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    Indian J Med Res. 2019 Jan; 149(Suppl 1): S69–S71.

    doi: 10.4103/0971-5916.251660

    PMCID: PMC6515730 PMID: 31070180


    Komarraju Satyalakshmi*

    Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer

    If we go through the experiments made by Mahatma Gandhi on several aspects of life, what comes clear is that he had a fair knowledge that health is not, and cannot be, a commodity but an outcome, or rather, a by-product of various human activities. Food, exercise, cleanliness, education, clothing, housing, agriculture, work, employment all have a bearing on the health of an individual and, even more importantly, an individual's engagement with the community and God. Hence, selfless work and prayer were made an integral part of the daily routine in his ‘ashram life’. His health determinants dictated him to adopt nature cure and recommend to all others as it emphasizes self-responsibility and provides self-reliance. According to him, so long as people depend on drugs, doctors and hospitals for their health needs, they are not truly liberated.

    “I suggest that they (scientists & doctors) should turn their attention towards the seven lakhs of the villages of India. They would immediately discover that all the qualified men and women are required for village service, not after the manner of the West, but after the manner of the East. They will then adapt themselves to many indigenous systems.”

    “India does not need imported drugs from the West when she has an inexhaustible stock of a variety of drugs grown in the villages themselves. But more than drugs they have to teach the people the right mode of living.”

    (Harijan, 15-6-1947, p. 1845)

    Any chronicle on the system of nature cure in India will be incomplete without noting the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi to society in general and to Indian naturopathy in particular. He was a staunch practitioner of naturopathy all through his life. There were scores of instances where he experimented with the system on himself, his family members and ultimately on the public who followed him in letter and spirit. In 1897 and 1900, he assisted his wife in delivering Ramdas and Devdas by reading obstetrics manuals in Durban. And, later, treated his children only with naturopathy. He and his volunteers used naturopathy modalities to treat Boer War-wounded soldiers as well as during a plague outbreak in South Africa.

    Gandhiji's introduction to nature cure began with his conviction in vegetarianism. For him, vegetarianism is in spiritual harmony with the rest of Nature. He insisted that man didn’t have to kill to eat. Vegetarian food is the healthiest, most economical, makes efficient use of land and fosters values of non-violence and humanitarianism. Apart from a cultural habit, and a vow administered by his mother, he learnt why it was right to be a vegetarian by reading: Henry Salt's A Plea For Vegetarianism, Howard William's The Ethics of Diet, and Anna Kingsford's The Perfect Way in Diet while he was doing law in the 1880s in London. Gandhiji was greatly influenced by Adolf Just's book, Return To Nature, The Paradise Regained and Louis Kuhne's New Science of Healing.

    Mahatma Gandhi's room at National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune.

    He had written many articles and books on nature cure. To name a few: Key to Health, Nature Cure, Diet and Diet Reforms, Prayer and Vegetarianism.

    He initiated a nature cure hospital in a small village near Pune, Urlikanchan, to provide medical services to the rural poor. This was an offshoot of the Nature Cure Clinic and Sanatorium at Pune which was serving only the urban rich at that time. To this day, it is a standing testimony to the values cherished by Gandhi.

    Mahatma Gandhi's connection with National Institute of Naturopathy: On January 2, 1932, Dr. Dinshah Mehta met Gandhiji in Bombay upon the latter's invitation. It lasted for 21 minutes and continued as a life-long intimate association. Dr. Dinshah became Gandhiji's personal nature cure physician till the end. He supervised two of the three world-famous 21 day-fasts of Gandhiji and many other shorter ones.

    It is recorded history that, from August 21 to November 18, 1945, Gandhiji took a 90-day in-patient course of treatments from Dr. Dinshah in his Nature Cure Clinic and Sanatorium at Poona. It greatly improved his health. During this period, Mahatma Gandhi gained 6 lbs. (2.7 kg.) in weight and felt greatly refreshed. He remarked confidently: “I shall now live for 120 years!” Earlier, he had been wishing for it. He was in fairly good health when he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. Otherwise, who knows, he may have lived that long. Mahatma's conviction got concretized when he had signed on a trust deed with a promise to serve the people of India through nature cure by dedicating his remaining life.

    Mahatma Gandhi founded the All India Nature Cure Foundation trust on November 18, 1945; with the Institution – the Nature Cure Clinic and Sanatorium, Poona – as its nucleus. This is the only Nature Cure Trust, the deed of which was signed by Mahatma Gandhi. In the trust deed, the objects of making this charitable trust have been specified as spreading the knowledge of the science of nature cure in all its aspects and expanding the activity of nature cure therapeutics so as to make its benefits available to all classes of people and especially the poor, putting said institution on a permanent basis, with the ultimate object of creating from it a Nature Cure University.

    स्रोत : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

    The Eleven Vows of Mahatma Gandhi

    Abstract. This chapter examines Mahatma Gandhi's eleven vows, which contain the essence of his teaching in its relation to India and represent a trend in the wr

    Inside India Halidé Edib CHAPTER

    Twenty - One The Eleven Vows of Mahatma Gandhi

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    Pages 192–201

    Published: January 2009

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    This chapter examines Mahatma Gandhi's eleven vows, which contain the essence of his teaching in its relation to India and represent a trend in the writings of the world-intelligentsia, as well as the secret longings of a large number of inarticulate human beings. Gandhi's vows have something to do with ahimsa or non-violence; freedom from untouchability; body-labour; celibacy; non-stealing and non-possession; equal respect for all religions; and Satyagraha. From the point of view of the Hindus, the untouchability campaign led by Gandhi has introduced a new conception-Hinduism without a social hierarchy.

