This Blog revolves around the book – MKG – Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth & Ahimsa and how Learnings from the Mahatma can cause positive change in the 21st century; the book is a pictorial representation of the life and message of the Mahatma, covering major milestones which influenced his philosophy, political awakening and his concept of Ahimsa in a concise illustrative format. An attempt has been made to portray the man behind the Mahatma to provide inspiration to today’s generation.


www.peacetruthahimsa.com
provides a comprehensive view of all our work
on Mahatma Gandhi around the world.

MKG book released at the United Nations

1st October 2010 - A special edition of the book – MKG –Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa was released by the President of the General Assemble of the United Nations. The release was marked with attendance from Ambassadors from over 50 nations and was the official UN event marking the International Day of Non-Violence.

UN Story Link

Thursday, October 7, 2010

DNA of Peace


As I join the band of authors and peace advocates that wish to spread the Learnings from the life of Gandhi and his message of peace … I was asked if I was related to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I am of Indian origin, my father comes from the State of Gujarat the home state of Gandhi, and I can speak a sprinkling of Gujarati and read a few alphabets …. I am sure if I dig deep enough in my family tree I would find the connection … or maybe I can just sit back and seek refuge in the theory of – Six degrees of Separation, that all humans are connected to the other within 6 links of association.


So the question is ….Am I ? Do I share a part of MKG’s DNA ? the answer is yes and so does the entire Human race.

We all share 99.9% of our DNA

It should be called the DNA of Peace.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Metropolitan Museum of Art, MKG and Ikebana



2nd October 2010, Saturday evening the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was witness to a synergy of Art, Truth and Peace. A tribute was being paid to a Simple man who caused nations to move with a weapon of Ahimsa – non violence.

October 2nd the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – The International Day of Non Violence was a befitting day when an expression of Ikebana (the Japanese form of Flower arrangement) met the life of the Mahatma.

In a series of Ikebana arrangements that took inspiration from the book – MKG – Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa by Birad Rajaram Yajnik, the guests at the Patrons lounge at the Met were indulged with pages of the books juxtaposed with moments of truth.

The book, an expression of Art on the Simple man is a pictorial representation of the life and message of the Mahatma. A fine art book with over 200 images that runs a timeline covering major milestones which influenced his philosophy, political awakening and his concept of Ahimsa in a concise illustrative format.

With over 200 images on 325 pages printed on wood free paper with advanced reprographic techniques, hand bound in silk and titled with stainless steel, packaged in a pinewood case, each copy numbered and certified, it would be safe to say it’s the most exquisite book printed on the Mahatma till date.


The Ikebana arrangements expressed the key moments in Gandhi’s life were created by Seiryu Deepti Yajnik a 3rd term Masters from the Ohara school of Ikebana.

DANDI
The Dandi Salt March, showcasing the simplicity and originality of Gandhiji, through the medium of this simple freestyle Ikebana arrangement.

MATISBURG
This freestyle Ikebana arrangement based on the rimpa style is symbolic of Gandhiji’s initiation towards a political thought process. The black containers signify the train at Matisburg South Africa. The flower ‘Protea’ is a South African flower and the red ficus leaves signify the birth of a fiery political thought process.

SATYAGRAHA
When the Mahatma fasted the world held its breath, this was the power of Satyagraha. The white material signifies Gandhiji in a fast.

PEACE, TRUTH AND AHIMSA.
White flowers for Peace and Truth, Red flowers for Ahimsa signifying the three core principals of Mahatma Gandhi.

BAA AND BAPU
This Ikebana arrangement, Hana-Mai translates into “Dancing Flowers” which represent the harmony, support and strength provided by Baa – Kasturba to her husband – Gandhiji.


The audience was an eclectic mix of New York residents and invitees from parts of the US. Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri , Deputy permanent representative of the permanent mission of India to the UN, and the Indian Union minister for Power Shri Sushilkumar Shinde graced the occasion.

Earlier on Friday Afternoon in an exceptional ceremony, a special edition of the book – MKG – Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa was released by the President of the General Assemble of the United Nations. The release was marked with attendance from Ambassadors from over 50 nations and was the official UN event marking the International Day of non Violence.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Special Edition - MKG at the United Nations

Release of the Special Edition - MKG -Mahatma Gandhi - Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa at the United Nations on the 1st of October 2010 to commemorate the International Day of Non Violence.


