NITIN MEHTA – citation for
ANNUAL AHIMSA AWARD 2011 at HOC – 12 October 2011
My Lords, MP’s, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As most of your may be aware, the United Nations has declared 2
ND October as The
International Ahimsa Day to honor Mahatma Gandhiji on his birthday. To celebrate the
occasion, the Institute of Jainology has been presenting the IOJ AHIMSA AWARDS for
the past few years at the House of Commons, to deserving personalities from around
the world.
Previously, the graceful recipients of this Award have been Dr Nelson Mandela from
South Africa, His Holiness The Dalai Lama from Tibet, the renowned Jain monk
Acharya Mahapragya from India, the distinguished Scholar Prof. Padmanabh S Jaini
from U.S.A. and last year Prof. Nalini Balbir from France.
This year, I am pleased and delighted to announce that the Board of the Institute of
Jainology, has unanimously proposed the name of a simple and humble, local hero,
NITIN MEHTA, to receive this year’s IOJ Annual Ahimsa Award, in recognition of his
splendid work for promoting vegetarianism and non-violence to animals.
Nitin Mehta, formed the Young Indian Vegetarians in 1978 and has tirelessly
championed the cause of Ahimsa through his consistent and dedicated multifarious
activities of compassion to animal life. He points us to statistics and research that show
that live-stock accounts for as much as 51% of greenhouse gases and hence a
significant cause of global warming. Almost 40% of grain in the world is being
consumed by the billions of animals we breed each year for slaughter. A major part of
the Brazilian rainforest has been bulldozed to make way for cattle ranches to feed the
carnivores. All this, Nitin believes, is such a wasteful way to feed the planet and it is
going to cause catastrophic environmental problems in the future. Through the Young
Indian Vegetarians their mission is to bring about a 21st century in which the human
race will finally make peace with the animal kingdom. All big ideas start small and Nitin
has been campaigning and trying to convince his local, Croydon Council to introduce
Meat Free Mondays in schools and local authority buildings. He has not yet achieved
success but he will and we all wish him all the success in his endeavor. Nitin also
actively supports animal sanctuaries with both his time and money.
Apart from promoting vegetarianism and animal rights, Nitin is a key figure in Croydon’s
Indian community and hugely active in borough life. In 1975 he founded the Indian
Cultural Centre in Thornton Heath which organized youth clubs and liaised with the
council on behalf of its members. Nitin spent 6 years as a governor at Croydon College,
has sat on the police consultative committee and was on the board of directors of
Compassion in world Farming. He also worked as a volunteer with Croydon’s foremost
homeless charity, Nightwatch and was a patron for Quaker Concern for animals.
In 1999, Nitin was awarded the MBE in the Queens’s birthday honors’ list and in 2002,
then Mayor of London Ken Livingston presented him with an award for making a
significant contribution to London. In 2006 he received the ‘Sanskar Garima’ award for
services to Gujarati language and Vegetarianism from Gujarat Samachar and Asian
Voice publications. In 2008 he was presented with the Glory of India award by the India
International Friendship Society for promoting Indian Culture in the UK. and in 2011 he
received an Award from the National Council of Gujarati Organisations. Nitin has also
written 3 books and runs his own motor spares business in Croydon.
With everything that I have said about Nitin, you will all agree that he does indeed stand
tall amongst us, his lofty ideals merit praise, his conviction raises admiration, his
modesty draws inspiration, his dedication deserves support and to carry on this path of
Ahimsa he very much deserves this IOJ Annual Ahimsa Award. May I now invite Lady
Dholakia to present this Award, on behalf of the IOJ and the global community to Nitin
Mehta.
Thank You.

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