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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reading Gandhi

The copper coin was most intriguing. On one side it read – MAHATMA GANDHI 1932 and the other it displayed the emblem of the British Raj. So a coin minted by the British in the name of Gandhi 15 years before independence , right after the failure of the famous round table talks in London. It could not be further from the truth … but what was the truth.  Reading Gandhi does not always mean reading volumes of pages written by him and hundreds of others, the world has been at it for a long time, Reading Gandhi according to me is reading between the lines, understanding this man we made the Mahatma, understanding his life, understanding events around him and far away from him and then learning from them for the 21st century. But is it relevant …… Before I delve into that, let me tell you where the 1932 coin came from. It was minted in New York in 1935 by a Magician – Frank Ducrot as he had created a magic trick called the Mahatma. So how intriguing a man do you have to be to have a magic trick in your name, 10,000 miles away, in a land you have never visited in a time where Facebook, Twitter or YouTube did not exist. The story gets even more interesting where we learn that in 1901 Frank Ducrot was the editor and publisher of a magazine on magic called the MAHATMA …. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was called the Mahatma – Great One only from 1915 …. I am still reading to unravel this!!!!

Going back to the relevance of Gandhi in the 21st century and if learnings from his life would cause change. Gandhi has been invoked by the most powerful even today, President Obama stated him when stumped by a question from an elementary school girl, Pop star Shakira invoked him in her award acceptance speech at the ILO, a bikers group in the United States – BAAC – Bikers against Animal Cruelty quotes him on their website, 10,000 people a city in brazil march in his honor every year, in 2011 a nation got democracy in 18 days using the weapon (SATYAGRAHA) created by him…….. Reading Gandhi is a book that gets written every day in some part of the world and the process never stops.

My journey on reading Gandhi began a few years ago when I started on my book – PEACE TRUTH AHIMSA – a photo biography of Mahatma Gandhi; it was launched in a form of a Limited edition on the 29th January 2010, a very cold day in London, the venue Nehru Center did not offer parking, but the crowds overflowing into the street of Mayfair proved without doubt that Gandhi still lives between us. The next 36 months have been a high speed adrenaline ride across continents, from the Tolstoy farm in Johannesburg, South Africa, to the United Nations and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The book got invited to the international book fair in Beijing, was honored in Tokyo, and recently was at Cairo in the midst of all the turmoil, hope and change. It’s like riding a hi speed bike of change.

Speaking of bikes, I got an opportunity to engage with 900 teenagers who had gathered from multiple countries as a part of the Harvard Model United Nations, I was to speak to them on “Mahatma Gandhi in the 21st century” for an hour before the start of a social evening.  Needless to say the excitement was not very high. The evolution I witnessed that night was motivating as I attempted to inspire the children with the life of Gandhi. At the end to express their energy they all transformed a Harley Davidson by signing their names and messages, creating a symbol of peace truth and ahimsa. This single act reconfirmed to me that the youth of today are ready to embrace the path that created the most powerful weapon known to mankind – Satyagraha (Truth Force).

That night I started on a path that has a destination / a goal, a goal to inspire the new generation with Peace Truth & Ahimsa (nonviolence) and create the next Gandhi in the world. The world needs another Gandhi and needs him fast, in fact the true need is a Gandhi in every continent, country, city, town and village. The need is so immense that it’s in our blind spot and my task is to show to the world why we need him in the 21st century. The destination is clear but the route is mapped by people, people who provide the opportunity to speak to the world.

As I continue reading Gandhi, I attempt to rewrite it for the 21st century at the Museum of PEACE TRUTH AHIMSA, at Bapu Ghat, Langar Houze in Hyderabad. On most days the Ahimsa Harley is parked inside along with a host of memorabilia – Time magazines from 1930, 31 and 47 featuring Gandhi on the cover, a signed book by Sir Richard Attenborough, and the 1932 coin from New York … the list goes on. The Museum also features the largest image wall on Gandhi, its 76 feet long and 10 feet high with over 400 images. The digital zone attached has the voice, letters and films of the Mahatma accessible on I-pads, touch screens and projectors. The - I AM GANDHI student program at the museum allows children to touch and read Gandhi in a unique way, hoping to find the next Gandhi.

As a footnote to this article: The Ahimsa Harley was recently displayed at the India Bike Week in Goa, the bike invited maximum attention and got the maximum likes on the Facebook page of the event. People Reading Gandhi.

Birad Rajaram Yajnik

Feb 2013


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