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November 22, 2019

Meatless days

Opinion

November 22, 2019

In response to my recently-issued video message in support of marking an international meatless day (animal rights day) on November 25, many internet users asked so many questions. Due to this, I decided to elaborate its significance in detail.

All religions urge treating defenceless animals with kindness and mercy. Various medical research reports also highlight the importance of abstaining from meat to overcome different diseases.

Every year, World Meatless Day is observed across the globe on November 25. Also known as the International Animal Rights Day and Vegetarian Day, it actually marks the birth of socio-religious leader Sadhu T L Vaswani, born in Hyderabad, Sindh. He was also a renowned educationist and led the Mira Movement in Sindh to promote education among the people. Sadhu Vaswani also served as a professor of history and philosophy at Metropolitan College, Calcutta and later, moved to Karachi's D J Science College as professor of english and philosophy. After Partition, he preferred to stay in Pakistan but had to migrate to Pune, India after the death of Quaid-e-Azam.

Vaswani was a strong supporter of interfaith harmony and well-aware about the teachings of different religions. He was of the view that only education can bring people closer by ending all kinds of misunderstandings and biases. Sadhu Vaswani was also the author of hundreds of books, mostly in English and Sindhi.

He was supporter of Mahatma Gandhi 's ideology of Ahimsa, which urges that that all living beings have a basic right to live freely in this world and nobody should be allowed to hurt other living being, whatever the reason. Sadhu Vaswani dedicated his entire life to ensure that all living beings, including birds and animals, must be allowed to live on this beautiful planet in the same way as human beings.

Vaswani considered that meat eating and world peace both are interlinked. He emphasized that the root cause of all world conflicts is actually irreverence towards life, and thus, we must try our best to save a life at any cost.

Sadhu Vaswani not only followed such golden principles throughout his life but also asked his followers to carry them forward. Although he is no more in this mortal world, his ideology to preserve life is still alive in the shape of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. The organization, led by spiritual mentor Rev Dada J P Vaswani, had taken many initiatives to spread the message of peace and love. In order to promote compassion, nonviolence, tolerance and respect for all life, the Sadhu Vaswani Mission had launched a massive campaign named Stop Animal Killing (SAK), and thus, successfully introduced World Meatless Day.

The international day is now being celebrated all over the world. Every year, millions of individuals used to extend support to the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Many slaughter houses voluntarily closed operations for the day to show solidarity. On this day, different awareness events are held in various countries. A number of students and youth participate in walks and marches to raise awareness about the importance of being vegetarian. People are asked to refrain from all sorts of food consisting of meat, at least for that one particular day. Educational institutions are approached with a request to educate students about the need for developing kindness towards animals.

The Pakistan Hindu Council, keeping the above in view, has also decided to spread the message of Sadhu Vaswani, born in present-day Pakistan. On the occasion, the focus of my all socio-political activities will also be on protecting the right to live and shelter animals and birds. And most importantly, the right of coexistence must be given priority in every life matter. Being a good human being, it is our prime duty and responsibility to show kindness and compassion to everyone.

I also would like to request every peace loving citizen to abstain from eating meat for at least one day on the occasion of World Meatless Day.

The writer is a member of the NationalAssembly and patron-in-chief of thePakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani

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