This Blog revolves around the book – MKG – Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth & Ahimsa and how Learnings from the Mahatma can cause positive change in the 21st century; the book is a pictorial representation of the life and message of the Mahatma, covering major milestones which influenced his philosophy, political awakening and his concept of Ahimsa in a concise illustrative format. An attempt has been made to portray the man behind the Mahatma to provide inspiration to today’s generation.
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MKG book released at the United Nations

1st October 2010 - A special edition of the book – MKG –Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa was released by the President of the General Assemble of the United Nations. The release was marked with attendance from Ambassadors from over 50 nations and was the official UN event marking the International Day of Non-Violence.

UN Story Link

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goat's Milk and Gandhi

Yesterday an article appeared in the Economic Times, below is an extract that provides interesting information.

Goat Milk offers plenty in terms of health, ask Mahatma Gandhi
Vikram Doctor, ET Bureau Mar 19, 2012, 12.18AM IST


Most people know that Mahatma Gandhi drank only goat's milk, and we assume this was part of his general obsession with food and health. But the problem with making this another selling point for goat's milk is that Gandhi didn't really drink it out of any special belief in its healthiness, but because he felt he had no other option.


The term vegan was not used at that time, but Gandhi would today count as a strict one, preferring to avoid any animal products. But the range of protein sources at that time was limited - soy milk was only just getting known widely, and Gandhi did not favour consumption of most dals and legumes (except peanuts).

In his early life, he often tried milk-free diets, and his position hardened after coming back to India and learning of the cruelties that many dairymen here practiced on their cows to increase milk yield. He took a vow then to avoid drinking milk and tried to find substitutes.

But none seemed to work, and without other easily digestible vegetable proteins, his health suffered quite fast. This came to a head around 1918 when the combination of the stressful Kheda Satyagraha campaign, and the milk-free diet caused him to develop a range of ailments that really threatened his life.

The doctors he consulted insisted he had to drink milk, but Gandhi felt he could not break his vow, and in letters he wrote to his family then he seemed fully prepared to die for this reason.

Gandhi did, however combine his ideals with a practical spirit which saw the need to live for his larger work. He was also a lawyer, which may have made him receptive when Kasturba came up with a compromise. He had refused to drink buffalo milk, as being too obviously close to cow's milk, but now she asked if goat's milk would do? Gandhi thought about it and agreed he had not been thinking of goats when he made his vow, so perhaps he could take that.

This was splitting hairs, as he acknowledged with shame to correspondents like Narahari Parikh, but he argued, "The fact of big loopholes having been left in my vow is evidence of their utter sincerity." He believed in the value of the vow enough to stick to its letter, but was willing to compromise on its spirit in the larger interest.

Get my Goats

Goats henceforth became part of the Gandhian establishment. There are letters to Sir Stafford Cripps and others who wanted him to travel to meet them where Gandhi makes clear that goats would need to be provided at their end. But mostly goat coordination fell to helpers like Mira Behn (Madeleine Slade), particularly during his trip abroad for the Round Table Conference in 1931.

In her memoir The Spirit's Pilgrimage she recalled how when they reached Paris station "someone came in great agitation to say a beautiful white goat had been brought to supply fresh milk, and the police had refused to allow it on the platform." Gandhi had to do without goat's milk that day, but in London they were waiting for him.

The wide knowledge of the importance of the goats for Gandhi meant that they were soon automatically provided. When Gandhi was put in Yaravada jail after passage of the Quit India resolution, Mira Behn's first concerns was for goats, but the jail superintendent showed her three tethered and waiting in jail.

Years earlier, during the talks with the viceroy, Lord Irvine, Mira Behn had gone to what is now Rashtrapati Bhavan with a container of goat's milk and the dates that Gandhi was eating then, and had to find a corner of the vast room the talks were happening in, to pour the milk over the dates and serve it to Gandhi.

Full Article


Joseph Deiss, President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, holds up a limited edition copy of “MKG – Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth & Ahisma” at an event commemorating the International Day of Non-Violence. The day is observed 2 October for the birthday of non-violence pioneer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi). Pictured with Mr. Deiss are Hardeep Singh Puri (left), Permanent Representative of India to the UN, and Birad Rajaram Yajnik, the book's author.
01 October 2010 United Nations, New York