Aneeha Patwardhan, Unsung Vegan Hero, 2016
Tribute by Vic Sjodin, Vegan Outreach
I love Aneeha’s endless passion and urgency for animal rights, and for sharing the beauty of veganism with others. She began her work after she came across a Vegan Outreach Facebook post that showed a young man who had gone vegan after getting a booklet. In typical fashion, she immediately ordered booklets of her own, which she and a friend then handed out during a march for animals in Pune, India. She has since helped organize leafleting and video outreach to the public nearly every weekend with local activists.
While still a busy engineering student, Aneeha is also a full-time activist and was the lead organizer for the Pune Vegan Festival which attracted 5,000 participants, one of the first such festivals in all of India. Aneeha is now one of the shining stars of the Federation of Animal Protection Organizations Living Free outreach initiative and, along with other Pune activists, sets the standard for grassroots advocacy in India.
Many people are bothered by an injustice, but not every teenager gets out there to be a catalyst and worker for change, without any recognition, just doing it for the love of justice and because it needs to be done. Aneeha does, and that is why she is an Unsung Vegan Hero. I am so glad her actions and example will empower and inspire many other young activists who hear of her efforts. I would like Aneeha to know how inspired I was by meeting her and to let her know that with efforts like hers, I am even more convinced we are sure to win. With people like Aneeha in our movement, I am firm in my belief that as long as we keep being active, educating, involving more people, the abuse of innocent animals will inevitably stop one day. Aneeha – thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the tormented, and for bringing us closer to that beautiful day of animal liberation.