Left to right - Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet of the UN Secretary General, H.E. Ambassador H.S. Puri, Permanent Representative of India, Author and Publisher Birad Rajaram Yajnik, The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr Joseph Deiss. at the United Nations

Link to UN story 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MKG as an Entrepreneur


Roshan D’suza and Hari Chava from the Indian School of Business www.isb.edu visited me last Sunday; they are a part of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. We met to share my thoughts on entrepreneurship and journey so far as they plan to publish this interview in their newsletter. We explored, discussed and shared for over 90 minutes.

One question got me thinking and I wished to share the same:

Roshan : If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Birad: Mahatma Gandhi is one person who has influenced me through his story. My latest book is a pictorial journey of his life. One thing that struck me about MKG was that he would have made a great entrepreneur, thankfully for all of us; he realized he had greater things to achieve.

Why MKG would have made a great entrepreneur:

1. He was a phenomenal brand manager: Observe any picture of his and you would see only one man without a shirt standing in the midst of clothed people. In 1930 he moved 300 Million people towards a single goal of Swaraj; very few people have had such an impact on such a large number of people.
2. He was an extremely smart negotiator: He used the conscience of his opponent as an ally; however you can do that only if you are morally right.
3. He was an excellent strategist: He knew how to derive optimum benefit out of a situation and leveraged that to the maximum benefit of society.
4. His capacity to raise funds was legendary.
5. His ethics can be lessons in management.
6. His style of communication was simple and effective
7. His perseverance to a goal was unshakable.
8. Failure was never a deterrent for him.
9. His ability to delegate the right job to the right people.

His life is a must read for every budding entrepreneur.

Point number 8 – Failure was never a deterrent is significant; the fear of failure is the single largest reason why most of the graduating students around the world avoid becoming entrepreneurs, we all grow up in a society that looks down upon failure, its time we explore the success of failure as it’s usually the reason behind Success.



……. Get this t-shirt … if I recall an ISB alumina 2010 is an entrepreneur and in the business of branded clothing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Satyagraha an opera


Satyagraha is an opera in three acts for orchestra, chorus and soloists, composed by Philip Glass, with a libretto by Glass and Constance de Jong. The opera is loosely based on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, and is the second part of Glass's "Portrait Trilogy" of operas about men who changed the world, which also includes Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten. Philip Glass's style can broadly be described as minimalist, but the music in Satyagraha is somewhat more expansive than is implied by that label.

The title of the opera refers to Gandhi's concept of non-violent resistance to injustice, Satyagraha, and the text, from the Bhagavad Gita, is sung in the original Sanskrit.

Satyagraha was commissioned by the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, and was first performed at the Stadsschouwburg (Municipal Theatre) there on September 5, 1980 by the Netherlands Opera and the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Keene.

Philip Glass website

A review from The Sunday times
A mere 27 years after its world premiere in Rotterdam, Philip Glass’s Gandhi opera Satyagraha has finally been staged in London. It has taken the sixtieth anniversary of Indian independence, a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and substantial support from Sky Arts (which dedicates an evening to Glass next Saturday) to bring it about. On the first night, standing ovations greeted the 70-year-old composer as he took his bow.
Full review

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Making time for a Child is Paramount


During my recent visit to Gandhi Smriti (Birla House) in Delhi, I had the good fortune to meet with Gandhiji’s grand daughter – Srimati Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, she is the daughter of Devadas Gandhi, the Mahatma’s youngest son.

Her recollection of Gandhiji’s interaction when she was just 8, while Sir Stanford Cripps, British statesman, who had arrived in to India for talks on Indian Independence waited exemplifies the fact that Gandhiji believed that time spent interacting with children was paramount, all other things could wait.

A scene in the film Gandhi also demonstrates this quality of the Mahatma, when Pandit Nehru and other Indian leaders wait while Gandhiji heads of to the river bank to assist a young girl in applying a mud pack to a lamb.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

MKG @ Shanghai Art Fair 2010



The Shanghai Art Fair a part of the Shanghai International Art Festival will open in China on the 8th of September 2010. A large bronze sculptor of MGK by the famous Australian sculptor Cherina will be exhibited in front of the of the northern gate of ShanghaiMART

Reports say “MKG blesses the Shanghai Art Fair, a beautiful and harmonious "art carnival", and Shanghai Art Fair makes holy salutation to this great figure that changed the world.”