    Keywords: Mahatma Gandhi, eleven vows, celibacy, non-violence, untouchability, body-labour, religions, Satyagraha

    Subject Literary Studies - WorldLiterary Studies (20th Century onwards)Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)Literary Studies (Women's Writing)Literary Studies (Travel Literature)

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    स्रोत : academic.oup.com

    Gandhi Would Have Resisted Today's Forceful Imposition of Vegetarianism

    The recent proposal by the Railway Board to serve only vegetarian food on Gandhi Jayanti is not in line with the Mahatma's principles.


    Gandhi Would Have Resisted Today's Forceful Imposition of Vegetarianism

    The recent proposal by the Railway Board to serve only vegetarian food on Gandhi Jayanti is not in line with the Mahatma's principles.

    Mahatma Gandhi. Credit: Flickr/Igor Martinez

    Support Us Food Government 02/Oct/2018

    This article was originally published on May 23, 2018. It is being republished on the occasion of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

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    With its ascendancy to political power, the Hindu Right has amplified its long-term project of inserting itself into the narrative and legacy of our freedom struggle. One key element of this strategy is the distortion of historical facts. Another consistent tactic is to claim a strong affinity with Gandhi’s values and ideals. Indeed, a recent proposal by the Railway Board to serve only vegetarian food on Gandhi Jayanti for the next three years is in line with this strategy.

    Throughout history, rules on diet and commensality have been key sociological markers of differentiation in Indian society. For the Sangh and its ilk, a forceful declaration of their vegetarian credentials is a means of distinguishing themselves from others, especially Dalits, Muslims and Christians. If the perpetual controversies over beef are the overt assertion of political power, public espousal of vegetarianism is the obverse side of the same coin. Indeed, in such a scenario, vegetarianism serves as a form of dog whistle politics for discrimination against many communities that the Hindu Right despises.

    For sure, throughout his lifetime Gandhi was a vegetarian and had strong views on food and diet. But, while Gandhi advocated vegetarianism, the basis of his advocacy underwent an evolution. As he admitted in his autobiography, as a young man in England, Gandhi stuck to a vegetarian diet to honour a vow he had made to his mother:

    I had all along abstained from meat in the interests of truth and of the vow I had taken, but had wished at the same time that every Indian should be a meat-eater, and had looked forward to being one myself freely and openly some day, and to enlisting others in the cause.

    It was later that Gandhi’s vegetarianism evolved from simple adherence to the practices of his family and community to one with an ethical basis and compassion for other living beings.

    The seemingly muddle-headed bureaucratic move of the Railway Board is admittedly smart if not a diabolical strategy. It draws on the fact of Gandhi’s vegetarianism and yokes it to a militant assertion of vegetarianism that is repugnant to the values and principles of the Mahatma. For while Gandhi was a vegetarian, he always found the forcible imposition of any norm or value on others an abhorrent idea that ought to be resisted. Here one is reminded of an episode during Gandhi’s time in Noakhali in 1946 that is recounted by the Bengali scholar Nirmal Bose in his memoir My Days with Gandhi. A Christmas gift bag that was sent to Gandhi included a pack of cigarettes. Since Jawaharlal Nehru was to arrive a couple of days later, Gandhi asked for the cigarettes to be reserved for Nehru.

    Given the endless rounds of controversy over beef, a more relevant story comes from Jehangir Patel. In May 1944, an ill Gandhi was released from the Aga Khan’s palace and was convalescing at Patel’s Juhu home. One morning, Gandhi’s disciple Mirabehn declaimed that “Bapu won’t be able to eat his breakfast”. Mira had found raw meat placed next to fruit in the fridge. The cook had placed the meat meant for Patel’s dog in the fridge and an upset Mira argued that Patel was being a terrible host to the Mahatma. Upon hearing the fracas, Gandhi took a few grapes from the fridge and ate them. He then chastised Mira for being unreasonable and pointed out that “We are guests in our friend’s house, and it would not be right for us to impose our ideas upon him or upon anyone. People whose custom it is to eat meat should not stop doing so simply because I am present.”

    While the two stories related above should suffice to argue against the problematic moves by the Railway Board, we should not let the terms of our engagement with Gandhi’s ideas on food be limited to arguments about beef and vegetarianism alone. Throughout his eventful life, Gandhi had much to say about the role of food in our lives. For sure, these views included an ethical advocacy of vegetarianism and human responsibility in the ethical treatment of all forms of life. But Gandhi’s ideas on food went beyond the terms of such debates to encompass fundamental questions of nutrition, economic justice and an ecological way of living.

    In 1934, Gandhi was convinced that the fundamental needs of rural India could not wait any more and needed immediate redressal. He resigned from the Congress and moved to Wardha, eventually settling down in a nearby village that was named Sevagram. Gandhi’s endless experimentation in this period was with the health benefits of a variety of foods. The serving of a chutney of bitter neem leaves and unpalatable dishes made out of soya beans during the course of Gandhi’s experiments has evoked much humour. But the underlying intent was a serious one.

    स्रोत : thewire.in

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