H. Jay Dinshah

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Hom Jay Dinshah
Born November 2, 1933
Malaga, New Jersey, US
Died June 8, 2000(2000-06-08) (aged 66)
Malaga, New Jersey, US
Occupation Vegan Advocate, Social Reformer
Nationality American
Ethnicity Parsi Indian/German
Citizenship United States
Period 20th century
Genre philosophical, spiritual
Subject veganism, ahimsa
Literary movement vegan 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 awards Vegetarian Hall of Fame[1]
Spouse Freya Smith Dinshah
Children Daniel Dinshah, Anne Dinshah
Relatives Dinshah P. Ghadiali (Parsi, father, deceased);[2] Irene Grace Hoger Dinshah (German, mother, deceased); the siblings were: Cyrus Dinshah (eldest); Roshan Dinshah; Darius Dinshah, author of Let There Be Light, ISBN 0-933917-28-7, Pages: 128, Edition: 9, Hardcover, Dinshah Health Society; Jal Dinshah; Sarosh Ghadiali (deceased); Noshervan Dinshah (deceased);[3] Shireen Dinshah (sister, the youngest sibling)

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


H. Jay Dinshah was born in Malaga, New Jersey, USA. His father[4] was a US citizen of Parsi[5] ancestry who was born in India,[6][7] and his mother[8] was a US citizen of German ancestry. A lifelong vegetarian, Jay Dinshah became vegan in 1957.[9] He (age 23) and his younger brother Noshervan[3] (age 20) visited a Philadelphia slaughterhouse in 1957, after which he vowed to "work every day until all the slaughterhouses are closed!"[10][11] He married the English-born Freya Smith in 1960. They had two children, Anne and Daniel Dinshah.

In 2000, Dinshah died of a heart attack at age 66, after a life of service to helping animals by promoting veganism. The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) memorialized Jay Dinshah in their IVU News issue of October 2000[12] That same year, he was posthumously awarded the prestigious (among global or international vegetarians) Mankar Memorial Award [13] during the 2000 World Vegetarian Congress, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Jay Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society[14] early in 1960 and later that year (August) married the English-born Freya Smith. Freya, whose parents were active in The Vegan Society (of England), contributed to the early growth of the American Vegan Society and is 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 Jay 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 editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine (1960–2000).

Ahimsa was a quarterly publication that explored compassionate living ("Ahimsa" meaning "dynamic harmlessness") as a philosophy, practical aspects of vegan living, and personal and cultural resources for vegans. Ahimsa included vegan menus and recipes, and news about food. The American Vegan Society continues to publish a quarterly periodical, now titled American Vegan, with the motto "Ahimsa lights the way." The American Vegan Society is now led and managed by its president, Freya Dinshah, Jay Dinshah's widow, and advised by the AVS Council of Trustees, all of whom are vegans, and operated by a team of staff and volunteers.

The American Vegan Society "promotes, supports, and explores a compassionate, healthful, and sustainable lifestyle. The diet is plant-sourced, varied, and abundant. For ethical, health, environmental, and other reasons, (vegans) reject all animal products in food, clothing, and commodities, and the exploitation of animals for sport or entertainment. AVS is guided by the doctrines of Ahimsa (non-slaughter, non-violence) and Reverence for Life, and provides community and friendship to those following and learning about this way of living."[15]

Even as a teenager, Dinshah was a popular motivational speaker, following the example of his father, who promoted vegetarianism along with color therapy. Throughout his life, Dinshah continued to lecture extensively and to organize conferences advocating "positive veganism" as "dynamic harmlessness" ("Ahimsa" is derived from a Sanskrit term "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. Dinshah explained each in great detail in his book Out of the Jungle[17] 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] During conference planning, the ad hoc committee decided to found the North American Vegetarian Society and asked Dinshah to serve as its first president. Thus, a movement to found and develop modern vegetarian organizations in North America was born, tapping the energies, insights, and resources of parallel movements throughout Europe and India.

Positions held[edit]


  • 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. ^ Dinshah P. Ghadiali, Jay's father, published his work in 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.
  3. ^ a b "Noshervan Dinshah - Vineland, NJ - (1937 - 2010)". Death Data. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  4. ^ Dinshah P. Ghadiali (1873-1966) did work in '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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ American Vegan Society, The Life of a Karma Yogi, 1973
  7. ^ "Dinshah Health Society (DHS) Main Page". Dinshahhealth.org. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  8. ^ Irene Grace Hoger
  9. ^ Dinshah HJ, Song of India, 1973
  10. ^ Dinshah HJ, Song of India, 1973
  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. ^ "Vegetarians in Paradise/Freya Dinshah/American Vegan Society/24 Carrot Vegetarian Award". Vegparadise.com. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  15. ^ American Vegan, Vol. 13, No. 3, p. 33, Fall 2013
  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. ^ "IVU World Vegfest". Ivu.org. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  20. ^ Now known as the National Health Association

External links[edit]