The sculptor is 2.2m high and weighs One ton

Cherina has used the Roden touch in modelling, creating only with his thumb and fingers, no tools. Minimizing the physical elements of expression by putting accent on muscles rather than bones, he has simplified the head-form to the maximum and extorted facial expression thereby giving it life to the Sculptor. The result is a historic work of fine art, sculpture.

Cherina expressed that it was difficult task to come up with unique and original idea of expressing greatness, kindness, philosophy, humanity and great many other virtues that Gandhi had; in one work of art, sculpture, but he hopes that the physical expression of Mahatma Gandhi can be transferred into psychological portrait of the Man.

The website of Cherina

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Nobel Peace prize of 1948

MKG was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – 5 times - 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and 1948. I am sure a lot of us wonder why he never won. Or maybe he did ….. The article “Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate” by Øyvind Tønnesson, Peace Editor at Nobel Prize from 1998-2000 provides some insight.



A except from the article

Why Was Gandhi Never Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Up to 1960, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans. In retrospect, the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee may seem too narrow. Gandhi was very different from earlier Laureates. He was no real politician or proponent of international law, not primarily a humanitarian relief worker and not an organiser of international peace congresses. He would have belonged to a new breed of Laureates.

There is no hint in the archives that the Norwegian Nobel Committee ever took into consideration the possibility of an adverse British reaction to an award to Gandhi. Thus it seems that the hypothesis that the Committee's omission of Gandhi was due to its members' not wanting to provoke British authorities, may be rejected.

In 1947 the conflict between India and Pakistan and Gandhi's prayer-meeting statement, which made people wonder whether he was about to abandon his consistent pacifism, seem to have been the primary reasons why he was not selected by the committee's majority. Unlike the situation today, there was no tradition for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to try to use the Peace Prize as a stimulus for peaceful settlement of regional conflicts.

During the last months of his life, Gandhi worked hard to end the violence between Hindus and Muslims which followed the partition of India. We know little about the Norwegian Nobel Committee's discussions on Gandhi's candidature in 1948 – other than the above quoted entry of November 18 in Gunnar Jahn's diary – but it seems clear that they seriously considered a posthumous award. When the committee, for formal reasons, ended up not making such an award, they decided to reserve the prize, and then, one year later, not to spend the prize money for 1948 at all. What many thought should have been Mahatma Gandhi's place on the list of Laureates was silently but respectfully left open.

1 December 1999


The full article is available at :

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/articles/gandhi/

Sunday, July 25, 2010

NINE HOURS TO RAMA


An email has been going around claiming this photo captured the assassination of the Mahatma, it’s actually a still from the movie - NINE HOURS TO RAMA - released in 1963.In 1964 it was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award Best British Cinematography.




Horst Buchholz played Nathuram Godse.


"Nine hours to Rama" depicts the life of Nathuram Godse the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. How Godse planned the assassination is shown in the film. How he became a Hindu activist who blamed Gandhi for the killings of thousands of Hindus by Muslims is revealed in a series of flashbacks

Director:Mark Robson
Writers:Nelson Gidding (writer)
Stanley Wolpert (book)

Release Date:
USA 3 April 1963 (New York City, New York)
West Germany 30 April 1963
Sweden 27 May 1963
France 7 June 1963
Denmark 4 September 1963
Finland 25 October 1963

The film was apparently banned in India; this is not confirmed and needs to be verified.

The moment of assassination from the film can be viewed in the clip below





Thursday, July 15, 2010

Perseverance of Mahatma Gandhi

In 1947 Mahatma Gandhi carried a nation of 300 million people - India to independence; this video is an attempt to provide perspective to the effort and achievement of this simple man that we made the Mahatma.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mohandas and Herman

A friendship that created Tolstoy farm near Johannesburg, South Africa. A friendship that proved to be a catalyst to evolve SATYAGRAHA and create change in this world.

I hope we all remember Tolstoy farm and keep the evolution process of SATYAGRAHA on …..


Top photo: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi with his good friend Herman Kallenbach at the Tolstoy farm in 1910.
Bottom photo: 30th May 2010 - A hundred years later Ela Gandhi the grand daughter of Gandhiji along with her nieces Kirti and Uma and Charles Kallenbach the nephew of Herman Kallenbach ( the architect friend of Gandhiji who purchased the land so that the Tolstoy farm could be setup) along with his family was reminisce to the friendship that started Tolstoy farm a 100 years ago.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nelson Mandela – A Room Away


During my visit to South Africa I had the pleasure of visiting the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg; I was carrying a special gift for Mr Mandela– a personalised copy of the MKG book.

