Skip to main content


by Marly Winckler - IVU Chair


OCTOBER 27-28, 20023 / NOVEMBER 1-2, 2023 / NOVEMBER 4-5, 2023

It was an intense season, three Festivals in three different cities, united by the common commitment to spread veganism and its huge benefits for our own health, for the animals and for the Planet. Each one has its own characteristics, all interesting, productive and fulfilling the proposed objectives – and more.

I'm returning to India after 9 years, when we had the 42nd IVU World Vegfest in Chennai (and before that in Dubai) in 2014, organized by Sandhia Prakash in Dubai and Ashok Kumar, president of the APVU - Asia-Pacific Vegan Union, in Chennai. In 9 years the vegan scene has expanded significantly, as in the rest of the world, as a result of several groups and individuals working hard to spread the vegan message. Many vegan groups and organizations everywhere, new products entering the market, the word vegan itself being better known, and options offered in restaurants, hotels and establishments in general. But there is still a lot to be done, including the task of teach what veganism is, and how to prepare nutritious and tasty meals without any animal products and help the industry and stablishments in general to provide vegan products.

We are all connected by the Internet, but nothing replaces personal contact and these Festivals provide an ideal environment for the exchange of experiences, strengthening ties, animating the flame to carry out the hard work of spreading our vegan message in a world that is still mostly omnivorous.

It took me 30 hours between flights and transit to get to India. For the strong. For those who have a cause to defend and promote, that engages their whole being and their convictions. For vegans lol. When I arrived in Mumbai at 8 am, after customs clearance and the purchase of some rupees, I went straight to a spa where I had pre-scheduled a massage, because no one is made of iron, and we are in India, the country of sublime massages.

Soon after, I rushed to my first lunch, where I met dear long-time vegan activist friends – and new friends, whom I knew only through the Internet.
O atributo alt desta imagem está vazio. O nome do arquivo é almoco-27-10-1024x768.jpg

First lunch, on the day of arrival, at Aharveda, vegan restaurant, invited by Vaishali Shah, From left to right: Kaarel (Estonia), Thao (Vietnam), Shankar (India), Vaishali (Kenya-India), Marly (Brazil) and Saurabh (USA).

Present at the first luncheon was dear Shankar Narayan, founding president of the Vegan Society of India (Satvik Soc), former IVU Regional Representative for India, current member of the IVU Council who made the arrangements for IVU events to take place in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It should be said that the 3 Festivals happened because IVU, through Shankar, proposed that its Vegan Festival would take place in India this year, and the three offered to host the event.

Also present was Saurabh Dalal from the United States (member of the IVU Council), whom I had not seen for a long time, a frequent attendee of IVU events, returns after a few years of absence; Thao Le, organizer of the upcoming 49th IVU Vegan Festival, and IVU representative for Vietnam and member of the Council; Kaarel from Estonia, responsible for the videos for Anchay TV and IVU. I was able to meet in person with Vaishali Shah, who organized with her team the 46th IVU Vegan Festival in Nairobi, Kenya, but because she was expecting a baby, she had to go to India shortly before the event, where she had the structure to have the baby. This event was on the 23-25th November 2018, the first completely vegan in Kenya.

In the afternoon we were greeted with a wonderful vegan appetizer by dear Ruchika Chitrabhanu in her beautiful residence. Ruchika is the founder of The Earthen One and co-founder of Ahimsafest of Mumbai. She is the daughter-in-law of Gurudev Chitrabhanu, an important figure in American Jainism, whom I had the privilege of meeting more than once. As a result of his influence, many North American and Indian Jains embraced veganism.

In the evening the dinner was at the invitation of old friend, former IVU Council member Hiren Kara, director of Peta-India, at the 'extension of his home', the magnificent Mumbai Cricket Club.

cricket club

Shankar, Saurabh, Hiren Kara (our host), Marly, Thao, Anil and Kaarel.


