London: A campaign for installing a blue
plaque at the site of a former restaurant here where Mahatma
Gandhi was inspired to adopt vegetarianism has been launched
by the India Media Centre at the University of Westminster.
The venue, 16 St Brides Street, London EC4, is where
Gandhi first decided to commit to vegetarianism, after reading
a copy of "A Plea for Vegetarianism by H S Salt"? which
Gandhi had stated that it directly inspired him to adopt
"vegetarianism from principle."
This discovery was found after reading some interviews
with Gandhi in The Vegetarian Society (from 1891), which show
incredible insight into the young man’s beliefs and values.
Researchers from the University of Westminster want
the City of London Corporation to agree to a plaque being
placed outside the building.
The restaurant is said to have been a focal point of
the vegetarian movement in Victorian London, frequented by
leading figures of the day including playwright George Bernard
A spokesperson for the India Media Centre said:
"Passers-by would be none the wiser as to the building`s
historical significance or of its importance to the
international icon who once dined there, a perception that the
India Media Centre aims to overturn."
The City of London`s blue plaques differ from English
Heritage`s in that they are rectangular rather than oval and a
darker shade of blue.
Upon his departure for England, Gandhi said: "I was
overwhelmed with gratuitous advice. Well meaning yet ignorant
friends thrust their opinions into unwilling ears. The
majority of them said I could not do without meat in the cold
"I would catch consumption? Others said I might do
without flesh but without wine I could not move. I would be
numbed with cold. One went so far as to advise me to take
eight bottles of whiskey for I should want them after leaving
Aden. Another wanted me to smoke, for his friend was obliged
to smoke in England.
"Even medical men, those who had been to England said
the same tale. But as I wanted to come at any price, I replied
I would try my best to avoid all these things, but if they
were found to be absolutely necessary I did not know what I
should do," the release said.