Amteshwar Anand, mother of Maneka Gandhi

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2011:


Amteshwar Anand, 77, died on February 28, 2011, in New
Delhi. The daughter of Sir Sardar Datar Singh, Amteshwar Anand was
mother of People for Animals founder Maneka Gandhi and her almost
equally outspoken younger sister, longtime PfA director Ambika
Widowed at 44 by the 1977 death of her husband, Colonel T.S.
Anand, Amteshwar Anand spent the rest of her life working for
animals, joining her daughters in founding People for Animals in

“My mother was our main support and she built and managed all
of our animal shelters–the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, People
for Animals Sadhrana, Hanu-man Vatika, and now a new one we have
opened in Yusuf Sarai Delhi,” Maneka Gandhi remembered to ANIMAL
PEOPLE, “so that we could go forward and help everyone else. Her
birthday was on October 4th, World Animal Day,” Mrs. Gandhi noted.
Sir Sardar Datar Singh is remembered as founder of the first
modern dairy farm in India, and as first president of the Indian
Dairy Science Association, which he headed from 1948 to 1955 by
appointment of the first Indian prime minister, Pandit Jawarharlal
Nehru, ar recommendation of Mohandas Gandhi. Maneka Gandhi is noted
for militant vegan advocacy, including caustic criticism of the
dairy industry. But Amteshwar Anand in a 2008 interview with Indian
Dairyman argued that Mrs. Gandhi’s activity is a direct continuation
of her grandfather’s uppermost concerns.
“A story told about his feeling for animals recounts how as a
child, he threw a silver coin into the well because he wanted that
the fish should be cared for,” Amteshwar Anand remembered. “As head
of cattle utilization, he saw it as his duty to see that cattle were
not overlooked during famine.” During the 1949 Kutch famine and the
1952 Hisar famine, which threatened the stability of post-colonial
India, “He had trainloads of fodder sent into the famine areas and
got tanks dug to water the animals,” Amteshwar Anand continued. “He
understood the relevance of cattle to the national economy and was
driven both by compassion and practicality.”
Earlier, Amteshwar Anand said, “Their common interest in
cattle welfare drew him closer to [Mohandas] Gandhi ji, who came to
look upon him as a son. In 1946 at Gandhi’s request he came to Delhi
where Gandhi ji told him of the impending partition and requested him
to take charge of cattle utilization for the whole of India. But as
unhappy as he was then with disorganized dairies,” Amteshwar Anand
emphasized, “he would have been more troubled by today’s so-called
management of dairies, where there is a great deal of cruelty to the
animals. He would have been appalled at the lack of care for old and
dry cows and the increasing amount of illegal cow slaughter. Sir
Datar Singh would have been especially pleased to know that his
granddaughters have carried his work forward and that Maneka has made
a name for herself in the field of animal welfare internationally.
Although Sir Datar Singh was not vegetarian, he would have approved
of her campaign to promote cruelty-free alternatives in food.”
Mrs. Gandhi’s criticisms of the dairy industry have been
issued on behalf of cattle, Amteshwar Anand noted. “In Delhi it was
at Maneka’s instance that the government set up 8 gaushalas to take
in cows off the capital streets. She herself ran one of these
gaushalas that took in some 10,000 cows,” Amteshwar Anand reminded
Indian Dairyman readers.

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