(In the course of a letter from Coonoor, dated 26-7-1929, addressed to Gandhiji in connection with his experiments in dietetics, Dr. R. McCarriso had written as follows: )
“One of the great fault in Indian diets
are at the present day is their deficiency in vitamin A, in suitable
protein and in certain salts; and the greatest nutritional need of India
is the freer use of good milk and its products which supply these
factors. There can be no doubt in the minds of those of us who have
devoted a life time to the study of nutrition that milk is one of the
greatest blessings given to mankind. And to one like myself, whose work
is to learn the truth and spread it, the scarcity of this food in India
and the lack of appreciation of its value are matters of grave concern.
Do not, I beg of you, decry it; for a pint of milk a day will do more
for Young India than most things I wot of. It is, for example, to
deficiency of vitamin A that we owe so much disease of the bowels and
lungs, so much disease to the bladder (such as ‘stone’ ) and so much
anaemia in this country.
I am glad you are interesting yourself in
the matter of food and I agree with much that you say. But let me assure
you that a little more ‘fortissimo’ on the ‘milk’ and milk products
theme’ will do great good when you are leading the orchestra of Truth.
P. S. when next you make an Andhra tour,
avoid “the extreme weakness”, which overtook you in your last one, by
taking a pint of milk a day!
(Commenting on Dr. McCarrison’s letter
Gandhiji wrote as under: )
I publish this letter thankfully and wish
that other men versed in medical science would also guide me. In making
the experiment, I may trying to find out the truth about food in so far
as it is possible for a layman to do so.
As for Dr. McCarrison’s argument about the
necessity of animal food. I dare not as a layman combat it, but I may
state that there are medical men who are decidedly of opinion that
animal food including milk is not instinct and upbringing I personally
favour a purely vegetarian diet, and have for years been experimenting
in finding a suitable vegetarian combination. But there is no danger of
my decrying mild until I have obtained overwhelming evidence in support
of milk less diet. It is one of many in consistencies of my life that
whilst I am in my own person avoiding milk, I am conducting a model
dairy which is already producing cow’s milk that can successfully
compete with any such milk produced in India in purity and fat content.
Notwithstanding Dr. McCoarrion’s claim for
medical science I submit that science I submit that scientist have not
yet explored the hidden possibilities of the innumerable seeds, leaves
and fruits for giving the fullest possible nutrition to mankind. For one
thing the tremendous vested interests that have grown round the belief
in animal food prevent the medical profession from approaching the
question with complete detachment. It almost seems to me that it is
reserved for lay enthusiasts to cut their way through a mountain of
difficulties even at the risk of their lives to find the truth. I should
be satisfied if scientists would lend their assistance to such humble