Although I had been told earlier that Madiba would not be available to receive the gift in person, I could leave it for him at the end of the meeting and it would be delivered. I had a feeing that I may get an opportunity to see the great man in spirit.



Waiting in the reception for my 3pm meeting, I could suddenly feel a certain energy in the air, people where walking around with a quicker pace and whispering with a smile. I was not sure what was happening, but the excitement was in the air.

Then my host Verne came up to me and apologised that our meeting had to be delayed as Madiba had just come into the office and was in the next room as he had to attend to some urgent paperwork.

I was happy to wait and crossed my fingers, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man… a few minutes later Verne came out and got me for our meeting, needless to say I only saw Madiba in spirit, the energy that surrounds him, extruded through the walls ….I am sure Sheryl Manchisi, my accomplice in the excitement, her meeting was also delayed would agree with me !!!! A date to remember - 26th May 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Letters of the MAHATMA


“I have always been fascinated with the life of Mahatma Gandhi and have purchased his letters three times, which were auctioned at Sotheby’s and returned them to the Indian Government. Mahatma Gandhi is an inspiration to the world. He was not only Indian but a citizen of the world and will be remembered for thousands of years. India is indeed grateful to him lighting the first candle of freedom in South Africa which inspired other leaders to fight for independence.”

Sir Gulam Noon


Sir Gulam Noon was kind enough to share these important letters with us and they are published in the MKG - Limited Edition book.



President Pratibha Patil examines a collection of letters, written by Mahatma Gandhi, presented to her by Sir Gulam Noon (left) and Professor Nat Puri at the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday October 29th 2009

A newspaper story that appeared in The Hindu:

Gandhi memorabilia: khadi cloth, communal tensions and humour by Vidya Subrahmaniam
A selection of letters written and received by Mahatma Gandhi, and a piece of khadi spun by him and signed by, besides the Mahatma himself, Sarojini Naidu and Gandhiji’s private secretary Pyare Lal, were among the memorabilia presented on Wednesday to President Pratibha Patil by Curry King Sir Ghulam Noon and NRI entrepreneur Nathu Ram Puri.
The letters were sold by the London auction house Sotheby’s on July 14, 2009 for a total of £ 17,500, and Ms. Patil received them at a simple function in the Indian High Commission here. In a voice choked with emotion, Mr. Puri said he felt privileged to have been able to secure the letters.
The items were sold in three lots. Included in the first were three autographed letters to Maulana Abdul Bari (1878-1926), an Islamic scholar, leading figure in the Khilafat movement and close friend of the Mahatma. The purple-bordered khadi cloth, signed by the Mahatma in Gujarati, came in the second lot. The khadi piece was a gift from Gandhiji to South-African born actor Moira Lister, and was sold at an estimated price of £ 2,000-2,500. The third lot contained two autographed postcards addressed to Urdu poet Hamidullah Afsar.
The letters to Maulana Bari reflect the tensions of the time, and contain many references to Hindu-Muslim relations. In one of the letters, the Mahatma expresses gratitude for the gift of cotton for spinning. In a second letter, he thanks Maulana Bari for his mohabbat bhari khat (letter of overflowing love) and hopes the two can continue to have open and frank conversations in the future. The Mahatma speaks of hosting Khilafat leaders, Ali brothers (Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali Jauhar), and says the three of them spent a lot of time discussing Hindu-Muslim relations.
Most of the letters are in Urdu, and in one of them, the Mahatma, in characteristic wry humour, chides Hamidullah Afsar for writing an unstamped letter. “Hamidullah Saheb, I got your letter, but I do not reply to unstamped letters,” the Mahatma says, obviously irked that he had to bear the cost of the unstamped letter.
This is the third time Sir Ghulam and Mr. Puri have bought Gandhi letters at an auction. Fifteen years ago, Sir Ghulam, in partnership with Lord Raj Kumar Bagri, bought another set of letters for £ 14,000. In 1998, Sir Ghulam and Mr. Puri bought some more Gandhi letters at a Sotheby’s auction for £ 21,000. These letters are in the National Archives, where the third set is also expected to be lodged.
In her speech, Ms. Patil described Gandhiji as more than an individual; his spirit cut across the world and crossed the seas and the mountains. She said his leadership and vision had inspired world leaders from Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela, and his message of Ahimsa moved the United Nations to declare October 2 a day of non-violence.
Later speaking to the press, Sir Ghulam said it did not matter that the Indian government had not exerted itself to acquire the Gandhi letters. “It does not matter who bought them. I am thankful for having got the opportunity to do my bit to keep his memory alive.”


