Forty Years Ago, April 23, 1979: Vinoba Fasts

The Indian Express’ front page on April 23, 1979

Acharya Vinoba Bhave began his fast unto death at 8 am after the "Sarva Dharma" (all religion) prayer to secure a total ban on cow slaughter in the country. In his five-minute speech after the prayer, the Acharya said that " I have nothing to add to what I have said already" and asked others, including the ashramites, not to fast beyond one day. He was informed earlier that many people in the country had expressed their desire to undertake indefinite fast with him. The Acharya said: "God will save the cow, but we have also a duty towards the cow whose milk we drink." He hoped that people from across the country would work for the total ban.

Indira's Speech

The highlights of the AICC session were the passing of three resolutions - on the economic, communal and international situation - and a speech made by Mrs Indira Gandhi at the end of the two-day session, Mrs Gandhi said this was not the time for talking, but for action - to release the energy of the Congress. The party would stand up to all kinds of oppression - false cases, firing, imprisonment and so on - and it would win. And it would save the country from the "dark clouds" which had now enveloped it. She urged all to join the Congress (I ) mass rally in Delhi on May 16 which is being organised against the "anti-people" policies of the Janata government.

Dhaka Food Shortage

The delay in US food supplies to Bangladesh this year - western diplomats discourage the use of the word "embargo" - because of differences on the manner in which such aid was utilised by Dacca last year, combined with a shortfall in food production and poor procurement, is leading to a food crisis on a magnitude that could well threaten the stability of President Ziaur Rehman's rule. Starvation point could well be reached in June and July unless food supplies are urgently rushed to Bangladesh. Zia's political rivals may use the crisis as an opportunity.