Vegetarian Elite
A Voice for the Animals, People & Planet: Indian Member of Parliament Maneka Gandhi (Hindi)      
Today’s Vegetarian Elite will be presented in Hindi and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai.

I would like to say my namaskar (greetings) to Supreme Master Ching Hai and to all of you in the audience.

Blessed weekend, wise and reverent viewers. Today, on Vegetarian Elite we will take a glimpse into the life of Maneka Gandhi, respected Member of Parliament in India, devoted environmentalist, animal welfare advocate, and compassionate vegan. It has been over three decades since Mrs. Maneka Gandhi’s name was first heard in India’s political circuit. In 1974, she married Sanjay Gandhi, the son of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The couple had their first born six years later, a boy they named Varun Gandhi. Shortly after his birth, however, his father Sanjay Gandhi unexpectedly passed away.

Mrs. Gandhi became politically active following the departure of her husband. While she was Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, she played a historical role in the Indian pension reform efforts. At the age of 33, she became the country’s Minister for the Environment. Prior to her post, India had no environmental protection laws. As an environmentalist and animal rights leader, Mrs. Gandhi sees no difference between the two roles, and champions both alongside one another in her political career.

I don’t see any difference between being and being. A chicken is a human, is a pig, is a donkey, is an ant. They all feel pain, they all feel love, they all feel sorrow, they all love their children, they all live in societies even if you separate them. They are all part of the large whole. And any time we hurt any one of them or create a society that hurts them, we simply destroy ourselves, and that is what leads me to work in this field.

Mrs. Gandhi invested her compassion early on in animal welfare. In 1980, she founded India’s first ever animal shelter in her husband’s remembrance. This initiative grew to become the organization “People for Animals.” Despite her busy schedule, she still personally answers questions posed on the organization’s website.

I used the legacy my husband left me to make an animal hospital, and called Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Center. More than 10 years later, I was confident enough to start an animal organization, which now is the largest animal organization in India. We have 26 hospitals, we lobby, we rescue animals from morning to night. We look at wild animals rescue as well.

Her many accomplishments in animal rights include banning animal circuses in India and winning court cases that have closed slaughterhouses. For her dedication and achievements, Maneka Gandhi has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, among which are the “Lord Erskine Award” from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1992; the “Prani Mitra Award’ for her outstanding contribution to animal welfare in 1996; the “Bhagwan Mahaveer Award for Excellence in sphere of Truth, Non-violence & Vegetarianism” in 1999, the “Maharana Mewar Foundation Award” for Environmental work in 1996; and in 2001, “Woman of the Year Award of the International Women’s Association.” Within her sphere of activism, Mrs. Gandhi speaks prolifically about why one should keep a vegan diet.

You know you can’t eat animals and then look after them because there is no difference in one and the other. In so many parts of the world people keep cruel aspects, and keep and eat dogs; now we keep dogs as pets and eat goats. So it is ridiculous to assume that you can eat [meat] and be a part of animal welfare movement.

In an interview with Satya Magazine in September 15, 1995 Mrs. Gandhi stated about her work:

I couldn’t go around saving the one cat and one dog, which is what people mean when they say ‘animals,’ it had to be saving the meat animals, or rather preventing them from being born. So, I had to do vegetarianism. I had to do ahimsa which fitted the whole thing, the whole catchall phrase of environment, animals, vegetarianism. Everything comes into ahimsa.

She has inspired countless people to seek truth in environmental protection, animal concerns, and their own diet. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, shared with us how Maneka Gandhi helped influenced his vegetarianism:

And I must give the credit to Mrs. Maneka Gandhi. She told me, “I defy you to remain vegetarian for a month.” I said, “All right, I’ll do it just to show you.” And interestingly at the end of that month, I didn’t feel like eating meat. If one really believes in protecting environment and making the most efficient use of the resources on this planet, then I don’t see why one has to be non-vegetarian. So now I have become a vegetarian, I feel very concerned that one kills animals to satisfy our own appetites and I don’t know whether, as civilized human beings, we should be doing that.

When we return after this message, Mrs. Maneka Gandhi shares her knowledge about the dire effects of climate change threatening the lives of all species on our planet… and offers a simple and effective solution. You are watching Vegetarian Elite on Supreme Master Television.

I refuse to take part in any violence – against women, against children, against animals, against the Earth, against anything that I can protect, I will protect it. And the result is that I will be protected.

If we keep waiting for large masses of people to work it doesn’t work at all. So therefore it would have to be each person doing their own and understanding it. We need to switch immediately to solar energy, to wind power. This has to move to 70% almost immediately. Secondly, we have to plant trees, plant trees, plant trees, and plant trees. The third is we have to stop using chemical fertilizer, because that is creating huge black holes in the ocean. And the forth thing is that we have to be vegetarian. If these 4 things we do, which are not difficult at all, we will be able to stop climate change as of this year.

