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.
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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

Monday, July 25, 2011

The world continues to find him.....

“The world recognized Gandhi a long time ago and continues to find him. ...We need to ensure the children of our world do not forget this power of peace and truth.”

Birad Rajaram Yajnik @ the United Nations

on the 1st October 2010.

This is what I said at the UN, now meet Jes Richardson, a man who best emulates the words....He is a teacher living in the Bay Area, California. He built the ten foot tall Gandhi Puppet in 2003, with the help of some high school students, to protest the occupation of Iraq and to show support for the Mill Valley Seniors for Peace and their weekly demonstrations.

In 2007, Jes thought the U.S. was preparing to attack Iran. He went to Iran, fell in love with the people, and returned to Washington DC to spend five months trying to persuade Congress to pursue a path of diplomacy rather than sanctions. Then he traveled around the country giving presentations on Iran.

Be the change ....

More on Jes Richardson

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mahatma's book proclaimed a must read for Harvard graduates

As fresh Harvard degree holders head into the world, one of the authors featured in the unversity's Harvard Gazette considers Gandhi to be "the most important human being of the last millennium".

Howard Gardner, professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University is currently recommending Mahatma Gandhi's The Story of My Experiments with Truth as an essential book for today's graduates.

Howard Gardner, professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University, who authored Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed, says: "He [Gandhi] not only realised that individuals of different backgrounds, religions and values had to be able to confront one another non-violently; going beyond Christ's example, he worked out the methods, the algebra, whereby such confrontations would be staged and resolved, ultimately strengthening each of the struggling parties. In addition to his indispensable role in the Indian independence movement, he inspired activists in South Africa, China, Egypt and the America of Martin Luther King."

Commenting on Gandhi's autobiography, Gardner thinks it "is neither artfully worded nor elegantly composed but it describes in remarkably informative detail the ways in which Gandhi developed his own persona, learned from his mistakes, and inspired others. If one wants to understand the difference that one person can make, and how he went about his mission, there is no better source."

Howard Gardner's work around multiple intelligences has had a profound impact on thinking and practice in education - especially in the United States. His work has been marked by a desire not to just describe the world but to help to create the conditions to change it.

I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill. (Howard Gardner 1999: 180-181)

More on Howard Gardner

Mahatma and the Montessori connection

Maria Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name. Her educational method is in use today in public as well as private schools throughout the world.

Mahatma Gandhi's Speech At Montessori Training College

London , [ October 28, 1931 ]

(Note: Dr. Maria Montessori met Mahatma Gandhi in the beginning of October, 1931 in London . And on October 28, 1931 Gandhi spoke at the Montessori Training College , London where Dr. Montessori was also in attendance. The following is the text of Gandhi’s Speech, which was published in the weekly newspaper, Young India , on November 19, 1931)

Madame, you have overwhelmed me with your words. It is perfectly true, I must admit it in all humility, that however indifferently it may be, I endeavor to represent love in every fiber of my being. I am impatient to realize the presence of my Maker, Who to me embodies Truth, and in the early part of my career I discovered that if I was to realize Truth I must obey, even at the cost of my life, the law of love. And having been blessed with children, I discovered that the law of Love could be best understood and learned through little children.

Were it not for us, their ignorant poor parents, our children would be perfectly innocent. I believe implicitly that the child is not born mischievous in the bad sense of the term. If parents would behave themselves whilst the child is growing, before it is born and after, it is a well-known fact that the child would instinctively obey the law of Truth and the law of Love.

And when I understood this lesson in the early part of my life, I began a gradual but distinct change in life. I do not propose to describe to you the several phases through which this stormy life of mine has passed, but I can only, in truth and in perfect humility, bear witness to the fact that to the extent that I have represented Love in my life, in thought, word and deed I have realized the “peace that passeth understanding”. I have baffled many of my friends when they have noticed in me peace that they have envied, and they have asked me for the cause of that priceless possession. I have not been able to explain the cause by saying that, if my friends found that peace in me, it was due to my attempt to obey this, the greatest law of our being.