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Very Special Comment

"The volume is wonderfully illustrated, carefully crafted and beautifully laid out. The author has a great eye for a telling image, and the presentation is excellent. "


ERIC ITZKIN
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, Immovable Heritage
DIRECTORATE ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE,
CITY OF JOHANNESBURG




This is a very special comment on the book MKG – Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth and Ahimsa as Eric Itzkin is the author of “Gandhi's Johannesburg - Birthplace of Satyagraha", a comprehensive record of the places where Mahatma Gandhi spent his early years in Johannesburg. Itzkin also painstakingly researched archives and consulted members of the local South African Indian community to put together an exhibition at the Museum Africa in the Johannesburg suburb of Newtown, where the city's first Indian settlers mainly lived at the turn of the last century.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

MKG book at Tolstoy farm, South Africa



The book MKG- Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth and Ahimsa was launched near Johannesburg, South Africa. The book launch was part of the celebrations marking the Centenary of Tolstoy Farm.

It was the coldest day of the week with a sprinkling of rain, but it did not dither the 350 people to make the long drive to the sacred spot. Ila Gandhi the grand daughter of Gandhiji along with her nieces Kirti and Uma and Charles Kallenbach the nephew of Herman Kallenbach ( the architect friend of Gandhiji who purchased the land so that the Tolstoy farm could be setup) along with his family was reminisce to the friendship that started Tolstoy farm a 100 years ago. The Indian Counsel General Vikram Doraiswami released the limited edition




Transcript of my statement at Tolstoy Farm – 30th May 2010

Consul General Doraiswamy, Honourable guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am humbled by your presence and the opportunity to launch my book on this sacred piece of land, a land that’s so significant that it was here, one of the greatest ideas of modern day civilization was evolved.

I would like to take this opportunity to share one thought on SATYAGRAGHA with you all, but before that a line about the book, we have two editions, the objective of the Limited Edition was to create the most exquisite book about a man so simple yet so valuable and the Student edition to allow the young minds of today to use their age as a barometer and view the life of the Mahatma.

Both books will be available for viewing today.

The concept of SATYAGRAGHA, that is Passive resistance, was an original idea of Mahatma, an idea that does not feature in any of our Epics nor has it been documented in any ancient scripture.

SATYAGRAGHA is a force greater than any other force known to mankind; it’s a force that has proven itself in history to be most effective and has achieved success with the least amount of violence. A force much needed in the world today.

But Today - do we understand the power of SATYAGRAGHA, or are we resigned to the fact that the effectiveness of this power was only possible in the last century and today’s day and age has no place for it.

To all those who believe this

I would like to point out, that the concept of SATYAGRAGHA - Passive resistance - is practiced everyday, in every part of the world and it proves itself beyond doubt. We just have not recognised it; hence not recognise its power for today.

You all must be wondering what I am talking about. Passive resistance is a power that every child in every part of the world practices to achieve his objective, Take any child up to the age of 5 and observe him or her as he or she negotiates the realm of life and you will see the power of SATYAGRAGHA. Children are in their purest form of life, uncluttered, unbiased, innocent but are still able to negotiate a victory with men and women multiple times their size. Ask me I have just gone through my five years of Defeat and if you would like to know who the victor was … she is the 5 year old seated in row seven.

In conclusion I would like to say, every single human is born with this power of SATYAGRAGHA, The Mahatma evolved it for us and proved its power, all we have to do is recognise it and practice it.

I hope you all enjoy viewing the book on the Mahatma.

Thank You.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Excerpt from the documentary - Mahatma in the 21st Century



The documentary is as series of clips based on the Learnings from the Mahatma and how they can be applied in the 21st Century.

Friday, April 30, 2010

3 monkeys


A gift of three monkeys was given to Mahatma Gandhi by a Chinese group which came to visit him in Shanti Niketan.

