Taste of Life: Vegetarian messengers and the ‘no three Fs’ diet plan


I’m sitting contained in the semi-circular corridor of the intense crimson, outdated constructing of the Connemara Public Library in Chennai one February morning, wishing that it was a bit cooler inside. The library employees has taken my reference receipts inside to get the books for me. Within the meantime, I’ve been craning my neck to get an eyeful of the intricate designs on the roof of the principle corridor. That a part of the outdated constructing is just not accessible to guests.

I’m there that day to learn the problems of “The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger”. The journal was began in 1861 by the Vegetarian Society which had its headquarters in Manchester. Established in 1847, the objects of the Society have been to “induce habits of abstinence from the Flesh of Animals as Meals, by the dissemination of data upon the topic, by the use of tracts, essays, and lectures, proving the various benefits of a bodily, mental, and ethical character, ensuing from Vegetarian habits of Weight loss program”.

The Society had a department in Calcutta which was run by Baboo Keshub Chandra Sen, one of the vital influential and outstanding social reformers in nineteenth century Bengal. In line with the September 1885 concern of “The Dietetic reformer”, a department was opened in Bombay that 12 months of which Mr Byramjee Panday was the chairman.

The journal makes an fascinating learn. Nearly all of the articles preach the virtues of a vegetarian eating regimen and urge the readers to abstain from three Fs – Fish, Flesh, and Fowl. A lot of the articles are argumentative, but eloquent.

Whereas I’m just a little overwhelmed by the large stack of magazines on my desk, in one of many points I discover some handwritten pamphlets and notes. All of them are signed as “JM Lane, Poona”. Some have dates on them, many don’t.

The primary pamphlet bears the date 23/8/1885. It says – “In the course of the previous twelve months 4 – totally Vegetarian eating places – have been opened in London, and no less than three different eating – rooms have undertaken to offer Vegetarian meals. Manchester has seen the institution of two new eating places, and one has opened in Leeds. I urge the members to start out a Vegetarian restaurant every in Bombay, Poona and Mahabaleshwar.”

This pamphlet appears to be meant for personal circulation of an organisation, as a result of it’s clearly addressed to “members”, maybe of the “Vegetarian Society”.

One other fascinating pamphlet was in all probability written to convey a call taken collectively in a gathering, or by Mr Lane himself – “A Vegetarian badge, for which many associates have been so anxiously ready, has been determined upon within the type of a slender silk ribbon, with a crimson heart, slender gold traces on both facet and blue margins. This badge could also be worn by all Vegetarians, its signification being merely that the wearer is an abstainer from fish, flesh, and fowl. By the final use of this badge, particularly at festivals and conferences, Vegetarian associates will be capable of recognise one another, whereas it’s going to ceaselessly afford a superb alternative for introducing the topic to the discover of others.” It’s neither dated nor addressed to anybody particularly.

The opposite pamphlets have appeals to give you modern vegetarian recipes, to evangelise vegetarianism through the Sunday mass, to satisfy medical practitioners and promote them on the concept of giving up meat, to go to hospitals and clarify to the sufferers the advantages of a plant-based eating regimen. Then there are a few notes which request the “presence of members on the residence of JM Lane in Civil Strains, Wanowrie” on sure Wednesday evenings from 1891 to 1893.

“The Dietetic Reformer” mentions in August 1885 that Lane printed “a helpful pamphlet in Poona”. There aren’t any different mentions of him or town once more within the journal. Because of this Lane was affiliated with the Vegetarian Society from Manchester. However, did he begin a department in Poona, or was he related to the one in Bombay? In what capability did he convene conferences at his residence in Poona?

I dig just a little within the hope that I discover solutions and are available throughout a report printed in “The Bombay Gazette” on September 10, 1891. On September 6, Sunday, a gathering was held in Church Gate Road, Bombay. One Mr Gostling took the chair. In his opening tackle, he talked about that he had private expertise of the benefits of pure residing, which had cured him of the persistent dyspepsia from which he had suffered for over twelve years. Dr Daji then moved the decision referring to the formation of a “Vegetarian Society”. He stated that the Vegetarian Society at Manchester had repeatedly requested their associates in Bombay to type an identical organisation in Bombay “that might discover work to do in educating the native vegetarians within the land within the physiology of digestion and the chemistry of meals”.

The chairman then declared that the society could be referred to as “The Pure Dwelling Vegetarian Society”, in order to “guard towards the misperception that vegetarians needed to reside upon greens alone”.

The report ends with a quote from Gostling – “The admirers of British rule weren’t proper in attributing the success of the British Military to their consuming beef for the reason that poor Irishmen and Scotch males who type the majority of the military have been introduced up from childhood on potatoes and oatmeal respectively.”

This report means that the department of the Vegetarian Society opened in 1885 in Bombay was short-lived and that one other was began in 1891.

What pursuits me is the revelation that the final quote by Gostling is replicated verbatim in one of many notes written in Lane’s handwriting. Because of this he was both current on the assembly in Bombay, or he copied it from the newspaper to make use of it later.

Lane and his pamphlets have remained a thriller to me after I first noticed them three years in the past. How the pamphlets ended up within the Chennai library, is one other query. He in all probability shifted there from Poona. Or the pamphlets have been introduced there by one other member of the Vegetarian Society. I’ve discovered no point out of Lane within the newspapers or magazines printed from London, Manchester, Bombay, Poona, and Madras. But his pamphlets inform us that he saved championing the reason for vegetarianism until 1893 no less than.

I hope to search out out extra about JM Lane sometime.