Welcome back to Vegetarian Elite on Supreme Master Television. In a Washington DC climate change video conference with Supreme Master Ching Hai, Maneka Gandhi sent the following messages that were heard by thousands of audience members, countless viewers, esteemed scientists, and US political leaders.

For many years now we have been experiencing the problems of climate change. In my own constituency there was a terrible drought this year. And just when the government had come to grips with it, it turned into an unseasonal flood. The farmers lost everything. The lentils I eat, regarded as a staple in India, are now so expensive that they have become a luxury.

They’re actually putting police people in Kenya to guard the taps so that nobody can take more than one mug, while the slaughterhouse in Kenya takes all the water. Take the power into your own hands. You can become an Earth saver. You don’t need machines. You don’t need governments. You don’t even need treaties. You can stop it today by yourself. In this strange political debate, we have stopped recognizing that this is one world and we are all going to live or die together.

Let me explain how you and I can turn this around immediately. Methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, which means that their presence in the air traps heat and affects the Earth’s temperature and climate, making the planet warmer. As it warms, the climate changes and the glaciers melt. When the glaciers melt, the rivers first flood and then dry up. The developed countries of the world are producing so much carbon dioxide. And the developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are being blamed for producing methane.

What is the single largest contributor to methane? Livestock raising for meat production. And why is methane such a lethal greenhouse gas? It is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere. Because it is a short-lived gas with a lifespan of only 8.4 years, the effects of its reduction will be felt immediately. As climate scientists have affirmed, we need to reduce short-lived greenhouse gases today in order to ensure a livable planet for our children, and we need to reduce CO2 to ensure a livable planet for generations a few hundred years from now.

The methane emissions for India, China, and Brazil have doubled since 1990 and are expected to go up even further by 2020; scientists say up to 43%. And there is only one reason and it’s because these countries grow animals for meat for the developed world. So these three nations cannot stop producing methane unless you stop buying their product. Between 1970 and 2002 the annual per capita meat consumption in developing countries, like mine, has risen from 11 kilos to 29 kilos. In developed countries, the eating of meat has risen from 65 kilos to 100 kilos per year. 100 kilos means over 300 animals are killed by one person every year.

A single dairy cow produces between 550 to 700 liters of methane a day. The world’s top destroyer of the atmosphere is not the car, nor the factory – it is the meat-eating human being. There is a 400-page United Nations report, which has identified the world’s rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests, wildlife, and the continuation of the Earth.

But you can remove methane in one day starting with today’s dinner. If you stop eating meat today, you will stop my Ganges glacier from melting. My people will survive, because the magnificent and holy Ganges will stop turning into a stream. So will the Yangtze and all the major rivers of Asia and so will the Amazon.

And how will this impact you? My people will not become refugees and storm your gates to enter your country. So, not only will you save the world yourself, stopping eating meat will also stop so much poverty on the planet. It brings you better health. It eliminates most cancers. It frees up masses of land for vegetables and grains and really good eating. It allows water for the poor. For instance, do you know that one slaughterhouse in my city uses 16 million liters a day, and one family gets one liter?

The costs of reducing carbon dioxide are much larger because it needs technology. The cost of reducing methane is zero. Simply stop eating meat.

Not only is Mrs. Gandhi’s call to action scientifically backed, it is uncomplicated and precious: if you want to do something, wherever you are based, start there. Start the movement of planting trees and being vegan. If you can create one area of excellence, the world will follow.

We haven’t yet understood the magic of the universe. The universe is there to do a straight tradeoff – you be good, it’ll be good. Nature is just there to say, “You be kind, I’ll be kind; you be mean, I’ll be mean.” And we are now exhausting all our remedies. Therefore the only remedy now left is, let us just stop killing! If you stop killing animals today, you will find you will stop killing human beings almost simultaneous. you will not be growing animals for killing, you won’t have the terrible misery of slaughterhouses.

Once you stop killing then the whole of Earth springs back, and it become a Garden of Eden. And it happens now. I’m not talking about 2,000 years from now. In 10 years, I will be still there and so will you.

Thank you, Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, for being such a viable voice for the animals, people and planet! We are awaiting the future that you envision with great hope and anticipation.

Thank you, gentle viewers, for your loving presence on today’s Vegetarian Elite. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Between Master and Disciples. Let us all do our share in making this world a beautiful place to live and share!

Contact animal welfare organization People for Animals and write to Indian Parliament Member Makeda Gandhi at

  Lin Tsong-ming, Political Deputy Minister of Education in Formosa (Taiwan) (In Chinese) 
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