The monkey trio represents an old Sino-Japanese tradition dating back to the 7th century. The Three Wise Monkeys were introduced into Japan by a Buddhist monk of the Tendai sect, probably in the 8th century A.D. They embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. Their gestures of covering their ears, eyes and mouths with their paws was a way of conveying the command of the god. The depiction is part of the teaching that if we do not hear, see or talk evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil. A famous carving of the Three Monkeys can still be seen on the sacred stable in the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan.
Gandhiji's three monkeys made of china clay, were his favourite. He kept them to remind him to
1. Do not tolerate any evil being done around you.
2. Do not participate in any wrong exploitation or sinful talk.
3. Do not speak ill about others and do not harm any beings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MAP of MKG


I came across this Map of MKG, it has his Learnings and Experiments charted out, it would be great to print this out in large format (100ft x 60ft) and make the youth of today walk these lines.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shakira’s Gandhi Service


Colombian singer Shakira, who was given a medal by the International Labour Organisation for her work to promote social justice and children’s empowerment worldwide, says she has followed Mahatma Gandhi’s maxim.

She says, “Gandhi used to say ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ and I’ve followed that maxim.”

She thanked the ILO for the prize and dedicated it to all children suffering from violence and extreme poverty, which is the focus of her Barefoot Foundation. This non-profit organisation takes its name from the belly-dancing singer’s first album and is devoted to ensuring that education is available to every child.



Video link for the event

'Sons of Gandhi' Take To Brazil Streets For Carnival

I have posted earlier on this, but its such a great story on how a simple man 10,000 miles away inspires …. Hear the NPR story .......

Link to the NPR story

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ikebana on the life of the Mahatma

The Japanese art of flower arrangement - Ikebana is a form of creative expression with rules governing its form. It’s a disciplined art which involves not only the flower but the stems and leaves to draw emphasis on shape, line and structure. It’s a homogeneous blend of nature, humanity and geometry.

Ikebana is almost spiritual, nature is appreciated in silence and it is an art form that was born to teach us patience and tolerance to all forms on this planet.

Ikebana is a perfect vehicle that can express the life of Mahatma Gandhi as they share multiple aspects.



I hope you all like the arrangement above that drives inspiration from SATYAGRAHA

When the Mahatma fasted the world held its breath, this was the power of Satyagraha. The white material signifies Gandhiji in a fast. The flower ‘Protea’ is a South African flower signifying the birth of the political thought process.


Deepti has created it and I thank her for her effort, perfect place to let her know that I do thank her everyday for her support and understanding.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Resurrect Gandhi

In the earlier Blog entry – “70 and Proud” I had mentioned how Shri GOPALKRISHNA J.PANDYA sent me a message that I have “ Resurrected Gandhiji”.

It’s been playing on my mind and below is a small attempt to do the same with Technology.

video

Text excerpt from Gandhiji’s famous speech on the ‘mysterious power that rules everything in Universe’ was recorded at Kingsley Hall, London in 1931.

"In my tour last year in Mysore [State], I met many poor villagers, and I found upon inquiry that they did not know who ruled Mysore. They simply said some God ruled it. If the knowledge of these poor people was so limited about their ruler, I, who am infinitely lesser in respect to God than they to their ruler need not be surprised if I do not realize the presence of God, the King of Kings. Nevertheless I do feel as the poor villagers felt about Mysore, that there is orderliness in the universe."


Gandhiji’s image was created by a computer artist and then the excerpt animated with facial expressions using his original voice as the base input.

Friday, March 5, 2010

MKG in Thailand

Yesterday afternoon was a special day for the MKG book, it reached Thailand. It was released by His Excellency, the Ambassador of India to Thailand in presence of Excellencies from 4 other countries at the Indian Cultural Centre, Bangkok. The director of the ICC – Renuka Narayanan had planned a splendid afternoon and the audience was delightful.

One thought: ever wondered why the Mahatma never visited Thailand.



His work of compassion and peace had already reached these shores via a greater soul before him. The people of Thailand had embraced the teachings of Buddha centuries ago and practice them till date. The teachings of Buddha in truth and compassion are embedded in the fabric of this nation and its people.

