H. Jay Dinshah

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Hom Jay Dinshah
H. Jay Dinshah in 1964
H. Jay Dinshah in 1964
BornNovember 2, 1933
Malaga, New Jersey, US
DiedJune 8, 2000(2000-06-08) (aged 66)
Malaga, New Jersey, US
OccupationVegan advocate, social reformer
Period20th century
GenrePhilosophical, spiritual, vegan advocacy, social reform
SubjectVeganism, ahimsa
Literary movementVegan movement
Notable works
  • Out of the Jungle, 1967, 1995;
  • Here's Harmlessness, 1964, 1993 - (an anthology edited by Jay Dinshah);
  • Health Can be Harmless;
  • Song of India;
  • Numerous magazine articles (>250) and other writings
Notable awardsVegetarian Hall of Fame[1]
SpouseFreya Smith Dinshah
RelativesDinshah P. Ghadiali (father)

Hom Jay Dinshah (November 2, 1933 – June 8, 2000) was an American veganism activist and natural hygiene proponent who was the founder and president of the American Vegan Society and the editor of its publication the Ahimsa magazine (1960–2000).


H. Jay Dinshah was born in the Malaga section of Franklin Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States, where he lived his entire life.[2] His father was a US citizen of Parsi ancestry who was born in India, and his mother was a US citizen of German ancestry.[3][4][5][6][7] A lifelong vegetarian, Dinshah became vegan in 1957.[8][9] He and his younger brother Noshervan—then aged 23 and 20 respectively—visited a Philadelphia slaughterhouse in 1957, after which he vowed to "work every day until all the slaughterhouses are closed!"[10][8][11] He married the English-born Freya Smith in 1960. They had two children, Daniel Dinshah and author and athlete Anne Dinshah.

In 2000, Dinshah died of a heart attack at age 66, after a life of promoting veganism and the ethic of ahimsa, dynamic harmlessness. The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) memorialized Dinshah in their IVU News issue of October 2000.[12] That same year, he was posthumously awarded the Mankar Memorial Award during the 2000 World Vegetarian Congress, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[13][14]

Vegan activism[edit]

Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society early in 1960, and later that year (August) married the English-born Freya Smith.[15] Freya, whose parents were active in The Vegan Society (of Great Britain), contributed to the early growth of the American Vegan Society and is the president of the American Vegan Society today. The American Vegan Society is headquartered at Malaga, New Jersey, on a parcel of land which is called "SunCrest", or "the SunCrest Educreational Center". During Dinshah's life, the American Vegan Society was characterized by vegan publishing and outreach, annual vegan conferences, vegan archiving, spiritual inspiration, providing people with an experience of vegan living, vegan food-preparation demonstrations, maintenance of a small veganic garden, and extensive networking. Dinshah served the American Vegan Society as its president and as the editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine (1960–2000).

As a teenager, Dinshah was a motivational speaker, following the example of his father, who promoted vegetarianism along with color therapy. Throughout his life, Dinshah continued to lecture and to organize conferences advocating "positive veganism" as "dynamic harmlessness" ("Ahimsa" is derived from a Sanskrit term meaning "non-harming").

Dinshah's lectures, organized by American Vegan Society, included: 1961 "Coast to Coast Crusade" for Veganism across North America; 1965 "North Atlantic Lecture Tour" in Iceland, Britain, Europe; 1967-1968 "Round the World" Lecture Tour including four months of lectures in India.[16]

Through these efforts, Dinshah lectured to general audiences in 19 different nations, on five continents, about veganism and ahimsa. Although Dinshah would lecture in English, local multilingual vegetarians interpreted his talks for each audience. Some videos of Jay's lectures from the 1980s and 1990s are archived and can be viewed on the YouTube channel Powerful Vegan Messages.

Crediting the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer, Dinshah created and promoted the Pillars of Ahimsa, one for each letter of the word: A-H-I-M-S-A.[17] Dinshah explained each in his book Out of the Jungle.

  • A-Abstinence from Animal Products;
  • H-Harmlessness with Reverence for Life (from Schweitzer);
  • I-Integrity of Thought, Word, and Deed;
  • M-Mastery over Oneself (against greed, envy, and materialism; instead focus on enlightenment);
  • S-Service to Humanity, Nature, and Creation (3 main draws to veganism: health, environment, and animals; devotion to improving the world);
  • A-Advancement of Understanding and Truth (applying Gandhian principles of Truth)

Dinshah was co-organizer of the 23rd World Vegetarian Congress in 1975, which was held in Orono, Maine, sponsored by the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), and hosted by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), which continental organization he and other vegetarians founded to organize this international conference.[18][11][19] During conference planning, the ad hoc committee decided to found the North American Vegetarian Society and asked Dinshah to serve as its first president.