The next day, October 27th, began the first IVU event organized by Vignesh Manjeshwar of  YVCareEarth ( in Mumbai. It was an intense two days, with many booths of food and vegan products, lots of music, lectures and a run and march for animal rights. IVU had a stall next to the double stall of Anchay TV, where we were able to receive our guests, speakers, famous and anonymous and meet a lot of new people.

There were some 100 stalls of vegan and vegan friendly companies, and people came to the festival from varios parts of India and some from abroad. There was a hall with talks throughout the day from different vegan activists, doctors, nutritionists, culinary chefs etc. More than 150 people gathered for the YVCareEarth Run and March on the morning of the 28th. Holding placards and chanting "Stop Animal Cruelty" they marched to the Festival grounds.

MAA KA DOODHI finally met Dr Harsha Atmakuri, the doctor, director and producer of the film Maa Ka Doodh - Mother's Milk - Movie, in which I had a small participation, talking about the connection between cattle ranching in India and Brazil, since about 80% of the Brazilian herd, the largest in the world, is of Indian origin. There are several breeds of zebu in Brazil, among them the Nelore, the Tabapuã, the Brahman, the Cangaian, the Gir, the Guzerá, the Indubrasil, the Punganur and the Sindhi - all of Indian origin. The documentary Maa Ka Doodh Uncovering the Disaster of a Dairy Nation is an investigative feature film and as it says: India is the largest producer of milk in the world, and it is also one of the largest exporters of meat. This is not a coincidence – and the documentary shows this clearly. There is no milk without meat, there is no meat without death and intense exploitation of these sentient beings.

I met in Mumbai personally with Thao Le, IVU councillor, representative for Vietnam and organizer of the next IVU Festival in Saigon. Thao is a charismatic person, very active and is doing an amazing job. He made a difference at the Mumbai event. Founder of Anchay TV, Thao came with his team and also brought in vegan vietnamise celeb Shin Hong Vinh.

harsha marly thao MC
In the IVU stall at YVCareEarth Festival with dear Dr Harsha Atmakuri the  filmmaker about the life of cows in India - 'Maa Ka Doodh' Maa Ka Doodh  -  Mother's Milk - Film  and Thao Lê by Ăn Chay TV Vietnam and MC Hoang Vinh.
com ruchica alejandro vignesh taho shen
Vegan Festival, with com Alejandro (Chile) Ruchika (Mumbai) Saurabh (EUA), Shin (Vietnam), (Marly (Brazil), Vignesh (Mumbai, organizer of the Festival), Thao (Vietnam), MD (Vietnam).

                               estande IVU Amir Thao

IVU stall with Indian-Australian celeb Amy Aela and Thao Le.

I met my friend Nandita Shah, from long time, founding-president of SHARAN, who has been doing a magnificent job in the field of health and reversal of diabetes with a vegan diet. We met first, I believe, at the 11th International Vegan Festival, an event organized by the Indian Vegan Society in Murdershwar, on September 30 to October 6, 2007. And after that we met many times around the world, specially in India.

                    nandita estade ivu
                                                                    I met my dear friend Nandita Shah, the creator of Sharan. Behind the IVU and Anchay TV stalls.
                      ivu people etc

                                                                              IVU people with Shin and dancers and friends Hiren, Ruchika, Thao, and MD


At the end of the event in Mumbai we held our traditional meeting with representatives of vegetarian organizations to exchange experiences, learn what brings the most results and light the flame to continue our local work.

I had the opportunity to present IVU and the work it is currently developing, which is in full expansion. In addition to the Vegan Nutrition Guide for Adults, which is already translated into 3 languages and being adopted by several doctors, nutritionists and vegetarian organizations around the world, I spoke about the IVU Certification Project, Vegan Choice, for restaurants, cafes, hotels, inns, hospitals and any establishments that may have a vegan option. It is an educational project where we teach what veganism is, why to be vegan, and how to prepare delicious vegan dishes, from the simple trivial to the gourmet. Soon there will be the official launch of this project.