It was in 1915 when I reached India , that I first became acquainted with your activities. It was in a place called Amreli that I found that there was a little school being conducted after the Montessori system. Your name had preceded that first acquaintance. I found no difficulty in finding out at once that this school was not carrying out the spirit of your teaching; the letter was there, but whilst there was an honest - more or less honest - effort being made, I saw too that there was a great deal of tinsel about it. I came in touch, then, with more such schools, and the more I came in touch, the more I began to understand that the foundation was good and splendid, if the children could be taught through the laws of nature - nature, consistent with human dignity, not nature that governs the beast. I felt instinctively from the way in which the children were being taught that, whilst they were being indifferently taught, the original teaching was conceived in obedience to this fundamental law. Since then, I have had the pleasure of coming across several of your pupils, one of whom had even made a pilgrimage to Italy and had received your personal blessings. I was looking forward to meeting the children here and you all and it was a great pleasure to me to see these children.

I had taken care to learn something about these little children. I had a foretaste of what I saw here, in Birmingham , where there is a school between which and this there is a difference. But I also saw that there also human nature was struggling to express itself. I see the same thing here and it was a matter of inexpressible joy to me that from their childhood the children were brought to understand the virtue of silence, and how, in response to the whisper from their teacher, the children came forward one after another in that pin-drop silence. It gave great joy to see all those beautiful rhythmic movements and, as I was watching those movements of the children, my whole heart went out to the millions of the children of the semi-starved villages of India, and I asked myself as my heart went out to those children, “Is it possible for me to give them those lessons and the training that are being given under your system, to those children”?

We are conducting an experiment amongst the poorest of the children in India . I do not know how far the experiment will go. We have the problem of giving real vital education to these children of India 's hovels, and we have no material means. We have to fall back upon the voluntary assistance of teachers, but when I look for teachers, they are very few, especially, teachers of the type wanted, in order to draw the best from the children through understanding, through studying their individuality and then putting the child on its own resources, as it were, on its own honor. And believe me from my experience of hundreds, I was going to say thousands, of children I know that they have perhaps a finer sense of honor than you and I have.

The greatest lessons in life if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we would learn not from grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children. Jesus never uttered a loftier or a grander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouths of babes. I believe it; I have noticed it in my own experience that, if we would approach babes in humility and in innocence, we would learn wisdom from them.

I must not take up your time. I have simply given you what is, at the present moment, agitating me, namely, the delicate problem, considered in human terms, of drawing out the best from these millions of children of whom I have told you. But I have learned this one lesson - that what is impossible with man is child's play with God and, if we have faith in that Divinity which presides over the destiny of the meanest of His creation, I have no doubt that all things are possible and in that final hope I live and pass my time and endeavor to obey His will. Therefore, I repeat that even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach those children, through your numerous institutions, the best that can be brought out of them, even so I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

Young India , 19-11-1931


Interview With Maria Montessori

Gandhiji greeting her, said, “We are members of the same family”.

“I bring you the greetings of children,” said Madame Montessori.

GANDHIJI: If you have children I have children too. Friends in India ask me to imitate you. I say to them, no, I should not imitate you but should assimilate you and the fundamental truth underlying your method.

MADAME MONTESSORI: As I am asking my own children to assimilate the heart of Gandhiji. I know that feeling for me over there in your part of the world is deeper than here.

GANDHIJI: Yes, you have the largest number of adherents in India outside Europe .

I came across this photograph while exploring this story, its interesting to note that Maria Montessori is wearing a sari. in the 1920's - BRY

Monday, July 4, 2011

Salt, Tea and Civil rights

Time places MKG's Salt Satyagraha, 1930 between Boston Tea Party, 1773 and Civil Rights March on Washington, 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr., among the Top 10 Most Influential Protests in the world.

Britain's centuries-long rule over India was, in many ways, first and foremost a regime of monopolies over commodities like tea, textiles and even salt. Under colonial law, Indians were forbidden to extract and sell their own salt and instead were forced to pay the far higher price of salt processed in and imported from the U.K. In March 1930, Mohandas Gandhi, the charismatic and enigmatic independence leader, embarked on a 24-day march from the city of Ahmedabad to the small seaside town of Dandi, attracting followers along the way. The assembled throngs watched as he and dozens of others dipped into the sea to obtain salt. That act — for which more than 80,000 Indians would be arrested in the coming months — sparked years of mass civil disobedience that came to define both the Indian independence struggle and Gandhi himself. Known as the salt satyagraha — a Sanskrit term loosely meaning "truth-force" — it carried the emotional and moral weight to break an empire.

Original Article from Time Magzine 1930


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