Dinshah's birthday, November 2, has been designated as Dynamic Harmlessness Day[20][21][22][23] and is the day following World Vegan Day (November 1).

Natural hygiene[edit]

Dinshah was an advocate of orthopathy (natural hygiene).[24] He was a board member of the American Natural Hygiene Society and corresponded with Herbert M. Shelton. In 1961, Dinshah attended the American Natural Hygiene Society's Convention in Chicago which featured a display of vegan clothing.[24]

Positions held[edit]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Induction, Vegetarian Hall of Fame (North American Vegetarian Society)[27]


  • Powerful Vegan Messages, 2014 posthumously coauthored with his daughter Anne Dinshah
  • Here's Harmlessness, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1993 (an anthology edited by Jay Dinshah)
  • Out of the Jungle, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1975 (Schweitzer Centennial Edition), 1995
  • Health Can Be Harmless, 1968, 1987
  • Song of India, 1973
  • Numerous (>250) magazine articles and other writings


  1. ^ "NAVS | North American Vegetarian Society". Navs-online.org. 2015-12-21. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  2. ^ Hagenmayer, S. Joseph. "Jay Dinshah, 66, American Vegan Society Leader", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 15, 2000, copied at International Vegetarian Union. Accessed May 25, 2017. "H. Jay Dinshah, 66, who as the leader of the American Vegan Society was an advocate for life without violence toward animals or humans, died on June 8, apparently from a heart attack while working in his office in Malaga, New Jersey.... A lifelong Malaga resident, Mr. Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society in 1960 and was its president for 40 years."
  3. ^ Dinshah P. Ghadiali (1873-1966) was vilified as a quack and independent politician who espoused the curative effects of 'color therapy' and was known "the Parsi Edison"; the family took his forename 'Dinshah' as their surname during the 1950s; one son, Sarosh Ghadiali, did not follow this pattern.
  4. ^ A Parsi or Parsee /ˈpɑrsiː/ is a member of one of the two Zoroastrian communities found throughout South Asia. They are legally and ethnically distinct from the Iranis, even though both groups descend from Persian Zoroastrians.
  5. ^ American Vegan Society, The Life of a Karma Yogi, 1973
  6. ^ "Dinshah Health Society (DHS) Main Page". Dinshahhealth.org. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  7. ^ Irene Grace Hoger
  8. ^ a b Dinshah HJ, Song of India, 1973
  9. ^ Interview of Freya Dinshah on winning 24 Carrot Award. Vegetarians in Paradise website
  10. ^ "Noshervan Dinshah - Vineland, NJ - (1937 - 2010)". Death Data. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  11. ^ a b c Dinshah HJ, Dinshah A, Powerful Vegan Messages, 2014
  12. ^ "International vegetarian Union - Jay Dinshah, 66, American Vegan Society Leader". Ivu.org. 2000-06-15. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  13. ^ "International Vegetarian Union - The Mankar Trophy". Ivu.org. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  14. ^ IVU profile page for Jay Dinshah, who had been an IVU Council Member
  15. ^ "Vegetarians in Paradise/Freya Dinshah/American Vegan Society/24 Carrot Vegetarian Award". Vegparadise.com. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  16. ^ Dinshah, HJ (1973). Song of India.
  17. ^ Dinshah, HJ (1995) [1967]. Out of the Jungle.
  18. ^ At that time, only five vegetarian societies were known to exist in the USA: Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC (the oldest). Representatives from these five vegetarian organizations were joined with representatives from Montreal and Toronto in Canada. Helen and Scott Nearing of The Social Science Institute in Harborside, Maine, proposed the conference site in Orono, Maine.
  19. ^ "23rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1975 Orono, Maine, USA". Ivu.org. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  20. ^ "Dynamic Harmlessness Day". Archived from the original on 2018-12-30. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  21. ^ Dynamic Harmlessness Day
  22. ^ Daughter Anne Dinshah presenting talk about Dynamic Harmlessness Day
  23. ^ "Archived American Vegan Society page for Dynamic Harmlessness Day". Archived from the original on 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  24. ^ a b Iacobbo, Karen; Iacobbo, Michael. (2004). Vegetarian America: A History. Praeger. pp. 167-168. ISBN 0-275-97519-3
  25. ^ "IVU World Vegfest". Ivu.org. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  26. ^ Now known as the National Health Association
  27. ^ Inductees, Vegetarian Hall of Fame, North American Vegetarian Society website

External links[edit]