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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More on Gandhi and Cricket

On 30 January 1948, two days after the 4th Test ended in Adelaide, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, barely six months after Indian independence was declared.  The multi-faith team attended a combined prayer service reported by The Argus – Monday 9 February 1948.

..................The congregation passed a resolution of sympathy, which will be sent to the Governments of India and Pakistan and to Gandhi's family. It pays a tribute to his life and work as one who had earned a place "among the truly great of all time.".................

Gandhi and cricket

Gandhi and cricket
The writer is the editor of The Picador Book of Cricket.
Article appeared in The Hindu on Sunday, September 30, 2001

NOW, in the week we mark Mahatma Gandhi's 132nd birth anniversary, we must ask ourselves: Did he ever play or watch cricket himself? The biographies that I have read do not mention the game, indeed any game. A cricketer does, however, does figure fleetingly in his autobiography. When Gandhi first went to England as a student, in 1889, one of the three letters of introduction he carried was to his fellow Kathiawari, Prince Ranjitsinhji. We do not know whether they met. In any case, it was only after Gandhi left London, in 1891, that Ranji moved to the University of Cambridge to make his name on its playing fields.
The only evidence of a Gandhian interest in cricket that I know of is contained in a newspaper essay of 1958 by the Gujarati journalist Harish Booch. Booch had just met one of the Mahatma's classmates at Alfred High School, Rajkot. This man, Ratilal Ghelabhai Mehta, remembered Gandhi as "a dashing cricketer" who "evinced a keen interest in the game as a school student". He was, it seems, "good both at batting and bowling", and had an uncanny understanding of the game's uncertainties as well. Mehta spoke of a match they had watched together as schoolboys, played between Rajkot city and Rajkot cantonment. Apparently, "at a crucial moment in the match, as if through intuition, Gandhi said a particular player would be out and hey presto, that batsman was really out!"
These recollections were offered 10 years after the death of Gandhi more than 70 years after the event he predicted, and to a journalist hungry for a new angle to a ruthlessly written about figure. Both interviewer and interviewee were, it appears, a trifle apologetic about the revelations. After Mehta had praised Gandhi's skill at batting and bowling, he added: "Though he had an aversion for physical exercise at school, as he pointed out in his autobiography".
Cricket might not have affected Gandhi, but Gandhi certainly affected cricket. The political movements he led and the social changes he sought to bring about had their consequences on how the game was played in the sub-continent.
Between 1919 and 1923, for instance, he was dragged, willy-nilly, into a remarkable campaign to accord just recognition to a family of Dalit cricketers. These were the Palwankar brothers, the eldest of whom, Palwankar Baloo, was without question India's first great slow bowler. But, because of his caste, Baloo was never made captain of the Hindu team in the Bombay Quadrangular, then India's premier cricket tournament, and in which the other competing teams were the Muslims, the Parsis, and the ruling Europeans.
The campaign to accord just recognition to the Palwankars got an enormous boost from Gandhi own struggle against the evils of caste. The family's nationalist supporters took heart from the Mahatma's claim that swaraj would come about only after we had done away with the pernicious social practice of untouchability. In 1923, Baloo's younger brother Vithal was made captain of the Hindus. Palwankar Vithal was a high-class batsman; according to some who watched both, he was just as good as Vijay Hazare.
In the finals of the 1923 quadrangular the Hindus won, with their captain making a century. As one patriot who watched that year's quadrangular later wrote, "the happiest event, the most agreeable upshot of the set of matches was the carrying of Captain vithal on the shoulders of Hindus belonging to the so- called higher castes. Hurrah! Captain Vithal! Hurrah! Hindus who forget caste prejudice! Mahatma Gandhi Maharaj ki jai."
Gandhi's next intervention with the course of cricket came in the form of his Salt March of 1930. This led, as we know, to countrywide Civil Disobedience. The city of Bombay was an epicentre of the protests, and as a consequence the Quadrangular was not held between 1930 and 1933. When it resumed, in 1934, it became the object of fierce opposition from nationalists. If the Muslims had a separate cricket team, the argument went, did not this provide them a justification for demanding a separate nation? The Gandhians among cricket lovers mounted a sustained campaign against the communal cricket tournament. Finally, in 1940, they were able to obtain a statement from the Mahatma himself (by this time the tournament had become a Pentangular, with the inclusion of a fifth side simply called The Rest). Gandhi told them that his "sympathies (were) wholly with those who would like to see these matches stopped". Gandhi asked the "sporting public of Bombay to revise their sporting code and to erase from it communal matches."
"I can understand matches between Colleges and Institutions," remarked Gandhi, "but I have never understood the reason for having Hindu, Parsi, Muslim and other communal Elevens. I should have thought that such unsportsmanlike divisions would be considered taboo in sporting language and sporting manners."
Sadly, the forces that favoured the continuation of the Pentangular were also strong and well organised. So, despite the Mahatma's opposition, the tournament was played on until 1946, by which time the creation of Pakistan was a fait accompli. Neither cricket nor Gandhi could stop it.
Postscript: It was said of Gandhi that he was a saint who wished to become a politician. I like to think that he was also a philosopher who wished to become a humourist. On one occasion, cricket was the subject of his wit. When Vijay Merchant's sister Laxmi asked for his autograph, Gandhi chose the page of her book containing the signatures of the 1933-34 M.C.C. team, selecting himself as its 17th member.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Mahatma Gandhi's ‘light’guided Martin Luther King Jr.
By NIRUPAMA RAO - Ambassador of India to the United States.

