India's poster boy for vegetarianism – he's just fathered a child at 96

 

The world's oldest father has been recruited by activists in India who maintain lifelong vegetarians retain their "vigour" better than others.

Ramajit Raghav, who shot to celebrity two years ago at the age of 94 when he first became a father, features in a new campaign by for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) India.

A photograph of Mr Raghav, who recently fathered his second child, Ranjit, at the age of 96, shows him cradling the baby with the headline "Vegetarians Still Got It at Age 96".

"I have been a vegetarian all my life, and I credit my stamina and virility to my diet," said the elderly father from the state of Haryana. "Being a vegetarian is the secret to my strength and good health."

Peta claims living a vegetarian life makes perfect sense and that India is increasingly seeing problems associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which it says are associated with a meat-eating diet.

"And since each vegetarian saves the lives of more than 100 animals a year, their consciences are lighter, too," it said. "Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs may get you through the night, but a vegetarian diet can get you through your life. Numerous physicians agree that the best way to prevent artery blockage and other conditions that cause impotence is to eat a diet high in fibre, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

When he was interviewed last month by The Times of India, Mr Raghav revealed he had been a bachelor until meeting his wife, Shakuntala Devi, ten years ago.

He has been a strict vegetarian and has never drank alcohol. Instead, his diet is made up of fresh milk, clarified butter, vegetables and chapattis.

"I wake up at five in the morning and go to bed before 8pm. During the day, I work in the fields and also take an afternoon nap," he said.

Raghav was part of a list of elderly achievers written by The Independent last year.

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