It was truly an honour to get the Mahatma’s book to this beautiful land.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Peace of Mind (Mann Ko Shanti)


A couple of nights ago I was watching a program on BBC; it was about IDEI an Indian not-for-profit organization and the innovations they provide at the grass root level. ……KB drip (a drip irrigation solution) was being discussed as I turned on the television set and how it has revolutionised the farmer’s life, as now it allowed him a crop three times a year , hence 3 times the income ….

The farmer being interviewed was beaming with happiness as he had managed to pull himself out of debt and looked forward to a brighter future…. The chemistry between the interviewer and the farmer was evident as they both had met a few seasons ago when the farmer was deep in debt with no hope.


What was interesting was the response the farmer had for the question ….. So now you are happy with an income that’s 3 times?

The farmer responded – I am not so bothered about the income, it’s the peace of mind (“Mann Ko Shanti”) that I have, that’s a blessing.

His content look made me jealous; as I doubt if my income were to triple overnight I would be able to give the same response.

The power to be content is an art that was mastered by MKG.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just Hangers



I had a very interesting visitor last Friday, an old associate… he now works with one of the largest hanger manufacturing companies in the world… revenues in the millions of dollars …. Manufacturing factories in 3 continents and it all started with a small European firm in Italy that an Indian living in Africa saw potential and made a strategic investment!!!!

I enquired what else do you manufacture … the response.. Just hangers!!! Then it dawned … “Just Hangers” it’s simple it’s needed by most, its disposable … the cycle goes on … it’s such a simple product that you don’t pay attention to it.

Nothing succeeds like simplicity as Simple ideas are effective ideas….. MKG proved it over and over again … remember Salt.

It’s time we all looked through the clutter and MOVED FORWARD INTO SIMPLICITY.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mahatma in Brazil (Filhos de Gandhy)


The single largest annual congregation in the 21st century that was inspired by MKG is in Brazil, South America. I don’t know much about this group but am intrigued that they have stood the test of time … 6 decades and still counting

The pictures speak for themselves as they participate in the annual carnival in Bahia.


A trip to the "Sons of Gandhy" is required to attain first hand knowledge!!!!!, I have never been to Brazil and cannot think of a better reason to travel down there.



Googled a bit and have pasted a few lines from the mile wide inch thick landscape



Filhos de Gandhy (Sons of Gandhi) was formed in 1949 in Brazil, South America to promote peace and harmony. It was formed on a street Rua do Julião that runs through the poorest of neighbourhoods in Salvador. The poorest of the community were forming a Carnival group and the name “Filhos de Gandhy “was suggested by one Durval Marques da Silva as it represented the man who fought against poverty and social injustice using “Peace” as a weapon.

During the carnival in Bahia, The passing of the “Sons of Gandhi” has become a symbol of peace and dignity.

http://www.filhosdegandhy.com.br/

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

70 and Proud

Shri GOPALKRISHNA J.PANDYA sent me a message that I have “ Resurrected Gandhiji”, I don’t know him personally, but his message to my father humbles me as I am still not sure that the act of merely compiling this book is an act enough to be given such adulation. I only hope in time the message of the book reaches the young and allows them to find their own set of values under the guiding light of Gandhiji.

I love the word – PRIDE in his message … I hope my generation feels the same PRIDE and not get bogged down with MKG trivia that makes sensational reading !!!!

Sri Gopalkrishan J. Pandya must be around 70 and the best way to convey his sense and feeling is to paste his message below:


DEAR SHRI VATSALbhai,
NAMASKAR!
I INDEED FELT SO GOOD & PROUD;CHI.BIRAD HAS RESURRECTED GANDHIJI AND THAT OUGHT TO GIVE YOU,VATSALbhai,IMMENSE PRIDE,AND I AM SPONTANEOUSLY GETTING SHARE OF THAT PRIDE!
PLEASE CONVEY MY HEARTIEST CONGRATULTIONS TO CHI.BIRAD.
'MAKE WRONG-DOER'S CONSCIENCE YOUR ALLY'SO EFFECTIVELY SUMS UP GANDHIJI'S MESSAGE!
REGARDS,
GOPALKRISHNA J.PANDYA

MKG - Limited Edition # 21

Limited Edition # 21 of the MKG book was purchased today by Mr Dieter Glatzer, a person of German origin who was visiting India. I did not get an opportunity to meet him but was informed that he purchased the limited edition as a gift for his grandson’s 21st birthday. It made my heart smile, as Mr Dieter had captured the inner soul of the book …. A book about a man so precious that it needs to be treated as a work of art and passed down generations as memorabilia.