Having won our independence in a nonviolent struggle, Indians join Americans in celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the civil rights movement in the United States. On Aug. 28, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, and, on April 4, we will mourn the 45th anniversary of his assassination.

On March 10, we will mark another milestone moment in King’s public ministry and personal journey. On that day, 54 years ago, he returned from a monthlong journey to India where he rededicated himself to the nonviolent struggle for justice to which the leader of our nation’s independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi, gave his life.
King carried forward Gandhi’s commitments — and Indians enthusiastically embraced King’s campaigns — because both shared common values, common strategies and common struggles. While each leader’s life was cut short by violence, both these prophets of peace still have much to teach a world plagued by war, terrorism, discrimination and divisiveness.
Through most of the past century, Indians and African-Americans supported each other’s struggles because we identify with each other’s predicaments and principles. While born and raised in India, Gandhi first struggled for social justice in South Africa where he protested peacefully against discrimination against Asians as well as Africans.
Returning to India in 1914, he developed the doctrine of Satyagraha — nonviolent resistance to evil. This watchword has been translated as “truth force,” “love force” — and, in a phrase made famous by the U.S. civil rights movement, “soul force.” From the Salt March in 1930 to hunger strikes and prison terms, our nonviolent struggle won our independence in 1947.
Gandhi also reached out to African-Americans, spreading seeds of nonviolent protest that King would ultimately harvest. In 1929, he authored a short article in the NAACP magazine, The Crisis, and in 1935 he met with a group of African-American leaders visiting India, including Benjamin Mays, who later became president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, which King attended.
As a mentor to King, Mays encouraged him to read Gandhi’s writings, which informed King’s leadership of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. King later wrote that Gandhi’s teachings were “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”
Meanwhile, leading stalwarts of the nonviolent movement in India watched King with interest. After visiting the U.S. in 1956, India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said he wished he had met King. In January 1959, Harishwar Dayal of the Indian Embassy passed along a letter from the Gandhi National Memorial Fund inviting King to visit India.
Accepting the invitation, King arrived in India on Feb. 10, 1959, declaring: “To other countries, I may go as a tourist but to India I come as a pilgrim.” Having dinner with Nehru on their second night in India, King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, toured the country, meeting with leaders, scholars and everyday citizens and discussing issues of poverty, economic policy, race relations and world peace. In a broadcast on All India Radio, King said: “If this age is to survive, it must follow the way of love and nonviolence that [Gandhi] so nobly illustrated in his life.” King later wrote in Ebony magazine that many Indians were better informed about the bus boycott than many Americans. His visit to India was a revelation in many ways, as if “the spear of frustration” had been transformed “into a shaft of light.”
After his trip, King wrote: “I have returned to America with a greater determination to achieve freedom for my people through nonviolent means.” His commitment to peaceful protest informed his later efforts, including his campaign in Birmingham, Ala., and the March on Washington, both of which took place a half-century ago.
Fifty years after King’s visit to India, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) recognizing Gandhi’s influence on King. During February 2009, King’s son, Martin Luther King III, Lewis and other Americans visited India, retracing the martyred civil rights leader’s pilgrimage 50 years earlier.
In today’s world, Gandhi and King continue to inspire the leaders of nonviolent freedom struggles, from Nelson Mandela in South Africa to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. Their lives and legacies — and King’s journey to India — still offer new paths to global peace and human progress.



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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Talkio - Mahatma Gandhi


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