras it will be open to the delegates to see any other places on the way or to fly back to Bombay. Thus the Congress in its entirety will cover about 16 days beginning from 9-11-57 including the days in transit from one centre to another.

At each of the above centres not more than four hours will be devoted to deliberations and discussions while the rest of the time will be devoted to cultural programmes, etc.

As India is a vast country and as the Capital of India is in the North at Delhi the programme has been so arranged as to enable visitors and delegates to visit interesting towns located in the four quarters of the country and see some of the prominent cultural and historical places. The Reception Committee is also anxious to avail of the presence of the learned foreign delegates to impress the political magnates, medical men and the educated class in general. We therefore trust that the arrangements of the round tour Congress will be appreciated by the incoming delegates as well as our countrymen. As 9th November is now a firm fixture for the Congress to be inaugurated at Bombay, it is necessary that intending delegates and visitors should secure their booking beforehand so as to reach Bombay in time in about 1st week of November.

Conscious of the heavy financial expenditure likely to be incurred by the visiting delegates or the Societies sponsoring representatives, the All India Reception Committee has decided to extend free hospitality to all the foreign delegates during the term of the Congress. The only expenses they are expected to bear is for the flights from Bombay to different centres which would roughly cost about £60 at full rates. Efforts are however being made to procure maximum concessions on such internal flights.

In view of the universal importance of the cause of vegetarianism and non-violence and in view of the fact that the session in India would afford an opportunity to foreign humanitarians to visit this country, great as it is in its cultural heritage, we have no doubt the Sister Organisations in different countries as well as individual humanitarians will try their level best to be represented at this great World Congress.

Full particulars about travel can be had from Mr. Harry Harris, Hon. Secretary, International Vegetarian Union, 24 Binney Street, London, W.l.

The fees for the delegates is £5 and can be paid either in advance to the Hon. Secretary of the I.V.U. or to us on coming to India for the Congress.

Fraternally yours,
General Secretaries.
149 Shroff Bazar, Bombay, 2.

From The Vegetarian May/Jun 1957:

In November the Secretary is being sent to represent our Society at the 15th World Vegetarian Congress in India - we feel that the Parent Society of the Movement should take part in the first effort to stem the drift away from vegetarianism in the country which has upheld our way of life for thousands of years. It is hoped that a strong impetus will be given to Eastern countries by this gathering. [The Vegetarian Society Secretary was Geoffrey Rudd who later became IVU General Secretary].