Mr Dieter’s purchase has enabled the message and life of the Mahatma to reach students as his purchase subsidises the Student Edition.

I hope each of young people that would be influenced by the act of Mr Deiter and Book #21, find their set of values from the Mahatma.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

MKG book launched in London

MKG - Mahatma Gandhi - Imaging Peace, Truth and Ahimsa (Limited Edition)
29th January 2010
www.visualquestbooks.com
Transcript of Birad Rajaram Yajnik



Good evening honourable guests, ladies & gentlemen.
It is indeed a great honour to be here and share my thoughts. I will address two questions that I have been asked multiple times while creating this book.

Why another book on the Mahatma ?
Why am I here in London?

I was born 99 years after Gandhiji’s birth or twenty years after he ceased to walk this earth. Needless to say I never had the opportunity to see him or hear him in person; my exposure to him in the initial years of my life was the story of independence at bedtime by my grandmother Nivedita and a chapter in the middle school text book.

October 2nd, national holiday in India and the minute of silence on the 30th of January each year have served as a constant recall on the name Mahatma and the person Gandhi.

The film Gandhi by Sir Richard Attenborough, like many from my generation was the first real comprehensive exposure to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, I was 14 and it was a film that moved me to accepting the power and wisdom of the man. I saw the English version.

Over the next twenty six years his name and context have crossed me a few times, some in the form of simple discussions and some in the spate of films from Bollywood that hover around Bapu.

What I am trying to say is that I come from a generation that sees Gandhi multiple times a day without an emotional connect or a realisation of the values he stood for. Our recall is limited to the image of Gandhi on the rupee notes, postage stamps and dusty photographs in government offices.

I am from a generation that does not associate khadi with peace and non violence but with politics and corruption. The charkha is just an Uber kool artefact. And the context of Salt is Iodised or not.

I am from a generation that has lost the power to learn from his experiments of truth. All we get is trivia and 1000 word articles whether or not he said the words “Hey Ram “when he was assassinated. Or if he was to be blamed for the politics of that day.

We have forgotten to see the glass full, its time to move on and leverage his principles for the success of humanity. We need to draw from his experiments, as he was a scientist of Human Values and scientists don’t make mistakes they experiment.

Hence the decision to create this book, to lay Gandhiji’s life out in words and pictures for a generation that was born and lives in the attention economy.




The book is a visual insight to Gandhiji’s life, it’s a presentation of facts and images in a hope that it would mean something different to each viewer and allow my generation to explore the principles of the Mahatma.

It has an age line along with the time line of his life, this would allow us to explore his life using our age as a barometer. The book has 200 plus photographs to show his transitions in life and 20,000 words that provide a commentary into incidents of his life.

The book by no means is an exhaustive compilation of him; it is more a visual catalyst to set one on a journey to explore more.

The book is produced to act more as a piece of art and the contents published to be treated as treasured experiences of a man so simple yet so unique and valuable. The end objective would be that this book acts as an heirloom and is passed down generations spreading the simple message that would be relevant for a long time to come.

I hope that the generations of today will draw from his experiments of life and seek their interpretations and learn from a simple Man we made the Mahatma.



Thank you for your patience, I request 2 more minutes …to answer the question why this book was launched in London.

I was questioned “Why London” and my answer was “Why not” …. But the real reason truly is that history has proven that London is the epicentre of the single largest body of humanity that has the courage and conscience to accept and appreciate an opponent. The collective conscience of the people of England has been and will be its strength and hence we could not think of a better place to launch the book.

The Most important part of this evening,I would like to thank you all for coming down; braving the weather I am humbled by your presence.



Birad Rajaram Yajnik
@
The Nehru Centre
8 South Audley Street
London
W1K 1HF

Wind 6 kmph, Temperature 2 degrees, Humidity 60%

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
Joseph Deiss, President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, holds up a limited edition copy of “MKG – Mahatma Gandhi – Imaging Peace, Truth & Ahisma” at an event commemorating the International Day of Non-Violence. The day is observed 2 October for the birthday of non-violence pioneer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi). Pictured with Mr. Deiss are Hardeep Singh Puri (left), Permanent Representative of India to the UN, and Birad Rajaram Yajnik, the book's author.
01 October 2010 United Nations, New York