H. Jay Dinshah, 8th International Vegan Festival, 1995.
H. Jay Dinshah
Born Horn Dinshah Ghadiali. He lived from November 2, 1933 to June 8, 2000. He
died of an apparent hearth attack at age 66. He was
born in Malaga, New Jersey. His father was born in India and his mother
was a United States citizen with German ancestry. He was a lifelong
vegetarian and became vegan in 1957. He married the English-born Freya
Smith in 1960, the same year he founded the
American Vegan Society at the age of 26.
He was the president of the American Vegan
Society and the editor of its magazine Ahimsa from 1960 to 2000.
He was the self-published author of
Out of the Jungle
Song of India
Health can be harmless
and had edited an anthology titled
(1964). He had also written numerous articles for Ahimsa. Freya
Dinshah is the current president of the
American Vegan Society.
In his lifelong career he had variously served
as an executive vice-president of the
Vegetarian Union, vice president of the
Society (England), founder and president of the
American Vegetarian Society (1974-1979), acting executive
director of the American Natural Hygiene Society (1983)
and first president of the Vegetarian Union of North America.
American Vegan Society's definition of veganism is:
|"Veganism is an advanced way of
living in accordance with Reverence for Life,
recognizing the rights of all living creatures, and
extending to them the compassion, kindness, and justice
exemplified in the Golden Rule."
The motto of the American Vegan Society is
"Ahimsa lights the way". Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word for
non-killing and non-harming. It is not mere passiveness, but a
positive method of meeting the dilemmas and decisions of daily
life. In the western world, we call it Dynamic Harmlessness.
six Pillars of A-H-I-M-S-A are:
- Abstinence from animal products
- Harmlessness with reverence for
- Integrity of thought, word and
- Mastery over oneself
- Service to humanity, nature and creation
- Advancement of understanding and truth.
Quotes by H. Jay Dinshah:
|In 1961, he wrote in Ahimsa:
|"I call upon you, in the name
of mercy and of justice, to speak out and to work for the
eventual freedom of all creatures ... to refuse to buy, sell, or
utilize in any manner, shape or form any product of the cruelty,
slavery, exploitation, pain, or death of an animal."
|He wrote the essay "To Tell the
The essay included:
|"Life, precious though it is,
is not the only basic right which we deny the animals. Perhaps
no less criminal is the deprivation of their freedom, their
normal family life, their liberty to develop according to
natural patterns of their inclination instead of the hideous
plans we, in our greed for profits, have outlined for them.
Thus, a product is clearly objectionable if any type of
cruelty, direct or indirect, or even the crime of forced
servitude (slavery) is involved, regardless of whether killing
is involved in the acquisition of the product. In actual
practice, of course, there is virtually no such thing as an
animal product obtained from a creature that is permitted to
live out its days unharmed; the slaughterhouse represents the
end of the road for nearly all."
|In Out of the Jungle,
|"Man cannot pretend to be higher in
ethics, spirituality, advancement, or civilization than other
creatures, and at the same time live by lower standards than the
vulture or hyena. The Pillars of Ahimsa indisputably represent
the clearest surest path out of the jungle, and toward the
attainment of that highly desirable goal."
"Man must get his
thoughts, words and actions out of this vast moral jungle. We
are not predators. We are, hopefully, more than instinctive
killers and selfish brutes. Why take such a dim view of our
potentialities and capabilities?"
|In 1971, he wrote in Ahimsa:
|"To anyone who believes that life itself
has some purpose - or is even its own reason for being - one
should not wantonly destroy even plants. The destruction of any
life is thus an act not to be taken lightly, or presumed to be
isolated in the scheme of things. It is to be preceded by
careful consideration of the responsibilities and the possible
alternatives involved, and accompanied by an understanding that
one is indeed doing the right thing according to his present
state of existence . . . The ethical vegetarian is seriously
interested in lessening the suffering that he may be causing in
the world - even inadvertently inflicted upon relatively low
forms of life."
|He included the following words
in the souvenir book of the
1977 World Vegetarian Congress in India:
|"Mankind cannot, I submit, save itself
from destruction through mere cleverness of scientific
technology selfishly applied, nor through wishful thinking. But
through a deep sense of brotherhood of all life, and a
willingness and eagerness on the part of each and every person
to work constructively for the preservation and enhancement of
life, mankind may yet be preserved and go forward into the next
millennium with confidence, competence and compassion."