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 2, 2012

Mahatma Gandhi’s - Right to Privacy

Almost every email in today’s world comes with a statement of use:

This e-mail is confidential. It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by return e-mail.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 12, states:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”        

Gandhi-Kallenbach letters, BBC News, 02 July 2012
“Thousands of letters, papers and photographs relating to Gandhi, belonging to the Kallenbach family, are due to be auctioned by Sotheby's in England next Tuesday. The auction house estimates the collection, which is arranged in 18 files, is expected to fetch between £500,000-£700,000 ($777,000-$1.1m). The selection contains five decades of correspondence, much of it unpublished, between Gandhi and Kallenbach dating between 1905 and 1945.They talk about legal cases, their mutual interest in Tolstoy, and their time together on a eponymous communal settlement called Tolstoy Farm.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right, whose social value is an essential component in the functioning of democratic societies”

On reading the above news and statements, a fundamental question comes to my mind. Are we valuing, Mahatam's personal items of use, writings, speeches and even his private correspondence purely from their economic values. While his speeches and writings are in public domain, had either Mahatma Gandhi or any of those who corresponded with him privately on personal issues given their sanction to publish them.  Are not Mahatma or Kallenbagh entitled to their privacy?

In today's Internet and E-mail era, every letter comes with a caution that if the recipient has received an Email not intended for him , he is obliged to destroy the same. When that is the norm in today's  civilized soceity, are we not infringing on the privacy of Gandhi's personal life and his dealings with his wife, sons and friends by publishing his private correspondence? Who have given us that right? Surely not Gandhi nor Kallenbagh.

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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