At the end of the IVU Meeting, I passed the symbolic IVU flag to Thao, who will surely organize a memorable IVU Vegan Festival in Vietnam, in 2025.

IMG 6777
The IVU banner is with Vietnam now. 49th IVU World Vegan Festival – Saigon - 2025


On October 31st I took a flight at dawn to Chennai. Jayanthy Cuddalore, founding-president of International Vegan Alliance and a Member of IVU Council sent to pick us up at the airport and we headed to Happy Village, a Brahma Kumaris retreat about 50 km from Chennai. An oasis of tranquility, silence and an appropriate place to host the 48th IVU World Vegan Festival, organized this time by Jayanthy and her team of the International Vegan Alliance.

The event focused on Whole-Food Plant-Based and brought together vegans and nutritionists, doctors, and yoga practitioners from all over India. Two days full of good lectures, artistic presentations, meetings and gatherings.

Dr Aris La Tham who had already met us in Mumbai, came with chef Ali and regaled us with his fantastic pies and sunfired food – cooked by the sun. In addition to Jayanthy herself, I met the former IVU Representative for India, Ck Ashok Kumar, president of the Asia Pacific Vegan Union, with whom we had very good conversations and planned to do many good deeds for veganism in India.

chennai grupo

inaugurando chennai

Inauguration of the 48th IVU - International Vegetarian Union Vegan Festival  organized in partnership with the International Vegan Alliance in Chennai, India

IMG 6778

I had the pleasure of meeting, already in Mumbai, but who also participated in the other events, Dr Sailesh Rao, Executive Director at
Climate Healers. Dr Sailesh travels the world spreading the word about the problems related to Climate Change – and the solution to the Cure, veganism.

 Shankar and Sailesh

                                                 Shankar and Sailesh at Ahmedabad Ahimsa Vegan Festival

At the event organized by Shankar in Bangalore, in 2010, I stayed at the hotel of Jayaram Hr,
founder of The Green Path - Organics. He came from Bangalore in the morning to see me, stayed a few hours, and went back to Bangalore, which honored me very much. Jayaram does an amazing job on his organic farm.

jayaram eu
                                                                                                                                     Jayaram and Marly

We cannot fail to thank Jayanthy and her team, and also the hostess, Sister Beena, who did everything to welcome us in the good atmosphere of his Retreat, with vegan food, prepared with care. Everyone was always very happy and helpful, the event was very pleasant and left its mark on the approximately 300 health professionals, including doctors, nutritionists and therapists and others attendees.

beena eu

                                                                   Sister Beena of the Brahma Kumaris putting the memory on me, Jayanthy and Ashok Kumar. In the back, Dr. Sailesh Rao.

There were a lot of people and good conversations went all the time and I just can't list them all. So I leave here a collective thank you to everyone who participated in any way in this magnificent event. Certainly, much good fruit will come from this meeting.


I spent a few hours in Chennai on November 3rd, because in the evening I would have to catch a flight to the next event in Ahmedabad. I then went to meet Dr Chinny Krishna, in his factory, from where we went to visit the Sanctuary where he keeps more than 2,000 animals rescued from all kinds of mistreatment, being run over, abandonment, etc. He maintains a veterinary hospital, with six ambulances that rush through the streets of Chennai rescuing animals in precarious situations.

chinny eu

It was a great honour to have met Dr Chinny Krishna, Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus  of Blue Cross of India


 banner gujarat

Finally the third leg: Ahmedabad, where we were welcomed by the Vegans of Gujarat, an active and committed young group, for  the Ahimsa Vegan Festival 2023 on November 4th and 5th, organized by dear Shikha and team. I had the opportunity to get closer to Harsha and also to the first vegan climber to climb Everest, Kuntal Joisher, who has an incredible history. His videos on youtube are worth seeing. He is a nutritionist and talked about his athlete's diet.

kuntal euThe vegan alpinist Kuntal and Marly

The event took place at the University of Gujarat and attracted many young people and college students. The atmosphere of the event was excellent, of unity and fraternization. With the presence of several other vegan groups from other parts of India it let a mark on the vegan scene of Ahmedabad. 

