|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
23rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1975
Orono, Maine, USA
From the Ballymena Guardian, Northern Ireland, July 11, 1974:
VIP VISITOR CALLS WITH BROUGHSHANE FAMILY
Broughshane was the venue on Friday evening of last week for a very important occasion for vegetarians in the area. At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Gunn-King, Knockan Road, they were asked to meet the spiritual head of the North India Namdhari Sikh Community.
Mr. Brian Gunn-King is general secretary of the International Vegetarian Union and his home was chosen for the VIP to stay the only night he was to spend in Northen Ireland.
The Gunn-Kings' important guest was Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji Maharaj, who is a staunch vegetarian, a teetotaller and non-smoker. He drinks neither tea nor coffee but carries his own well water on his travels. At moment he is on his sixth visit to the British Isles but his time in Ulster at the week-end was his first opportunity to see the Northern Irish countryside.
The Satguru arrived in Belfast on Friday afternoon to be met by representatives of the Asian Citizens Society. Mrs. Betty M'Clelland, wife of well-known Ulster swimmer and health food specialist Jack M'Clelland and Mr. Gunn-King, after a short stop at the M'Clelland home, the Satguru with his secretary, Swaran Singh Sanehi, and his personal attendant, travelled to Broughshane. There he met and talked with local vegetarians and other visitors.
The evening took the form of informal discussion with slides and there were vegetarian refreshments including Indian delicacies.
Of his impressions of Northern Ireland the Satguru claimed to be very pleased with the beautiful countryside but appaled by the large amount of pollution created by many of the factories - a condition which is making its presence felt all over the world.
Where our particular troubles are concerned, the Satguru expressed deep sadness and spoke of the great necessity for world peace.
"If there were any dissident groups in Northern Ireland, the should not endager life but act positively for peace," he said.
An active worker for the world peace movement, the Satguru is completely opposed to violence and, as an animal lover, he condemns the killing even of a cobra.
When he leaves Britain towards the end of this mnth, he will travel to the USA and Canada for the first time and will meet other vegetarians and animal lovers to exchange ideas for the "noble cause of humanitarianism, vegetarianism and animal welfare."
Commented Mrs. Margaret Gunn-King: "We are very honoured indeed that His Holiness has chosen to visit us during his stay in Northern Ireland . We expect to learn a lot from him and gain from his experiences."
[The Satguru was a speaker at the 1975 Congress, but it is not clear whether he remained in North America until then, or retirned home]