There were two intense days of lectures, artistic presentations, with emphasis on the theater set up by the dear Manjushree, portraying the separation of the calf from the mother.

The last day coincided with my birthday and we went to celebrate in a restaurant, as a kind invitation of Asa Narinder, IVU Council Member who was supposed to attend all the events, but at last minute was not able to. Thank you Asa and congratulations to Gujarat Vegans for the excellent event.  

19afca34 c3a9 42b8 a6f1 4bc6b9d4250c

I celebrated my birthday with dear friends from Vegans of Gujarat and various other places in the world.


On the 6th of November, Saurabh and I went to Palitana, the town where it is forbidden to sell any kind of meat and eggs. It is the first of the two vegetarian cities in the world. In 2014, Palitana became the first city in the world to be legally vegetarian. It has prohibited, or made illegal, the buying and selling of meat, fish and eggs, as well as related work such as fishing and the raising of "food animals". 

It is also a Jain pilgrimage center. Palitana is the only mountain in the world that has more than 900 temples. The city has strong links with the temple complex at the top of the mountain. Many pilgrims visit it permanently, and monks and nuns climb the staircase of 3,800 stone steps every day to pay their respects to the Jain saints and offer their prayers.

We stayed at the Dharamsala (pilgrims' house) and the next day early in the morning we climbed the mountain.



In addition to many pilgrims, the monks and nuns climb the 3800 steps to the top of the mountain every day. Many seniors do the same.


There are several stations until you reach the top. In this one there is a huge bell, which we can ring.


Back in Ahmedabad I stayed with the dear filmmaker Manjushree Abhinav, one of the organizers of the Ahimsa Festival. I went with her to thank the principal of Silver Oak University who provided students for the staging of the play that Manjushree directed. The principal invited me to speak to a class of sociology students, coincidentally my profession. I spoke, of course, about the advantages of vegan food, which is how to get out of a vicious circle and enter a virtuous circle where everything is good and beneficial. Dear Daksha is responsible for seeing if the University's canteen can offer vegan options.

Silver Oak1

Silver Oak University – Sociology students I spoke to about the veneficies of veganism


I finally returned to Mumbai to catch the flight back to Brazil. It was intense, but it was rewarding, as always. Very good to contact with so many vegans which gives hope that the tragedy of the 'sacred cow', among other things, will come to an end. Mahatma Gandhi had already made an unsuccessful attempt to abstain from milk. I relate this story in Would Gandhi be Vegan Today?

Changing a culture and ingrained habits is no easy task, even more so when there are heavy economic interests involved. But that's what we have to do. We have to, with the union of all, make it known to everyone that the concept of Ahimsa necessarily asks us to be vegan.

Ahimsa is the abstention from any kind of violence. It doesn't just mean not killing, but not voluntarily inflicting any damage, suffering or pain on any living being, by words, thoughts or actions. It means the highest degree of harmlessness. Not causing violence or harm to any living being is an integral part of Ahimsa. Eating in a way that does not cause violence or harm to any living being is one of the requirements of this central principle of Gandhi's philosophy and life. Strict vegetarian eating, that is, without any animal ingredients, is a fundamental and integral part of a world without violence, healthy, sustainable and that respects all forms of life. This was the world that Mahatma Gandhi sought. 


 Gandhi and Henry Salt on his right, at a meeting of the London Vegetarian Society – November 20, 1931

This is what we have to seek and try to implement in all parts of the world. That's what IVU's mission is.

Thank you, dear friends and colleagues! See you soon!

ultimo cafe

In India like the Indians. Last breakfast before returning to Brazil. Masala dosa and idlis, which are accompanied by sambar and tomato and coconut chutney. And a black coffee with a Brazilian touch. All vegan by nature.

  • Created on .

Download the Vegetarian Nutrition Booklet for Kids and Adolescents